Behind Enemy Lines

Tuesday 20 October 2015 17:00

Adam Pope, Sports Broadcaster for BBC Radio Leeds, dissects what has been a busy couple of days at the club, and looks ahead to Wednesday’s encounter at Craven Cottage.

What did you make of Uwe Rosler’s departure on Monday?

The timing was a shock because the chairman had backed him very solidly, saying a few weeks ago that Rosler was the best man for the job of building for promotion next season. The fact it has happened is no surprise as Massimo Cellino is known as ‘Il mangia allenatori’ (the manager eater). There’s now been six permanent coaches at Elland Road since Cellino arrived 18 months ago.

How do you expect Steve Evans to fare?

Steve’s reputation is based on keeping Rotherham up. Leeds fans will expect far more than that so he will have to satisfy them that he can manage a huge club, and some quality young players in particular, without having the resources to bring many in. Within those parameters I honestly cannot say how he will do. His press conference saw him very honoured to have the job and he will throw everything at it.

What do you think had been the problem for Leeds this season?

Instability is the long term problem and that is exacerbated by an impending ban for the chairman again. Poor defending and goalkeeping has been the issue on the pitch.

What’s a realistic target for Leeds now?

The squad is capable of a top-10 finish which is what Rosler was trying to achieve. I will stick by that in terms of the squad’s capacity but it really depends if they have a coach long enough to mould them.

Which players have been impressing you?

Left-back Charlie Taylor is now out with a virus but he has been superb this season. Liam Cooper (pictured) at centre-back has also started to find real form.

Do you think the managerial change will help or hinder Leeds on Wednesday?

All we can expect is a positive response from the players who, to be fair, performed well but were unfortunate to be beaten by Brighton [in the previous match].

What have you made of Fulham so far this season?

I thought you would be higher up the table by now to be honest. The point at Middlesbrough made me sit up. I always liked Ross McCormack and Matt Smith at Leeds, whilst Luke Garbutt is a great talent.

Where do you expect the key battles to be played out?

 

Leeds’ defence has to be stronger, so if Cooper is fit then his form will hopefully help to improve it alongside Sol Bamba. So I think Moussa Dembélé v Bamba is a key contest. It will be interesting to see if Evans deploys a different system to Uwe Rosler before and goes with two strikers in Chris Wood and Mirco Antenucci.

Have you been to the Cottage much before?

I have been once and that was last season where Leeds survived a battering to run out 3-0 winners! It was a positive experience and I think the ground is brilliant. I miss the grounds with character which I used to frequent growing up in the 70s and 80s.

How do you see Wednesday’s game going?

Leeds will probably go hell for leather at Fulham under Evans! It really could be anything in terms of scoreline. However, if the wingers produce a final ball then Leeds have a great chance.

What score prediction are you going for?

Happy if Leeds come away with a point at the moment. 1-1.

Tickets for Wednesday's game are still available to buy, priced at just £20 adults and £10 juniors. (Prices increase by £5 on matchday).

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