BRIAN McDERMOTT says Leeds United are ‘smiles apart’ these days.
The Whites, on the cusp of the Championship play-offs, are scenting their sixth successive home league win this afternoon – something they haven’t achieved since May 2009 – and have already made big strides since the arrival of McDermott in the spring.
Then, United were in danger of being dragged into a relegation fight, only for McDermott to steady the ship.
Progress has continued this season under the command of the ex-Reading boss, who has also helped transform the mood at the club considerably since April.
Good news is also starting to come United’s way on a more regular basis, with in-form Ross McCormack picking up the player-of-the-month award for November following his predatory exploits for Leeds, who are seeking their second home win in four days.
On a sea-change in mood, McDermott said: “When I first came here, it was surprising. A lot of people were possibly flat – flat more than anything. That’s not the case now. I can’t wait to get to work in the morning. You’re working for Leeds United and you need to have that mindset. I have a good laugh at work.
“Sometimes people look at me and they think my demeanour is what it is, but I have major drive and I want to be successful. And I’ve got unfinished business as well. We want to take this place back to where we belong.”
Meanwhile, McDermott says he is confident United can keep their star players in January and in future transfer windows to come, something that supporters will also be grateful to hear.
He added: “Over the years, Leeds United have sold so many players – and I know all about that. It happened to me. We were successful but I was selling big, big players (at Reading) and it’s not necessarily easy to keep doing that.
“I know it’s happened to Leeds over a period of time and I know the supporters are nervous about that because they’re seen it happen over so many years.
“But with the people we’ve got in charge now – unless I’m proved wrong – I don’t think that will be the case, I really don’t. That’s my gut feeling.”