Rodolph Austin put the finishing touch to a precious away win at Doncaster Rovers and backed a happy Leeds United camp to sustain their bid for a play-off place.
United’s captain drew a stark comparison between Leeds under Brian McDermott and the club’s situation last season after his 88th-minute volley rounded off a resilient victory on Saturday.
Austin dispatched a late chance as Leeds emerged from a difficult second half to extend an impressive unbeaten record in matches at the Keepmoat Stadium and climb up to sixth in the table.
The club were unable to keep in touch with the play-off positions last season and their form led United’s board to sack former manager Neil Warnock and appoint McDermott with five games of the term remaining. A run of two defeats in nine outings since mid-October has taken Leeds towards Christmas in productive form and Austin said: “Compared to last season it’s definitely better so far. It’s a nice group in the dressing room.
“There aren’t many big names in there but we know how to do the job. The camaraderie in the team is great. Everyone who’s not in the team wants to play but they’ve all been fantastic. We’re in a nice position but it’s each game at a time. We can’t get carried away but there’s a good atmosphere around the club and we need to keep it that way. The manager is keeping everyone on their guard. But everyone wants to do well for him.”
United produced a highly creditable clean sheet on Saturday with their defence and goalkeeper Paddy Kenny protecting Matt Smith’s first-half header and allowing Austin and Ross McCormack to pick off Doncaster with classy late goals. “We stuck to the task,” Austin said. “It wasn’t the best game but we won and the three points were all important to us.
“In the second half Doncaster made it very hard. They came out and started well. But the defence and Paddy (Kenny) did very well and we caught them on the break. It was a good performance in that aspect of the game. Even though we won 3-0, the defence and Paddy should get a lot of credit. They were unbelievable.”