United playing for pride against Brighton

Brian McDermott
Brian McDermott
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After what has seemed a long and has definitely been a disappointing season Leeds United play their final home game of the campaign against Brighton on Saturday with nothing at stake for them except pride.

With a few relegation concerns creeping in during recent weeks it is with some relief, perhaps, that they have little to play for with their Npower Championship future decided by last weekend’s results.

Despite a 1-0 defeat at Birmingham that ended Brian McDermott’s winning start as manager the Whites were officially safe from going down as they stand seven points above the relegation places with just two matches left.

It also confirmed that any last lingering hope of a late run for the play-offs had ended as it left them eight points off the top six.

This Saturday’s visitors to Elland Road, Brighton, are looking upwards, however, and certainly have plenty on their plate.

Gus Poyet’s men moved up to fourth spot following a resounding 6-1 win over Blackpool last Saturday and need one more win to clinch a place in the play-offs with the manager challenging his players to get it at Leeds to avoid a nervous final game against relegation threatened Wolves.

Poyet will be looking to add to his good record against the club where he was once assistant manager and will be banking on his side’s bigger goal threat than United to see them through.

It could help them that the game will be a good opportunity for new Leeds boss McDermott to have a look at some of his fringe players, who have not featured yet since his arrival.

The likes of Dominic Poleon, Habib Habibou and Ryan Hall will all be itching for a chance to show the manager what they can do while there may be another chance for promising young Dewsbury-born midfielder Chris Dawson, who showed some bright touches on his debut in Neil Warnock’s last game in charge.

McDermott has seen enough positives already to be looking ahead to next season with some confidence.

He said: “Everyone must be going in the same direction. If that occurs in this club you have a major chance.

“I think we have to talk about who needs to come in. If we can add to the squad with good quality players who know this division we should progress. “If I had been here a couple of games earlier you never know (about promotion this season), but I was brought in with the brief to make sure we didn’t get relegated.

“All I know is that I have had the backing from the owners GFH Capital to make the changes I want at the club to get promoted.

“At Reading we had players who could hurt teams and I want the same at Leeds. This club is proper.”