DAVE HOCKADAY insists his new-look Leeds United side will not be fazed by stepping into the Lions’ Den.
After a turbulent summer at Elland Road, the focus can return to football today when the Yorkshire club travel to Millwall
The atmosphere is likely to be as intimidating as United will face this season but Hockaday is adamant that his players will rise to the challenge.
Asked if he planned to outline to the new faces in the Leeds squad just how fiery a fixture at The Den can be, the 56-year-old head coach said: “Coming to Elland Road can be a baptism of fire as well, don’t forget that.
“We have to play Millwall at some time so bring it on. The crowd are partisan, brilliant to play for but intimidating to play against. It is only when you go there that you recognise the cauldron and the atmosphere. That is when you want your performers to perform.
“We need to turn that tide, go there and put on a good performance. Maybe turn the fans against their team, which we can do if we play the football I know we are capable of playing.
“The target is to keep a clean sheet and the target is to take all three points.
“Every game is a challenge in the Championship. I think people are trying to pick this out as some sort of strange event. Every game is a test and every game I will need 11 captains.
“It is about us. We can look at all the teams out there, all the stadiums out there but we have to deal with ourselves. I believe when we play to our potential, we will be a very hard team to beat.”
Marco Silvestri, Nicky Ajose and Souleymane Doukara are all in line to make their league debuts for United but Tommaso Bianchi is suspended after being sent off in his final outing with Modena in Italy’s Serie B.
Today’s trip to south London will mark Hockaday’s United bow in the club’s new role of head coach.
He added: “This is my 40th season in football as a professional in senior football and I am more excited about this than any other. I can’t wait to get started.”