Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bradford 2-1 Leeds: James Hanson scores late winner in West Yorkshire derby to pile pressure on United boss Dave Hockaday

Mail 27/8
Bradford came from behind in the dying minutes to beat Leeds
Matt Smith put Leeds in front eight minutes from time
Billy Knott and James Hanson hit back immediately for Bradford
Luke Murphy was sent off for Leeds in the first half
By CRAIG HOPE
If Dave Hockaday is to prolong what appears a doomed existence as Leeds manager then a first West Yorkshire derby defeat in 28 years – in which another of his players was sent off and he was mocked by his own fans – will hardly aid his sorry cause.
The 56-year-old cut a shocked and lonely figure amid the cauldron of noise that greeted the climax of a pulsating tie which – for 115 seconds – had even threatened the most unlikely reprieve for the under-fire boss.
That two-minute period was the time between Matt Smith’s 82nd-minute breakthrough for 10-man Leeds and Billy Knott’s stunning leveller. Fast forward another 90 seconds and Bradford, thanks to James Hanson’s header, were in front.
The reward for the League One side – beaten finalists in this competition two years ago – is a trip to MK Dons – conquerors of Manchester United - in four weeks’ time.
Hockaday, though, cannot look beyond Saturday’s visit of Bolton. Indeed, he may not make it that far, for owner Massimo Cellino had exited Valley Parade even before the late drama and chants of 'You're getting sacked in the morning' emanating from the away end.
In the wake of last weekend’s 4-1 defeat at Watford – in which Giuseppe Bellusci and Sam Byram were dismissed – there was talk that Cellino was set to axe the former Forest Green Rovers manager just five games into his surprise tenure.
But Hockaday has hardly been helped by his players’ indiscipline and Luke Murphy was red carded after just 31 minutes. The midfielder had already tried his damnedest to be sent off for a knee-high lunge on Gary Liddle before he collected a second yellow for an equally irresponsible challenge on James Meredith.
And Hockaday said: ‘One player has given us a mountain to climb. But we pretty much climbed that mountain.
‘The rest of the team were magnificent to a man. As the game wore on we got stronger and got our reward with the goal.
‘When we scored I was proud of the boys and then thought “right, how do we kill the game?”.
‘But sometimes you have to say “that’s a great strike”. Then we had to steady it down but a couple of lads slipped in the box and their player got the run on them and he’s scored the winner.'
Is Hockaday confident, then, he will see the weekend?
‘I’ve got a job to do and the players are behind me,’ he answered. ‘They have come to see me and they’re desperate to do well for Leeds.
‘We’ve been written off and we’re making it difficult for ourselves on the pitch with the red cards. But the team spirit is there and we have to take this on the chin.
'It’s a difficult situation and the sooner we win a game the better.
‘But my approach has just been one of determination. I’m a fighter, not a quitter. My concern is the team but I just feel things aren’t going their way.
‘In the dressing-room they are devastated and we do feel we can turn things around. We cannot wait for Saturday and that is where we are now looking.’
Opposite number Phil Parkinson, meanwhile, was thrilled with his side’s comeback, achieved thanks to Knott’s 25-yard fizzer and Hanson’s stooping header.
‘We created chances but we just had to be patient against 10 men. We went behind and it took a bit of inspiration from Billy to get us back in – it was top class,’ he said.
‘To then get the winner was brilliant and I’m proud of my players, it was a crazy end but it was a fantastic night for the club. It’s a big moment for this club because we know what it meant to the people of Bradford.
‘We gave everything to make a bit of history and won at Valley Parade for the first time in over 80 years.’

