Leeds United: Let’s build fear factor says Neil

Neil Redfearn. PIC: James Hardisty
Neil Redfearn. PIC: James Hardisty
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Neil Redfearn has urged Leeds United’s squad to use a tough month of fixtures to enhance their own reputation, saying: “Let’s make it difficult for the teams we play.”

Neil Redfearn has urged Leeds United’s squad to use a tough month of fixtures to enhance their own reputation, saying: “Let’s make it difficult for the teams we play.”

United resume their season away to Blackburn Rovers tomorrow, the start of a hard sequence of seven games in which the club will meet Championship leaders Derby County twice and play four other sides with an eye on the play-offs.

Redfearn raised the possibility of Leeds competing for a top-six finish earlier this week with his side eight points beneath sixth place but revitalised by a 3-1 win over Blackpool before the international break.

But speaking ahead of their visit to Ewood Park, United’s head coach said he would settle for a month in which his players showed themselves to be a threatening side to play and a difficult team to beat.

Derby, who head the division with 32 points, come to Elland Road next weekend and Leeds will play Ipswich Town, Fulham, Nottingham Forest, Wigan Athletic and Derby again before the start of January.

“It’s not so much crunch time,” Redfearn said, “but it is a tough run of games.

“We’ve got to get ourselves into a position where we’re more consistent and more thorough so Blackburn look and think, ‘oh, we’ve got Leeds on Saturday’; so Ipswich think ‘oh, we’ve got Leeds on Saturday’; so Derby think ‘we don’t fancy going there.’

“We’ve got to make them think about us so the more consistent we are and the more we portray that image, the better we’ll be.

“At the moment I think other teams aren’t sure about us. They’re not sure what they’re going to get. They realise that on our day we’re a decent side and Leeds United coming to town is a big deal. Slowly we’re getting to a position where we’re carrying that tag better.

“But we have to reduce the difference between our maximum and our minimum. It needs to be closer together.”

Leeds’ defeat of Blackpool prior to the international break ended a run of eight games without a win and gave Redfearn his first victory since replacing

Darko Milanic as head coach at the start of the month.

United have not won away from home since Redfearn’s spell as caretaker boss in September - a creditable 3-1 success at Bournemouth - but they will have the Championship’s largest away following of the season behind them at Ewood Park tomorrow.

Leeds allocated almost 6,800 tickets before closing sales yesterday afternoon and the turn-out will eclipse the crowd of 6,713 taken by United to Blackburn a year ago.

“It’s unheard of,” Redfearn said. “Our support is second to none and I know the players really appreciate it.”

United will have a near full-strength squad at Ewood Park with Giuseppe Bellusci, Billy Sharp and Tommaso Bianchi all fit after minor injuries.

Rodolph Austin will be assessed on his return from international duty with Jamaica later today.

Aidan White and Lewis Walters are still absent, however, and on-loan AC Milan midfielder Zan Benedicic is beginning his recovery from knee surgery.

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