WITH just one win in 10 games and their bogey side next up at Elland Road tomorrow, Leeds United could be forgiven for fearing the worst ahead of hosting Championship leaders Derby County.
Head coach Neil Redfearn, however, is in an upbeat mood and insists that results will soon start to reflect United’s improved performance levels.
“The players have been good, to be fair, and are starting to play well,” said the Leeds chief. “There is good belief.
“If we are talking about performances, then performances have got a lot better.
“The players realise that and they know that.
“The disappointment wouldn’t be so extreme if the performances hadn’t been good. If we hadn’t played well and got beat then fair enough.
“If you play well and don’t come away with anything then it’s disappointing. But if we can get the performances right then that has to be the level then we can start picking up results and climbing the table.
“I look at our recent games. We won 3-1 against Blackpool, we should have beaten Charlton (when Leeds drew 2-2) and the penalty decision at Blackburn (that condemned United to defeat) was hard to take.
“We are scoring goals, which is a good sign. But we are averaging conceding at least a goal a game and if we can cut that in then we can start expecting to pick up results.”
Redfearn was one of the busier managers on yesterday’s transfer deadline as the Leeds head coach gave the green light to three loan departures.
Scott Wootton went to Rotherham United and Noel Hunt to Ipswich Town, while Crewe Alexandra took Nicky Ajose to League One.
All three have struggled to make the match-day squad at Elland Road and Redfearn added: “They need to play games, regardless of whether we think they have a future here.
“At the moment, they are not playing football. From their end and the club’s end, it is important that they go out and get back in that first-team environment.”
United will be looking to make it ‘lucky 13’ at home to Derby tomorrow as they seek to end a 12-game winless run against the Rams.
The most recent meeting ended 1-1 on the final day of last season, but the 10 consecutive clashes before that all ended in Derby victories.
On the task of taking on the leaders, Redfearn said: “It is a great game because everyone will expect them to come and get a result, but I think we are in a position where we are an unknown quantity.
“We are playing well, the last three performances in general have been good. But we like to play at home and you can see us. We have had most of our better results at home.”
One United player hoping to make amends for a recent dip in performances is Marco Silvestri, but Redfearn is sticking firmly behind his goalkeeper.
“Marco is a top young ’keeper,” he said. “The average age of the side is 23 and we perhaps do need experienced guys to help these players.
“But Marco has been outstanding this season. I think back to the first game I had as caretaker when we played Bolton, he was absolutely unbelievable. He won us the game.
“At 1-0 they came on to us and if he hadn’t have played like he did then it would have been a different matter.
“You have got to give praise where praise is due. Every now and again people are going to make mistakes. The difference in professional football is that when you make mistakes you have got 20,000 who see it.
“We have got to give him that belief. He isn’t a problem. He is a confident boy anyway and, for me, he is playing well.
“Marco has trained this week. He wants to work and he is a top class young ’keeper.”