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Leeds United: Skipper Pearce is not for sale - Hockaday

Yorkshire Evening Post 27/8/14
by Phil Hay
David Hockaday has categorically ruled out the sale of Jason Pearce amid a flurry of interest in the Leeds United captain.
Hockaday said Pearce was “not available” and would remain with Leeds beyond the transfer deadline after Sheffield United confirmed that they were looking to buy the centre-back.
Pearce – a £500,000 signing from Portsmouth – has been with Leeds for the past two years and his contract at Elland Road runs until 2016
The 26-year-old has started all of United’s games this season and he was given the captain’s armband by Hockaday before the campaign started.
United’s head coach said: “I know that one or two clubs have expressed an interest in him but he’s not available.
“He’s my captain, he’s happy and we’re happy to have him here. That goes in the bin straight away.”
The remainder of the transfer window is likely to see departures from Elland Road, however, with Noel Hunt and David Norris among the players who United will allow to leave.

Leeds United: Club and team back me - Hockaday

Yorkshire Evening Post 27/8/14
by Phil Hay
A defiant David Hockaday insisted he had the backing of Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino and the club’s senior players after a bizarre weekend in which he narrowly avoided the sack.
Hockaday claimed he was unaware of any threat to his position, despite Cellino’s publicised plan to dismiss him, and said the subject had not arisen during a two-hour discussion between them on Sunday.
United’s head coach, meanwhile, revealed that four members of the club’s first-team squad had come to him to offer their support in the aftermath Saturday’s defeat to Watford amid clear signs that Hockaday’s job was on the line.
The 56-year-old’s tenure was set to end after only five competitive games in charge on Saturday as a furious Cellino reacted to a 4-1 loss at Vicarage Road by vowing to remove Hockaday from his post. The Italian changed his mind the following day, however, in a remarkable turnaround which saw Cellino publicly blame himself for Leeds’ mediocre start to the season and point the finger at new signing Giuseppe Bellusci for the penalty and red card which condemned United at Watford.
Hockaday will be back on the touchline at Valley Parade tonight for United’s Capital One Cup second-round tie and he refused to discuss his future ahead of the game, saying: “I can’t comment on what people have or haven’t said.
“I had a two-hour conversation – a calm conversation – with the president on Sunday.
“We talked about the game and the defining moment in that game.
“We talked about the players we need, everything. It (his job) wasn’t even addressed.
“The president just told me to keep working hard, that he believes in me and that he needs to get me players.
“That’s brilliant and that’s fair. It’s all I can ask for.
“I’m here, I’m coaching, I love my role and I love my players. I can control the controllable. Anything outside of that is out of my hands and for me to go into conjecture isn’t my thing and isn’t my job. I’m just a hard-working guy who loves his job.
“Four of the senior players have come to see me and said ‘gaffer, we’re 100 per cent behind you, is there anything we can do? “We love what you’re doing, we love the training, it’s as good as we’ve had.’
“They’ve said complimentary things but all we can do is train harder and win games.”
Hockaday – a surprise appointment when Cellino plucked him from obscurity and named him as head coach in June - has been in charge of Leeds for just 68 days and has handled only five competitive games.
Hockaday said United’s performances had been affected by both the loss of players to injury and suspension and the late arrival of several new signings in the transfer window.
“I’m as good as the players I’ve got and I think I’ve got some really good players,” Hockaday said. “But everyone knows we need to strengthen. We need to score more goals.
“Our goal threat isn’t great enough but we’ve got (Aidan) White, (Steve) Morison and (Souleymane) Doukara out. That doesn’t help. There’s going to be a transitional period but saying that, it sounds like an excuse even to me. We’ve got to get on with it.
“I believe we’re turning a massive ship around. It’s been going in a certain course for eight or 10 years and that isn’t going to change overnight. It’s going to take patience and I know there’s no patience in football but that’s how it is here. It’s not happening as quickly as people would like but I am turning it around.
“Against Middlesbrough, it was sweetness and light. Then we lose to Watford and it’s the other way. That’s football but I’m a good coach, I’ve got a calm head and I believe in myself and my players.”
Leeds will be without the suspended Bellusci tonight after his red card at Watford earned him a one-match suspension. Liam Cooper is in line to replace him in the centre of defence.
Sam Byram is also beginning a three-game ban after Leeds were forced to accept his late and contentious dismissal at Vicarage Road due to a lack of video evidence.
Gaetano Berardi is ready to step in at right-back after completing a ban of his own but new signing Casper Sloth is awaiting international clearance and “high unlikely” to be involved, according to Hockaday.
The drama surrounding Hockaday’s job has overshadowed tonight’s tie at Valley Parade - United’s first visit there for almost 14 years.
But Hockaday said: “It’s a big game. I was always told that this is one of the six major (derbies) in the league. It’s a massive game for both sets of fans.”

