BRIAN McDermott last night vowed to deliver for the Football League’s biggest away crowd of the season after struggling to distance himself from the intense interest in Leeds United’s game at Blackburn Rovers.
McDermott said he was anxious to avoid “hurting” a following of almost 7,000 at Ewood Park and revealed how talk of tomorrow’s Championship match in Lancashire had been following him all week.
Leeds are close to selling their allocation of 6,800 tickets and their supporters will fill the entirety of one end of Blackburn’s stadium, the biggest travelling attendance in the Football League this term and United’s largest since 9,000 turned out for an FA Cup tie at Arsenal in 2011.
The club are on a run of three straight wins and returned to the Championship’s top six last weekend for the first time since a 1-0 win at Bolton Wanderers on September 14 – a day when Leeds set the current highest mark for away crowds with an attendance of 4,800.
McDermott said: “I was out with Eddie Gray for a meal the other night. We got in a taxi and the first thing the taxi driver said was ‘I can’t wait for Blackburn, I’m going to the game.’
“It seems like everyone’s going to the game and we’ve got a massive following with us.
“What I like is that everyone’s really looking forward to the game. It’s great for us to be going there with so much support behind one goal because I know how they can be.
“You always want to do well for them but that’s especially true away from home because of the travel and the costs involved.
“We went to Reading on a Wednesday night and got beat in the 97th minute. That hurts and it hurts the fans on the way home. It’s a long journey back when you’ve just been beaten in the 97th minute.
“I suppose that’s part of supporting a football club, the hurt we all go through, and it makes winning games even better. But when you travel, you want to win.”
United last put four league victories together in 2009 and their recent form has revived a season which appeared to be flagging at the beginning of October.
McDermott is approaching the halfway point of his first full term as Leeds manager and said he was satisfied with the progress made so far having originally taken charge of a club in the thick of a relegation fight.
“I’m not sure you can say nothing’s been achieved here,” McDermott said. “I think there’s been a lot achieved.
“If you look at the training ground, the spirit here, the environment and the way things are improving, I’d say a lot’s been achieved. I’m proud of that. It’s all about the people here. People make the football club and the fans make the football club.”