FORMER Leeds play-maker Stephen McPhail was aiming to extend his unbeaten run against the club in this afternoon’s derby at Hillsborough.
The 34-year-old Irishman has never lost to United as an opposition player despite leaving for Barnsley in 2004.
McPhail never faced Leeds in a Reds shirt but in a seven-year stint at Cardiff City he came up against his former club six times and never lost.
Four wins and two draws saw McPhail – a player who appeared in the Premier League and Champions League for United, in games against the likes of Barcelona and Lazio – build an impressive record and he was determined not to surrender that with Sheffield Wednesday today.
McPhail, aiming to earn an extension to his six-month contract and who played alongside Leeds striker Ross McCormack at Cardiff, said: “Leeds is where I began my career. They gave me the chance coming out of the youth team to play.
“It’s a huge club. Obviously they were a league above when I was there, lucky enough to get to play in some big European games.
“My time there was great, I can’t thank the people enough, the fans were amazing.
“It’s a great club but, hopefully, come Saturday we will beat them.”
Republic of Ireland international McPhail, who made his Leeds debut at 17, continued: “The club has fallen out of the top league and beyond, and it’s a shame because I know what it means to the people in Leeds, I lived there for nine years.
“I know how passionate they are about the club. It’s such a shame after all those good years that they fell away.
“When you make your debut, you always remember the club that gave you your first chance. I am no different. We had some great games to be involved in, but it’s a long, long time ago to be honest.
“There was some amazing footballers. I was lucky enough to break into the team and play with David Batty for a season-and-a-half before he retired.
“He made me learn, showed me how to behave on the pitch, and how to train well. There was some great players, I was very lucky.
“Gary Kelly was another one, who I am still in contact with now, and he just showed me how to train and behave.
“They had a great set of professionals when I first broke into the team and they set the example.”