Q&A With Leeds United

Ahead of the 64th meeting between Leeds United and Bolton on Saturday, we have got the views of a United supporter.

Wanderers go into the game on the back of a 3-2 extra-time victory at Crewe Alexandra on Tuesday night, while Leeds were beaten 2-1 by Bradford City on the same evening - in a game which spelled the end for manager Dave Hockaday.

In our latest edition of Q&A, we have spoken to Danny (@lufc_dan) - an 18-year-old who attended his first game as a young child, when Leeds were 3-0 winners over Maritimo in a UEFA Cup tie. Danny isn't old enough to remember the club's exploits in the Champions League, so lists Luciano Becchio as his favourite all-time Whites player, as well as giving a special mention to current Wanderers forward Jermaine Beckford.

Ahead of Saturday's game, Danny shares his views on the 'bizarre' situation regarding Hockaday's appointment and subsequent dismissal, who he'd like to see take over the reigns at Elland Road, as well as why Beckford remains a favourite with the United supporters.

Q: Dave Hockaday lost his job as manager on Thursday, just six games into his reign at Elland Road. Massimo Cellino's decision to appoint him came as a major surprise over the summer. What was your opinion on the situation, are you surprised to see him go so soon and who would be your early pick to succeed him?

A: The whole thing was pretty bizarre and I have no idea how Cellino came to hearing of Hockaday. I'm pretty sure the whole situation was a joke that got slightly out of hand!

Pre-season was equally bizarre, with Leeds flying out to Italy to play amateur side FC Gherdeina, who we destroyed 16-0. This was the kind of thing you do on Football Manager, when every player's morale is low and in need of a desperate boost. Maybe 'the Hock' was going for that, but we'll never know. The second game in Italy was supposed to be against Romanian opponents, Viitorul Constanta, who failed to turn up - running scared after Noel Hunt scored a hat-trick in the previous game! In the end, we decided to play a match made up of three 20-minute halves against ourselves, for the fans who had travelled out. It was a pretty great effort to make a non-competitive match even less competitive.

The phenomenal pre-season planning unfortunately didn't pay dividends and after one league win and three losses, any small amount of patience the fans had for Hockaday quickly ran out. He also didn't help himself by his incredible amount of self-belief, bordering on into arrogance, brandishing himself a 'winner' despite the only significant thing he has ever won being the Division Two title with Stoke City in 1992. Telling fans you feel you can be a part of the club's journey to the Champions League, one day after you have just been beaten 4-1 by Watford is a little bit delusional and did him no favours.

A very, very small part of me does feel a little bit sorry for him, however. Hockaday was clearly out of his depth and, with barely any support from day one, it was never going to work out. In my opinion, the blame has to go to Cellino for making such a ridiculous appointment and wasting an entire pre-season and four league games on such a pointless experiment.

As for a new manager, I wouldn't mind seeing Oscar Garcia taking over - who I thought did a decent job at Brighton & Hove Albion last season. The main issue, though, is whether many managers will want to come to Leeds, where they have no say on player transfers and are working for a massive egomaniac who has sacked something like 38 managers in 20 seasons.

Q: Having started the season in terrible form, what are your realistic expectations for the season?

A: Anything could happen at Leeds. I suppose it all depends upon who Cellino chooses to appoint.

As the squad has had a major overhaul, it's hard to tell if Hockaday was to blame with not getting the best out of good players, of if the squad is actually that bad. The squad desperately needs creative midfielders, as shown by us creating a simply incredible two shots on target in three games.

Based on performances so far, it looks like another long season at Leeds and I'd predict us to finish 17th, at present.

Q: After a decade outside the top-flight, which Championship fixture do the Leeds fans look forward to the most, and why?

A: This year, I looked for Rotherham United. It's a new ground and a Yorkshire club, even if the rivalry may be slightly one way.

Millwall are also quite big rivals and The Den is always a good atmosphere, despite us losing down there pretty much every year.

Q: Following Ross McCormack's transfer to Fulham, who, in your opinion, will end up as Player of the Year at Elland Road this season?

A: It's genuinely hard to say! Looking at our squad, there is no standout player at all this year - unlike when McCormack was here.

Our right-back, Sam Byram, won four awards in 2013/13 at the age of 18, taking both Young Player of the Year and Player of the Year after an amazing debut campaign, but he was plagued by injury last season and didn't reach anywhere near the performance levels he did the season before.

If he can get fit and get back to the form he originally showed, then he could be the one to win the award.

Q: Former Leeds favourite Jermaine Beckford will return to his former club on Saturday. Do you think he will be Bolton's danger man, or will the attention be on somebody else?

A: On his day, Beckford was awesome for Leeds. He was arguably the best finisher the club has had in years and I'm surprised we managed to keep him for so long. Although, whenever he has returned to Elland Road with an opposition side, he has never scored or even looked like trying to score.

The first time he came back to Elland Road, he spent a good 15 seconds before the game applauding all four sides of the ground, much to the annoyance of the Huddersfield Town fans whose team he was actually supposed to be playing for. So it will all depend on how Beckford is feeling - if he's up for it, I'd definitely back him to score.

Joe Mason has also scored a few times against Leeds, as he did last season in that horrific 5-1 defeat to you. Neil Danns is also a decent player worth giving a mention.

Q: Finally, what is your score prediction for the weekend's game?

A: I'd love to say a Leeds win, but my head is telling me we're in for a disgustingly terrible game of football that will finish 1-1.

Burnden Aces would like to thank Danny for taking the time to answer our questions. You can read more from him on Twitter - @lufc_dan.

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
12 Cheltenham Town 19 27
13 Accrington Stanley 20 27
14 Bolton Wanderers 20 26
15 Charlton Athletic 20 23
16 Cambridge United 20 23
View Full Standings >>

Poll

Who is Bolton's 2020/21 Player of the Year?
56.86% Ricardo Santos
17.79% Matt Gilks
10.64% Alex Baptiste
9.94% Eoin Doyle
2.52% Antoni Sarcevic
1.54% Gethin Jones
0.42% Nathan Delfouneso
0.28% Ryan Delaney