STUART DALLAS is most definitely not lacking on the motivational front this week.
The Leeds United winger felt the pain more than most in Sunday’s humiliating FA Cup exit at Sutton United, with the Northern Irishman being the only established senior outfield player to take the field at Gander Green Lane.
The result rankled with him for the first part of the week before a redemptive moment arrived at Ewood Park by way of Wednesday night’s 2-1 Championship win, thanks in part to a splendid strike from the former Brentford man.
Dallas is now eyeing more choice payback on Sunday against a Huddersfield Town side who took the derby bragging rights with more comfort than a narrow 1-0 scoreline suggested at Elland Road on September 10.
Leeds have travelled a long, long way since and Dallas admits that he and his team-mates are particularly motivated to display the extent of their improvement at the John Smith’s Stadium –to avenge the events of early autumn.
He said: “We know how big Sunday is and if that doesn’t give you a lift, nothing else will.
“It is not only a derby, but we are also in and around the same place in the league and Sunday is massive.
“We are full of confidence and the fans are and everything is pointing towards a great game.
“The home game wasn’t us at our best. If you are not at your best, you will be punished and they did that.
“It is something we have talked about and we want to get revenge on anyone who gets one over on us and Huddersfield is no different.
“We are full of confidence and ready for Sunday now.”
On United’s cathartic moment at Blackburn, which helped heal wounds from those desperate events at Sutton, Dallas added: “Sutton was embarrassing. There is nothing I can stand here and say that will make Sunday better. It should not have happened and was disappointing.
“It is easy to say we will forget about it; it was really disappointing, but we have to move on and we put it right (against Blackburn) and showed that we can do that when we have a disappointing result. We were able to bounce back and we will go again on Sunday.”
Personal kudos was afforded Dallas by way of his first league goal in nine months and given the deadline-day arrival of two wingers in Alfonso Pedraza and Modou Barrow, he acknowledges that it arrived at a timely juncture.
On his goal, he added: “It has been long overdue; too long if I am honest. I want to score as much as I can and I know this season has not been my best and I haven’t scored and assisted as much either.
“It has been frustrating for me and I am sure it has been for people watching too.
“But I am my own biggest critic and I will keep working hard doing what I have to do and hopefully it is enough to get me on the pitch and, if not, I will work even harder.
“I know myself that I haven’t been as good as what I can be and hopefully this goal will give me a bit of confidence to push onto the end of the season.”
Dallas is also adamant he will not be fazed by United’s bolstering of their wing options.
He said: “It brings the best out of players and I love a bit of competition.
“Maybe last year I didn’t have that in the squad and played the majority of the games and this year the gaffer has brought a very good squad together and everybody has to be at the top of their game.”