Ross McCormack has set the tone for the new Championship season by urging Leeds United to target a play-off position and admitting he would rather “hang up my boots” than settle for a lower finish.
Speaking on the eve of the 2013-14 term, McCormack refused to play down United’s chances and said a top-six place was the “minimum” aim for the Elland Road club.
Leeds are 48 hours away from their opening league match and Saturday’s clash with Brighton remains on course for a crowd of more than 30,000, potentially the highest league attendance since their 1-1 draw with West Ham United in March 2012.
Manager Brian McDermott has steadfastly refused to discuss his squad’s prospects of promotion, telling the YEP that “talking about promotion creates pressure and there’s enough of that around here without doing that”, but McCormack struck a different chord as he looked ahead to Brighton’s visit.
The Scotland international told the YEP: “We’ve got to go for promotion. Top six is the minimum for a club this size.
“If I’m standing here now and I don’t believe that we can have a go then I’m as well just hanging up my boots, aren’t I?
“I believe in myself and I believe in the other guys here. They’re good enough to challenge.”
Leeds have an impressive record on the opening day of the English season, losing just twice since 1989, but Brighton have taken seven points from their last three visits to Elland Road.
The south-coast club, who re-signed Spanish midfielder David Lopez on a one-year deal this week, snatched a 2-1 win on the penultimate weekend of last season after a red card shown to El-Hadji Diouf left Leeds to see out the closing stages of the clash with nine men.
McCormack said: “Saturday could go either way. That was proved last season and even down there we played pretty well after a difficult hour and got a 2-2 draw.
“At home we got back into the game and everyone knows what happened with Dioufy.
“I think we’d have gone on to win if he hadn’t been sent off. It’s always very tight between us.
“It’s a good game to start with and it should be a special atmosphere if 30,000 are turning out. I think we’re ready to go now.”