UWE ROSLER is plotting a few changes to freshen up his Leeds United side for Saturday’s lunch-time’s home derby with Sheffield Wednesday.
The game will be United’s fourth in 10 days, with head coach Rosler vociferous in his criticism of his side’s gruelling schedule, which has also incorporated lengthy return trips to Reading and Bristol City – which has seen Leeds travel over 850 miles.
Rosler and his charges travelled back to Yorkshire from the West Country yesterday and training is likely to be light prior to the televised derby with the Owls.
Along with a few aching limbs, there were a few psychological wounds following the late concession of two goals in a 2-2 draw at Bristol City, but Rosler insists that the mood in his squad remains positive.
He said: “The spirit is high in the camp and know we have to build the boys up again for Saturday because we play at 12.30pm – what a surprise that is ...
“On Friday, there will be very, very little training and on Saturday, we need our supporters.
“They need to push us in that game. This is the last one of four in 10 days and they need to really push us.
“We will make one or two changes and refresh certain areas and then we go again.
“The boys were disappointed (on Wednesday night), but in themselves they know they did a lot of good things.”
Tomorrow’s game is the first of 10 Yorkshire derbies that Leeds must navigate this season, with both themselves and opponents Wednesday having their sights firmly set on higher Championship climbs after positive summers which has seen both clubs waft the chequebook.
Optimism levels at both Elland Road and Hillsborough are justifiably at their highest level for a good few years, with both clubs having designs on finally breaking into the division’s top six come the end of the season.
One person who knows a fair bit about both clubs and the expectation levels is Owls defender Tom Lees, who makes his second return to former club Leeds tomorrow when he makes the short journey back up the M1.
The 24-year-old has also detected an upturn in mood among fans of both clubs, with each hoping to have something genuinely worthy of shouting about come May.
Lees said: “I think definitely here at Sheffield, there’s definitely a sense of optimism with a new start and new beginnings.
“I know up in Leeds, there’s also a feeling they are getting a new vibrant young team and that’s their approach to this season – full of energy. And they have added to the squad.
“Leeds and Wednesday are both teams who are striving to get towards the top end of the table and there’s a lot of expectation. It will be interesting.
“When you look since last year when we played them, we have got two new managers and pretty much two new teams and it won’t be similar to last season when we played.
“Leeds have looked solid this season and hard to beat and it will be a tough game.
“Up front, they have spent a bit of money and it will be good for us to hopefully show we can deal with it.”
Lees ended a long association with Leeds in the summer of 2014, but a trip back to Elland Road is still one of the first games that he looked out for when the fixture list was revealed in mid-June.
Despite being born in the Midlands, Lees spent his formative years in Leeds, with tomorrow hardly a plain run-of-the-mill fixture.
He said: “My parents are from Birmingham and there are no Leeds fans in my family.
“But my team growing up was Leeds as I was raised up here and it is who all my mates supported. But obviously that focus goes to whoever you are playing for and that’s the same with them (parents). They support whoever I play for.
“If we are winning, then I am bound to get a bit (of stick) and if we are losing, then I am bound to get a bit as well.
“It won’t be a win situation really.
Hopefully, I can show what sort of player I am and not let it affect me and play how I have been playing.”