Always look on the bright side - Brian
BRIAN McDermott might have the luck of the Irish on his side as he heads to the Reebok – and the Leeds boss believes it won’t be long before Dougie Freedman gets the rub of the green too!
Tipped heavily as a contender for the vacant Republic of Ireland position after Giovanni Trappatoni’s sacking this week, the Wanderers game has proved somewhat of a distraction for the Elland Road chief in the last few days.
McDermott appeared to distance himself from the post yesterday and has turned his attention to piling further misery on his opposite number Freedman, whose side sit anchored to the foot of the table after the club’s worst start in 29 years.
He will clearly be looking to make it six winless games for the Whites – something that has not happened since 1963/64 when they dropped out of the old First Division to be replaced in the top flight by Don Revie’s Leeds, who had lifted the Second Division title.
But McDermott – no stranger to poor early season form during his time at Reading – believes it will soon look better for Freedman.
“I’m a notoriously slow starter so I’ve normally got two points at this stage of the season,” he said. “I think Dougie will be absolutely fine.
“They’ve got a good squad and good individual players. Their home record was very good last season. They won’t have a problem this year.
“They played against QPR recently and they were unfortunate. We’ve got to be at our best to go there and get a result. The table at this stage isn’t particularly relevant.
“Looking back at our game against QPR, it’s a game where we should definitely have got a 0-0 draw. That’s something we need to learn from.”
Leeds fans hoping they will see Sam Byram make his first appearance of the season after a few months out with a hip injury may be disappointed after McDermott played down his chances of featuring against the Whites.
The young full-back, regarded as one of the brightest talents outside the top flight, stole the show last season at the Reebok in a 2-2 draw.
“He’s close, he’s getting there,” he said.
“He played 90 minutes and he’ll play another 90 minutes on Monday and then we’ll see where we are.
“I’m not rushing him, I want to make sure that he feels comfortable and feels up to speed.
“Once he tells me he’s right then he’ll be right.”