Leeds United: Hockaday hails a good team effort

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Leeds United head coach David Hockaday said he was hopeful his squad were beginning to reverse the “flak and negativity” surrounding them after a vastly improved performance yielded a win at Swindon Town last night.

The United head coach claimed his plans were “coming together” with a week-and-a-half of pre-season remaining and predicted that his group of players would exceed the meagre expectations of them when the Championship season begins away at Millwall.

Dave Hockaday

Dave Hockaday

Goals from Steve Morison, who was roundly jeered by United’s crowd at Chesterfield on Saturday, and Rodolph Austin gave Leeds a 2-1 victory over a young Swindon team at the County Ground, their first win against Football League opposition this summer.

New signings Souleymane Doukara and Tommaso Bianchi shone in a changed line-up and Leeds’ display in Wiltshire dampened criticism of them which grew during a recent defeat to Mansfield Town and a 2-2 draw at Chesterfield.

Hockaday said: “Inch by inch we’re getting better. It’s a step in the right direction but only that.

“We’re nowhere near where I want us to be and we don’t have a lot of time before the Millwall game but we’re looking like a team. It’s coming together and it needs to come together.

“I honestly think we’ll surprise a few people. People will be surprised by how good some of the players in my squad are. I’m the eternal optimist but even I didn’t expect what I’m getting from some of them.

“There’s been so much flak and negativity and all I want to do is to get us playing properly, honestly and positively. I want some positivity round here. The way we play is our way, the Leeds way.”

United are continuing to push for new signings with the season approaching and are attempting to finalise deals for Roma midfielder Tommaso Viviani and AC Milan’s Zan Benedicic.

But Hockaday refused to rule out the possibility of Tom Lees leaving Elland Road before the end of the transfer window following an approach for him from Sheffield Wednesday.

The England Under-21 international, who was an unused substitute last night, is believed to be the subject of firm interest from Hillsborough and is likely to be allowed to leave the club where he started his career as

an eight year old.

Hockaday said: “I’m hearing a lot of things about Tom. I’m not so sure where we are so let’s see what tomorrow brings.

“If he stays then I’ll be delighted. If he goes and it’s right for him to go then I’ll be delighted for him. But he’s Leeds through and through.”

Leeds United head coach Paul Heckingbottom with Victor Orta. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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