David Hockaday wants to guide Leeds United back to Champions League

Guardian 26/8/14
David Hockaday was a surprise appointment at Leeds, having only previously managed Forest Green.
David Hockaday has launched a defiant defence of his position as the Leeds head coach and stated his desire to be with the club on a journey to the Champions League.
Fourteen years have passed since Leeds were competing with Europe’s elite and Hockaday is the latest man to have been tasked with setting the club back on the road to former glories.
His time in charge looked to have ended at the weekend, though, when the owner, Massimo Cellino, decided to sack him just five games into his tenure, only to perform a dramatic U-turn and then place the blame for the club’s poor start to the Championship season on himself and the defender Giuseppe Bellusci.
The Italian – who infamously sacked and reinstated Brian McDermott inside a mad 24 hours back in February – decided that Bellusci was at fault for getting sent off in the 4-1 loss at Watford and that he himself had to shoulder responsibility for not giving Hockaday enough players. That earned the former Forest Green manager Hockaday an unexpected reprieve, but he insisted on Tuesday that he had never been aware that he was on the verge of losing his job anyway.
“I can’t even comment on things I have read, what people have said or reportedly said. I had a calm, two-hour conversation with the president on Sunday, we spoke about the game, the defining moment of the game,” he said.
“We talked through players needed and everything and so it wasn’t even addressed. It is what it is, I’m here, coaching, I love my role, my players and I am getting a lot out of them.
“I run my life by controlling the controllables. I will manage the game when it’s being played, coach my players and anything outside of that is out of my hands. I’m just a hard-working guy who loves his job and that’s what I will continue to do.”
With Forest Green the only club on his managerial résumé, Hockaday was a surprise appointment when Cellino unveiled him after being tipped off about the 56-year-old by someone he claims he cannot remember. As such, and with Cellino earning a reputation as the “manager eater” after going through 36 managers in 20 years at Cagliari, few gave Hockaday as much time as he has already had – at present 68 days.
He said, though, that despite the sideshow about his future, he is determined to be a part of what Cellino is trying to build at Elland Road.
“When I have a conversation with the president and we talk about the club and the way forward and getting players in, that makes me happy,” he added. “It shows me there’s a future for everybody. It shows me that the president, however he is portrayed, is unbelievably passionate about this football club. I am not just saying it, I mean it.
“This guy wants Leeds to be in the Champions League, he does. I believe over time that will happen. I think it’s inevitable. The timescale I don’t know, I want to be part of that journey, a big part of that journey. I am going to fight tooth and nail to be here for as long as I can, to be as successful as I can.”

