This week, I've been speaking to David Wilkinson, (no relation) from the Leeds United open Fan Forum, The Scratching Shed. David is the Founder and Editor of the site, a season ticket holder in the Kop, and regular at away games.

You can also find David on Twitter: @ScratchingShed1

Wilky: How is our former Captain Marvel “Redders” doing in his capacity of Under 18’s coach and Reserve Team (Caretaker) Manager at Leeds United.

David: Hard to say really as he's relatively new to the role and I don't get much chance to see the reserve and youth teams in action.

Over the last decade or so, Thorp Arch has been a bit of a cash cow for various chairmen to milk when they need to put a down-payment on a yacht or build some new conference facilities we didn't need. Since Simon Grayson took charge however, we've only seen Aidy White come through which has been a bit of a concern and ultimately led to Neil Thompson being relieved of his duties.

The last I heard, the club were still interviewing for a new Academy Chief, but Redders seems to have done OK in terms of results since he's been in charge so I'm sure he'll be in the running for the job full time.

Wilky: What were your pre-season expectations for Leeds United and how are you fairing compared to those?

David: My pre-season expectations were to finish in the play-off area, so there's been very few surprises for me so far. The bulk of our squad last season were playing below their natural positions and we were always going to be able to attract bigger players than a lot of teams in this division, so in a lot of ways, we already had an advantage over many teams in the Championship. The only real problems I saw were those with parachute payments, sugar-Daddy's and a penchant for financial ruin (Cardiff).

Wilky: How did the consensus of Leeds United fans feel (immediately after) the 5-2 demolition of “The Whites” at Oakwell earlier this season?

David: I was at the game and wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry. The initial reaction was probably anger from most fans, but you soon get over it and accept that bizarre results like that happen every season – especially when you have a defence as prone to error as Leeds.

Credit where due, Barnsley helped us to smile about it a little by releasing window stickers, posters and t-shirts through their official club shop. It was like you'd just won the FA Cup.

Make no mistake, we want revenge Tuesday night. I hope you'll all be wearing your t-shirts.

Wilky: In your opinion, what has been your best result this season and why?

David: Beating QPR stands out. I knew they were beatable before the game because they have such a heavy reliance on Taarabt. If you can keep him quiet, then there's little sting left in that side, and that's exactly what we did. We've had more thrilling victories, and more comprehensive ones too, but beating the league leaders is always nice.

Wilky: If there were three things you could change instantly at Leeds United, what would they be?

David: The illusive ownership, the Chairman and our defensive record.

Wilky: You’ve had some poor results at the hands of the league’s strugglers this season. Despite the clubs history, do teams appear to fear playing at Elland Road anymore?

David: I think they do, but you need the crowd in good voice and there's been times this season when the Elland Road faithful have been well below par. It's sometimes hard to draw up enthusiasm for teams who you have no real history against and who barely registered on our radar until a few years back.

The poor results against the lower clubs is just standard Leeds United. I think it's written in 'The Guide To Being A Leeds United Player' that's handed out upon signing for The Whites. Even when we were flying high in the Prem and Europe we still made hard work of the relegation strugglers.

Wilky: Ahead of our game on Tuesday 22nd February, what’s your score prediction?

David: I think Barnsley will be just as up for it as Leeds are, so it'll probably be a close one. I'd like to think we will go out and avenge the 5-2 by totally humiliating you, but I think a tight 1-0, 2-1 victory is more likely.

Wilky: What would you say your squad’s strengths are?

David: We have a couple of things in our locker, the most obvious of which is the ability to score goals - 59 in the league so far this season. We generally play 4-5-1, and it's no surprise our lone striker Becchio (14) has the brunt of them, but the likes of Howson (7), Gradel (10), Snodgrass (6) and super-sub Davide Somma (11) have also built up a good tally too. I'm not sure how anyone can set a team out to defend against so many threats?

Our other strength is clawing back points from a losing position. I'm not sure what the exact tally is at the moment, but Leeds have scored more points after going behind than any other team in the Championship. We're generous like that, and like to give teams a head start.

Wilky: Who is Leeds United’s present star player and why do you see them in that way?

David: A lot would say Becchio, but it's Robert Snodgrass for me. The team looks completely different without him in it. It's no coincidence that our rough patch early in the season coincided with his injury. He came back, and a few games later we started to move up the table. He's made pretty much every full-back he's come up against look like a Sunday League player this season. He's in truly sensational form and has to be the man to watch.

Wilky: If you could have any one Barnsley player for your starting XI, who would it be?

David: I think we're well covered in an attacking sense, but I quite like the Man City full-back you have on-loan, Kieran Trippier. Can only judge by what I've seen from highlights, but he looks like he puts himself about a bit and can be a real handful.

Wilky: What is your opinion about Barnsley FC as a club, and as a team?

David: Largely indifferent to be honest with you. Every time we're at the same level and a rivalry starts to build, it seems to be short-lived and quickly forgotten. That said, at this moment in time I have nothing but revenge in mind.

Thanks to David for joining us. Will there be a 2nd volume to add to the earlier DVD on sale at the club shop this weekend? Let's hope so.

Read the reciprocal interview by Wilky on The Scratching Shed here: Barnsley FC Fan's View
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Ian Wilkinson

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4 comments so far,add yours

Anonymous said...

crushing win for Leeds seems like the only possible result. One lucky game against a very very out of sort Leeds team proves nothing..let's compare league positions.

Anonymous said...

heard theres going to be an open top bus parade next sunday if you win a corner

score a goal and all the players are being made honorary doctors of barnsley hospital and the manager is going to be awarded the position of lord mayor

All Anonymous comments! It's funny how Leeds' fans tend to go to ground when the Whites are seemingly un-mighty! Scared of the outcome tonight perhaps?

TSS said...

Dreadful, dreadful, dreadful display of defending from Leeds. You were nothing special, we just gifted you too many goals through the same stupid errors. It was like de ja vu of the reverse game with a slightly better scoreline.

That Trippier lad certainly proved my point though. We'll buy him in the Summer.