Date:Monday December 30 2013
I made the trip to the City Ground on Sunday as Leeds slipped to a first defeat in six games against fellow promotion hopefuls Nottingham Forest.
Leeds struggled against Forest, going down to a disappointing 2-1 defeat.
He took what looked a nasty knock in the opening minute of the game and he struggled throughout. He could do little with either goal and despite struggling; he made a few good saves to keep Forest out.
Unbelievably, players continued to pass the ball back to him despite him struggling to kick the ball.
I thought he did ok. It was the right substitution to make by McDermott bringing on a bit more pace in Sam Byram to help the young lad on the wing.
I am not sure what he is thinking half the time. He often looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights. On one occasion in the second half, the ball was going back to Paddy Kenny as Marius Zaliukas shepherded it back to the keeper. Lees came steaming between the pair of them and smashed it into touch.
Not one of his better games and between him and Pearce, they switched off to allow Halford to score the first goal. He continuously sliced his clearances into the sky.
Like Zaliukas, not close enough to Halford for the first goal.
Pugh 6 Star Man
He continues to do well for Leeds. Most of the decent stuff, especially in a poor first half, came down his side with him heavily involved.
He has been poor for the last three or four games and he was again off the pace. He rarely got involved as the midfield was over-run and he did little to help Murphy and Brown, who were struggling to contain Forest.
I thought he was the pick of the midfield and he shouldn`t have been taken off. He was the one trying to break up play and frustrate Forest.
Odd good moment but he was far too often knocked off the ball and giving it away.
Totally oblivious in the game as the strikers had little to work off. Saying that, he hardly seemed to be putting the effort in to help out. Hard to be critical of McCormack because I dread to think where we would be without his goals.
Once again, everything was hit long for Smith to try to win. He struggled against some big lads at the back for Forest and when he does win the ball, there is never anyone in a position to latched on to his headers. Opposition have worked out our tactics and we are becoming easier to defend against.
He got the chance to show what he could do for half hour and he looks fairly promising. Our game did seem to improve once he arrived on the pitch. We won`t talk too much about his effort on goal!
He came on to work the wing with Ariyibi and the pair gave us much more option. He got in behind the Forest defence to centre for the equalising goal.
He is doing very little with the minutes he is getting on the pitch.
A game between fifth and sixth going into the game and it showed how wide open this league is with both sides not looking like promotion candidates.
The big difference between the two sides was Forest worked their socks off whilst we looked tired. They never gave us any time on the ball, chasing and harrying. They have quality in midfield, something we are desperately short of.
We have now taken just one point off the five teams who were above us before the game yesterday and I think that tells you where we are.
The form has been a bit misleading in the past few months as we have been playing struggling sides and been able to pick up points. Prior to yesterday, we hadn`t played a side in any kind of decent form since Derby at the start of October and even they were struggling at the time.
With the squad we have, we are a mid-table side at best and unless McDermott is allowed to strengthen in January that is where we will finish.
I would have snatched their hands off if I were offered seventh going into 2014 when the season kicked off. The board have shown us so far that they want to move the club forward. January will show us just how serious they really are.
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Date:Monday December 30 2013
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