Leeds: Cellino Knows He's F****d Up & Hock's A Dead Man Walking

Sabotage Times 26/8/14
by Paul Sherman
Cellino's made an epic balls up and needs to fix it before it's too late...
The mangiallenatori chewed up and spat out his first manager at Leeds United early doors and is masticating furiously with his second, unbelievable scenes at Elland Road.
McDermott never had a chance having been appointed by the witless, clueless GFH crew and Hock getting the job based on anonymous tip off after a lengthy meeting in a hotel during which you can bet your bottom dollar Massimo did the vast majority of the talking had as much chance of success as a Doncaster virgin remaining intact on a Magaluf weekender.
McDermott was somebody else’s mistake, Hock is 100% self inflicted.
Cellino has done so much right at Leeds, from buying the club out of the evil clutches of the sand jockeys to bringing in a dozen new recruits, a good looking mix of experience and potential to giving our own talented youth a chance.
Appointing Hock and Junior was a brain fart of hurricane proportions, akin to appointing me after a successful spell with my lad’s under 14s 5-a-side.
Come to think it my scintillating blend of defensive solidity, imaginative midfield and predatory strikers playing a high tempo pass and move with explosive finishing would not only be more attractive to watch but also deliver success and results.
The current squad plus boy wonder aka Cellino’s lovechild Adryan & Sloth who despite his name is a promising Danish midfielder and a couple more with an injection of crucial width and pace roared on by the army of fans, even with meddling micro manager Massimo minus the deadwood is a massive opportunity for a proper coach.
After Saturday’s capitulation at Watford, the world held it’s breath as the Sheriff’s finger twitched over the trigger waiting for the bullet to be fired.
There is no doubt Cellino is hurting and the fact that his experimental pluck from obscurity based on no more than a tip off and one meeting allied to a scattergun recruitment policy has delivered a set of unacceptable results. He is absolutely committed to making Leeds United a success and seeing them once again eat at the top table.
The Cellino regime expenditure so far is huge in our recent history, including an inflated purchase price, the full package has since been renegotiated, payment of a lot of existing and historical debt, court cases and an estimated £10 million in new contracts plus transfer and loan fees as well as contract pay offs.
The playing squad turnaround has been massive, 17 out, a dozen in with more to come and an expected splurge of activity including contract terminations before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
In an epic outpouring of pure, unadulterated, honest emotion featuring the biggest climb down since the latest descent of Everest, Massimo said he had decided to sack Hockaday on Saturday and was ready to do so until he spoke to him on Sunday evening. “If I fire the coach I should fire myself because I haven’t signed enough good players. How can that be his fault.”
Cellino says he’ll wait until the squad is finished before judging Hockaday. “Maybe he’s not a good coach but I can’t say yet.”
The cynics or perhaps realists or maybe just plain speculators all think that the stay of execution for Hock is merely waiting for Cellino’s next choice to become available, the rumoured names are already flying around.
Hock is a dead man walking, the already anti fans have had enough and are in a state of shock that he wasn’t a goner on Saturday, once a coach loses the fans, even the ones who were prepared to give him a chance, he has more chance plaiting fog than winning them round.
Knowing the president and his crazy ways, don’t be surprised if, in a bid to avoid any more controversy, he appoints Malky Mackay with Big Ron Atkinson as director of football.
Cellino is certain to be at the eye of a storm of frantic activity this week in a huge effort to finalise the squad, he hates being embarrassed, his ego will not contemplate failure and he bought Leeds United, a football institution, to succeed.
He has made one balls up of epic proportions, he must sort it out sooner rather than later, finish the squad but most important of all put them under the control of a proper coach and stop feeding a gourmet menu of players to a medieval peasant.

Oscar Garcia puts Fulham and Leeds on alert as he decides to quit Maccabi Tel Aviv

Mail 26/8/14
Oscar Garcia set to leave his role as manager of Maccabi Tel Aviv on Tuesday due to the ongoing conflicts in the area.
The former Brighton manager is back at the Israeli club for the second time, after resigning in 2013 and moving to England.
However, with Israel locked in continuing conflict with Hamas in Gaza, and rockets being fired at Tel Aviv, Garcia has decided to leave the region.
He is under consideration at Leeds and Fulham as they consider their options in the face of recent results.
Garcia had a succesful one-year spell in Tel Aviv two seasons ago, culminating in winning the Israeli Championship in 2013.
But results on his return have been less good, with the club going out of the Champions League qualifiers to Maribor, and needed to overturn a two-goal deficit against Greek side Asteras Tripoli on Thursday to reach the Europa League group stage.

