McDermott determined to reward 7,000 army

Leeds boss Brian McDermott

Leeds boss Brian McDermott

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LARGE away followings for Leeds United do not always equate to a happy ending.

Last season, for instance, the 6,100 United fans who travelled to Manchester City in the FA Cup could only watch helplessly as their side were thrashed 4-0.

In 2011-12, the 6,400-strong travelling army who headed to Coventry City witnessed a lame 2-1 defeat, while the previous season a 5-2 thrashing was the ‘reward’ for the 6,700 Leeds fans who made the short trip to Barnsley.

Going even further back in time, the West Yorkshire side crashed to a 3-0 defeat at Wigan Athletic when their biggest away following in years – around 8,000 – travelled to the JJB in 2005.

With those humblings in mind, the near 7,000 fans heading to Blackburn Rovers today could be forgiven for doing so in pessimistic mood.

Manager Brian McDermott, however, has no such qualms as he takes his in-form side to Ewood Park.

He said: “We have got a massive following. I was out with Eddie Gray the other night. I got in a taxi and the taxi driver said, ‘I can’t wait for Blackburn, I’m going to the game’. It seems like everyone is going to the game. It is really good.

“You never want to make comparisons with football clubs. It is wrong to do that. I am where I am and our support is terrific.

“What I like is that everyone’s looking forward to the games. When you travel, you want to win because the supporters then have a really good weekend.

“With the travel and the costs involved, you want to reward that.

“We want to go there and put on a performance. We went to Reading on a Wednesday night and got beat in the ‘97th’ minute.

“That hurt and it hurt the fans on the way home. That is a long journey when you have just been beaten in the ‘97th’ minute.

“The hurt we all go through is part of supporting a football club. But it makes winning a game even better. You learn from that and you try and improve.

“It is great for us going there with that support behind one goal. I know how they can be. It never stopped against Charlton.”

United head to Ewood Park 
sitting seventh in the table, a marked contrast to the 15th place they occupied as recently as the start of October.

Asked about what has changed, McDermott said: “I wasn’t down. Your philosophy can’t change. You’re trying to be the best you can be and we work hard to improve, win, lose or draw.

“Sometimes you have to suffer defeat and then you have to learn from it and then move on.

“The more you get right, the more the wins come. Middlesbrough was in the balance at 1-1 and it was a difficult game. Yeovil was also a difficult game.”

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