A LONG and sometimes difficult season for Leeds United on home soil comes to an end today and Steve Evans is determined to send the supporters away on a high.
The Scot, who is hoping the visit of Charlton Athletic will not prove to be his Elland Road swansong as head coach, continues to eye a top-10 finish.
He is also determined to sign off the campaign with United’s biggest points tally since the club finished seventh in 2010-11.
With that in mind, Evans has challenged his in-form side –United have taken 10 points from their last four outings – to dispatch already-relegated Charlton to claim what would only be the club’s eighth home win of the season.
“This is an iconic football club,” said the Leeds head coach, who is still waiting to hear from owner Massimo Cellino as to whether his contract will be extended beyond the summer.
“These guys should be working so hard because the supporters are still paying their hard-earned money – whether it is August and everyone is excited or April when the season is ending.
“For the final home game of the season, it is vitally important we thank our fans for the past nine months.
“We are still striving for a top-10 place. But we only have a chance if we can deal with Charlton.
“Four points from six gives us the most points since the 2010-11 season. That is our objective.”
Evans’s case to be kept on by Leeds has been boosted by the decent run of recent results.
Whether this will have much sway on president Cellino, however, remains to be seen. It is only a couple of weeks since the Italian hinted at United bringing in a foreign coach once the campaign is over.
But there is a groundswell of opinion among supporters that Evans has done enough since succeeding Uwe Rosler to earn an extension to his current deal.
For his part, the Scot has made no secret of his desire to lead Leeds next season in what he believes – with the addition of the right signings – can be a concerted push for promotion.
For now, though, his focus remains on both today’s game with Charlton and the final day trip to Preston North End on May 7.
“The atmosphere in the camp has been very good,” said Evans, who welcomes back Alex Mowatt from suspension today.
“When there is real competition for places, it tends to be like that. We try to keep the camp on an even keel but people do smile more when you win.”