AFTER surviving a cup scare at Crewe, Liam Feeney is targeting a change in Championship fortune for Wanderers.
There was little about the slender win at Gresty Road to cheer the mood among fans who have grown increasingly frustrated by the Whites’ poor start to the season – but then Feeney argues they were always on a hiding to nothing.
Victory against League One’s rock-bottom club was expected but defeat could have had all manner of ramifications going into this weekend’s game at Leeds United.
Happy to have returned to winning ways, however convincing, Feeney just hopes it can now have a positive effect on league form.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game but let’s face it, we didn’t do ourselves any favours with the way we started,” he said.
“They are a good young team and they are renowned for playing football the right way, with attractive football.
“It hasn’t gone well for them this season but you could tell there was no fear in the way they played.
“Unless you smash someone 5-0 it’s hard to come out of these games with much credit. Even if you do, people will say you should have done it anyway.
“It’s tough but the main thing for us was that we got into the next round and get that little bit of confidence to take into Saturday at Leeds.”
Four games so far in the Championship have yielded just one point, providing a painful reminder of last season’s 10-game run.
Feeney was one of the players who helped lift the club from its funk last October in a loan spell from Millwall and he is confident that the current campaign is far from a lost cause.
Victory at Leeds – scene of a memorable 5-1 triumph in March – would be a timely one going into the international break.
And Feeney hopes the fans will continue to back the players despite the difficulties faced over the past few weeks.
“It is a massive game because things haven’t gone for us over the last few weeks,” he said. “We haven’t been battered – it has been by the odd goal.
“I hope we can take a little bit out of the Crewe game and use it at Leeds.
“You can’t please everyone all the time. We have to stick together as a club and as a group of players.
“We do need the fans as well. We’re trying our hardest and I really hope it will turn for us sooner rather than later but the main thing is that we all pull in the right direction because we can still have a good season.”
Wanderers have lost the lead in their last three league games against Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough and Brighton, and did so again in the cup at Crewe a matter of seconds after Jermaine Beckford’s injury time strike appeared to have booked a place in round three.
“It’s frustrating because the hardest part can be getting into the lead at times,” Feeney said. “That’s not a slight on the players at the back – we defend as a team – goals can come from mistakes much further up the field as well and they might not be as obvious.
“We’re obviously disappointed to have lost the lead so many times but the mood around the players is that we want to rectify the situation and make sure it doesn’t happen many more times.”
Feeney has played just once at Elland Road but unlike many of the Wanderers players who took part in last season’s undoubted highlight, his memories of the ground are significantly more poignant.
“I’ve only played there once before and it was unfortunately the game after Gary Speed passed away,” he said.
“The place was absolutely packed that day and everyone was paying their condolences, so it felt like a special day.
“We lost the game 2-0 as I remember so it wasn’t a great one in that respect.
“But I am looking forward to going there and getting a result.”