BIGGER issues need resolving at Elland Road right now than the avenging of a heavy defeat from last season, even if it was a six-goal derby-day collapse.
But head coach Neil Redfearn admits, ahead of Leeds United’s first visit to Sheffield Wednesday since being thumped in such humiliating fashion, that his side cannot afford a repeat of the slow start that handed the initiative to their hosts on January 11, 2014.
“That was a really frustrating day,” said Redfearn, whose own future is one of the many uncertainties going into the summer.
“Everything went right for Wednesday and everything that could go wrong went wrong for us.
“We have been the right side of a local derby when we beat Huddersfield Town 5-1 last season. I was there with Nigel Gibbs in the dugout for that game (as Brian McDermott had been sacked, only to be reinstated three days later).
“If you aren’t quite right in a local derby, that can happen. You can get swamped by it. If one club’s side is not up for it or not ready then you can go under.
“We have got to make sure we are ready. We know the importance of it and I have stressed that this week. I have to say there is a determination there to get a result and there was a real determination there at Charlton on Saturday. You could see that.”
United have lost five in a row since the untimely – and, as yet, unexplained – removal of assistant manager Steve Thompson.
After today’s derby, the Hillsborough pitch will be ripped up and replaced and Redfearn admits that his side may have to adapt.
“We will look at the surface,” he said. “It isn’t great. We have got to think about that. It is a Yorkshire derby and we have got to think about that, too. But I have got to have a clear head about our game plan. I know their strengths and I know their weaknesses.”