Q&A With Leeds United

  • January 29, 2016 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/70b6e

Andy Peterson shares the Leeds United view on Bolton's struggle to sell players, whether League One is a place for youth, and the sold-out away support.

Wanderers welcome United to Macron Stadium on Saturday, with a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup up for grabs - an achievement the home side haven't achieved since reaching the last eight in 2012.

Neil Lennon's side go into the game on the back of a morale-boosting 3-1 victory over MK Dons last Saturday, while Leeds claimed a 1-1 draw at Brentford on Tuesday night.

In our latest edition of Q&A, we got the views of Andy (@ArcticReviews) from The Square Ball.

Q: Steve Evans was the surprise choice to replace Uwe Rosler ahead of our league meeting back in September, but Leeds appear to have steadied the ship since his arrival and currently lie 14th in the Championship. With the play-offs looking just as unlikely as relegation, what are your hopes for the rest of the season and how can the club look to improve in the summer?

A: Evans was as you would expect a surprise - and fairly unpopular - appointee when he arrived, even amongst a fans base that's suffered Neil Warnock in the past.

He has, to an extent, won sections of our incredibly factionalised support over, firstly by improving results and secondly by a maintaining a highly populist line in fan pleasing rhetoric, by which I mean the sort of guff which goes down very well with those who believe we're being persecuted by..well, everyone.

In terms of the season, I suspect there are three worse teams in the league other than us (Sorry), so the focus, such as it is, has shifted to the magic of the FA cup, magic I have to say we're largely unfamiliar with.

Q: Chris Wood tops the scoring charts at Elland Road, while Mirco Antenucci, on target in the aforementioned league fixture, has gone 10 games without a goal. Who should Bolton fans be looking out for as a key threat to their hopes of progressing?

A: Wood aggravated a hamstring problem on Tuesday night at Brentford and is probably 50/50 for Saturday.

I'm not sure they count as threats but Souleymane Doukara and Antenucci will probably be involved. Both will work the linesman's flag arm thoroughly. New loan signing Mustapha Carayol is capable of producing the unexpected - two spectacular goals so far this month - or equally disappearing into thin air.

Last season we were lucky enough to have both midfielders Alex Mowatt and Luke Murphy wade in with important goals and Mowatt has also flickered occasionally this year, but the onion bags aren't exactly rippling on a regular basis, partially due to Evans' conservative formations, being usually a less-than-cavalier 4-5-1, even at home.

Q: Wanderers' financial problems are well documented and the club face the prospect of selling key players at cut-price fees. From your own knowledge, or possibly what you've seen on the television, who would you like to take from our squad and place them in your own team?

A: I think a number of teams have looked at Zach Clough, although I doubt Massimo Cellino would part with £2 million for him.

Being honest, we bought several players from the Portsmouth side which were relegated to League One a few years ago and none of those worked out, so I can't see us repeating that strategy. Then again, if you have centre halves that don't have the attention span of a confused rabbit and who can head, tackle and read a through ball, we'll take them. All of them.

Q: As a supporter of a club that have gone through similar problems to Bolton in the past, what message of advice can you pass on to those already contemplating life in League One for the first time since 1993?

A: League One is a very different prospect to the one we faced. You've got some very decent sized clubs down there now - Bradford City, Sheffield United, Coventry City - and, as we've regularly seen, it's probably the most competitive and evenly matched division in the entire league.

For us, our problem was that every away game was a cup final, which is something with all due respect you may not face each week.

My view is that the owners have to be brave. You need to continue investing in your youth setup and scouting networks, rather than cull them like Leeds did. You can find bargains (As we did with Jermaine Beckford & Lucciano Becchio) if you look hard enough and have some faith.

If he does stay after this window, at some point you'll need to make a call on Clough.

Q: With 6,800 tickets allocated to Leeds fans, what has the uptake been like and does the prospect of a carnival atmosphere in the away end boost hopes of securing a place in the last 16 of the FA Cup?

A: We'll sell out, partly thanks to the wise decision to only charge £20.

Our away support remains phenomenal, despite the lack of any real encouragement for them on the pitch. Expect us, as ever, to be very loud and fairly 'refreshed'.

Q: Finally, what is your score prediction for Saturday's tie?

A: 1-1. A replay nobody needs.

Burnden Aces would like to thank Andy for taking the time to answer our questions. You can read more from him on Twitter - @ArcticReviews - or by heading over to thesquareball.net.

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Accrington Stanley 0 0
2 Barnsley 0 0
3 Bolton Wanderers 0 0
4 Bristol Rovers 0 0
5 Burton Albion 0 0
View Full Standings >>


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