Blades confirm interest in Leeds skipper Pearce

Yorkshire Post 25/8/14
LEEDS UNITED captain Jason Pearce has been linked with a move to Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United – whose manager Nigel Clough has confirmed his interest in the defender.
The Blades are keen to boost their defensive ranks following the departure of Harry Maguire to Hull City, with Pearce figuring high on Clough’s wish-list.
Clough admits that financing any prospective deal for Pearce would represent a considerable outlay for the League One club, but he is not ruling out the prospect of a successful move for the 26-year-old.
That said, it remains to be seen whether Leeds – who yesterday completed the expected signing of Danish international midfielder Casper Sloth for an undisclosed six-figure sum from AGF Aarhus – would entertain the prospect of doing any business regarding the former Portsmouth man, an ever-present this term and one of the club’s more consistent players during the 2013-14 campaign.
Clough, who has also not ruled out trying to persuade Hull to loan back Maguire to Bramall Lane - with any prospective deal likely to hinge on the Tigers’ involvement in Europe – said: “We hve looked at him (Pearce) certainly, yes. But I think he will be a bit beyond us with his contract at Leeds.
“Being a Championship player and what they’d want for him might be a bit beyond us. But yes, we’d like Jason Pearce.
“It is going be difficult to tempt a club to let somebody go who is currently in the first team. But we are trying to do that, if necessary.”
Following the signing of Sloth on a three-year contract, subject to international clearance, United are expected to turn their attentions towards landing 20-year-old Brazilian play-maker Adryan.
Sloth has become the 12th summer signing at Elland Road, with Leeds having agreed terms of a three-year deal with the Aarhus schemer, who has made eight appearances for Denmark, late last week.
United are thought to have paid around £600,000 to land the midfielder.
The 22-year-old played over 130 times for Aarhus, relegated from the Danish top-flight last season and made his debut for the national team in a friendly game in Istanbul against Turkey in November 2012.
The previous month, Sloth was named as the Danish Superliga’s Player of the Month.
The midfielder, capped many times at youth level for the Danes, appeared for Denmark in their friendly clash against England at Wembley in March, when he impressed, despite a 1-0 defeat for Morten Olsen’s side.
United are understood to have beaten off interest from French Ligue 1 side Evian to sign him.
After the capture of Sloth, United president Massimo Cellino and sporting director Nicola Salerno have now set their sights on attempting to persuade Flamengo to cut short Adryan’s loan at Cagliari and send him to England.
Meanwhile, League One outfit Oldham Athletic have been linked with a swoop for former United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny.
The 36-year-old recently left Leeds by mutual consent, with an agreement reached with Kenny, who had a year left on his Elland Road deal.
Talks have reportedly taken place between the Latics and Kenny’s representatives.
Ex-Whites keeper Paul Rachubka is the current number one at Boundary Park.

Leeds United complete Sloth signing

Yorkshire Post 25/8/14
LEEDS UNITED have completed the signing of Danish international midfielder Casper Sloth for an undisclosed fee, believed to be in the region of £600,000.
The 22-year-old has become United’s 12th signing of a busy high-summer of transfer activity at Elland Road, with the schemer having signed a three-year deal.
Sloth has made eight appearances for Denmark with Leeds believed to have beaten off interest from French outfit Evian to sign him from Aarhus.
Sloth has been capped at various youth levels by Denmark and he became a full international in 2012.
He made his debut for Aarhus in Denmark’s Superliga as a 17-year-old and he has appeared over 100 times for the club, who were relegated from the top flight last season.
Sloth will wear the number 33 shirt at Leeds.
United remain in talks aimed at bringing 20-year-old Brazilian play-maker Adryan to the club, with president Massimo Cellino and sporting director Nicola Salerno attempting to persuade Flamengo to cut short his loan at Cagliari and send him to England.