SIMON GRAYSON insists Leeds United are ideally placed to push on in the promotion race.
The Elland Road club are sixth in the Championship despite having taken just one point from their last two games.
In contrast to this time last year when Leeds had just beaten leaders QPR to move up to second, there has been a distinct lack of Christmas cheer among many of the Elland Road faithful. Grayson, however, believes there are plenty of grounds for optimism ahead of today’s trip to Derby County, which will see the second tier season reach the halfway stage.
The 42-year-old, who celebrated the third anniversary of his taking charge of Leeds last Friday, said: “There is a bit of frustration out there at the minute but there are teams in a worse position than us who should be above us, based on many factors.
“I have heard some ridiculous things that people are talking about. But that is football and that is this day and age. You have to live with it and accept it. But we are in a good position.
“We would love to be playing free-flowing football and winning by three or four every week but it doesn’t happen. It is a difficult industry and a difficult division.
“There are a lot of positives. That is why I can look back at the last three years with a lot of pride.”
A big decision today will be whether Grayson sticks with Andy Lonergan after the club’s first-choice goalkeeper was critical of his own performance in the 1-0 defeat to Reading.
The United manager’s other option is to bring back Alex McCarthy, who under the terms of his loan deal could not play against his parent club.
He said: “I have more or less made up my mind. Whatever decision I make won’t be easy and it is a big one for me.
“Andy was very critical of himself after Reading and to be honest I thought he was a bit harsh.
“He kept us in the game with a fantastic save from (Jobi) McAnuff and much of what he did, he did very well.
“He is right to criticise himself because that is what players should do but sometimes you can be over-critical.”
As for today’s opponents Derby, who did the double over United last season, Grayson added: “We gave the game away down there last year and that started the run where we slipped out of the top six. They are a good team and it will be a fantastic atmosphere. They are a decent team, but they will know about us as well.”