Leeds legend Eddie Gray gives his verdict on United’s pre-season.
Coming back from holiday in France to Mansfield was a bit of a difference, but it was interesting to see the new players play.
But I wasn’t at the Chesterfield game on Saturday as I was at a wedding.
I heard we drew 2-2 with two Rodolph Austin penalties.
But Mansfield was the first game I’d seen this pre-season and I think it will take a bit of time to get to know the quality of the players. There’s a few players who have just arrived and I thought Tomasso Bianchi did okay. He looked neat and tidy on the ball but I was very impressed with the young boy Lewis Cook. I thought he looked a good player. I heard he had done well at Guiseley but this was the first time I’ve actually seen him play and he looked useful.
It will be interesting to see whether he starts but if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. And to me he looked an assured player. I’ve not seen a right lot of the young boy and you don’t like to put too much pressure on him but he looks as if he’s got a good talent to play the game.
He looked like he has got a good knowledge of how to get into the game and he looked sharp around about the ball.
He looks a good prospect for the future and he’s another one that has come through the Academy which is good for the club. It will be interesting to see if the boy starts when it comes to the big kick-off and that’s the important thing.
The players in the squad at the moment will still be getting used to each other because there’s a few different players in and around the club and you are not playing with Ross McCormack any more.
It will be interesting to see who plays up front – whether Steve Morison is back to his best but you would imagine Matt Smith would start.
And in the midfield area the coach has plenty of options again but I still think we will be looking to add to the squad before the season starts.
I’ve said before that these pre-season games are all about getting fit and getting to know the system that the coach wants to play. It’s just about getting ready for the start of the season and it’s going to come quickly now.
There’s only a couple games left before they kick-off – the games against Swindon which I’m going to tomorrow night and then Saturday’s game against Dundee United. There’s a couple of good challenges coming from those games and it will be interesting to see how it goes.
We’ve lost to Mansfield and drawn with Chesterfield but I don’t think it’s worrying yet and I wouldn’t be that concerned about things just now as I think there’ll be new additions coming into the football club.
We probably need one or two players but I don’t place a lot of bearing on pre-season games, especially when it’s a transition period. Players are getting used to the new coach and the system he wants to play and the time to start thinking about how the season is going to go is when we kick-off and you actually watch them play competitive games.
I don’t think, at the present time, that we’re the strongest side in the league – let’s put it that way! But these things can take a bit of time and I think there will be players that come into the football club and hopefully the players that come in will improve the team.
Last season we weren’t good enough to get promotion and we’re going into this season in basically the same position – there’s a couple of new players that have come in but you’ve also lost your top player.
So that’s why I think we need additions to come into the football club to strengthen it.
I know we have been trying to sign Federico Viviani and I know that he was at the Mansfield game but I don’t know what happened after that.
Everyone was thinking that he was going to sign but it’s not happened yet. We don’t know a lot about the Italian players that are coming in but the owner will have his scouts over there and his confidants and obviously the boy Viviani can play. That’s what we will be chasing him for. If he can play and bring something to the football club then terrific.
You just hope that the quality we get at the football club is going to raise the standard.