Leeds United aim for winning send off against bogey team
It will be time for plenty of goodbyes as Leeds United stage their final game of the 2013-14 season at Elland Road on Saturday.
It will not be a fond farewell to a campaign that has rarely thrilled, but with a summer cull of players widely predicted following Massimo Cellino’s takeover several players are expected to be pulling on Leeds shirts for the last time and the manager himself could be in the home dug-out for the final time.
There has still been no official word on whether Cellino intends to let Brian McDermott continue in the hot seat beyond the end of the season or whether he will trust him with the money to make the signings he would like to make to revive the club next term.
McDermott has, however, done his cause some good with three wins from the last four games, the latest coming 3-1 at Birmingham City last Saturday.
All the wins have been against poor teams, but against sides scrapping for their lives at the bottom of the Sky Bet Championship so there has been plenty for them to play for.
McDermott can further enhance his prospects if the Whites can make it four from five against visitors Derby County in Saturday’s early kick-off.
They are up against history having lost their last 11 games against the Rams and are second favourites again with Steve McLaren’s men heading for the play-offs and assured of a third place finish.
Leeds will end in 14th, 15th or 16th with fewer points than they managed last term, although they can still earn a small consolation and some bragging rights for their supporters if they can earn a point as they would then finish as the top Yorkshire side in the division – ahead of Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield Town, Doncaster Rovers and Barnsley.
One player who will not be in the line-up for the Derby game is Alex Mowatt after he picked up a serious looking knee injury at Birmingham, although there was some good news for the young midfielder this week.
United manager McDermott has confirmed there are no great concerns about the injury which led to Mowatt being stretchered from the field at St Andrew’s last Saturday.
The player appeared to be in a lot of pain when he was carried off, but he has responded well to treatment since the game.
“Alex took a blow to his knee and thankfully it’s not serious,” said McDermott.
“We’ll keep assessing him, but it’s a relief for everyone.”