LEEDS UNITED goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell insists there is “loads more to come from me” after putting a difficult few weeks behind him by helping nudge the club back into the automatic promotion places.
The 22-year-old was the hero in Tuesday night’s victory over Reading after saving a last-minute penalty from Marc McNulty.
It was the perfect retort to not only the critics who had latched on to Peacock-Farrell’s below par display in the defeat at West Bromwich Albion earlier this month but also to Marcelo Bielsa’s revelation that he had considered dropping the Northern Ireland international.
“These last couple of weeks sum up football,” said the Academy product, who would have been replaced by Jamal Blackman if the Chelsea loanee had not suffered a broken leg.
“You get the ups and downs. The manager said what he said. It was really disappointing for ‘Blacks’, no-one wishes that on anyone.
“He was going to play and deserved to so to see him go out like that was a real shame. But, for me, there was no real option than to play well (against Reading).
“That is not from the outside noise or what the manager demands. Or the fans. But the demands I put on myself.
“I was not pleased with the goal at West Brom but if you look over the course of the season I have done well and the team has done well.”
Tuesday’s clean sheet was the seventh kept by Peacock-Farrell this season. United also shut out Bristol City in the weekend victory that saw youngster Will Huffer brought in for his debut after Peacock-Farrell had been ruled out through a knee injury.
What made his penalty save against Reading all the more impressive was that it came amid the goalkeeper playing through the pain barrier. “I went away and played international football but then came back and tore a muscle in my knee,” he explained.
There was no real option than to play well (against Reading). That is not from the outside noise or what the manager demands. Or the fans. But the demands I put on myself.Leeds United goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell
“It is still torn. There are a couple of other bits and bobs rattling round in there. But I was good enough to play.
“Saturday was too much of a push, too much of a risk in terms of me possibly being out longer.
“But the knee was good enough against Reading and is fine for the weekend, too.
“It will take three to four weeks to properly heal. But most of the fluid is back and I have most of my range back. I felt pretty stable.”
Peacock-Farrell’s penalty save ensured Leeds capitalised on rivals Norwich City and Middlesbrough dropping points with draws on the road at Hull City and Preston North End, respectively.
With Sheffield United also triumphing on Tuesday night, it sets up nicely the weekend derby between the two Yorkshire clubs at Bramall Lane.
“It is so tight at the top,” added Peacock-Farrell. “Back-to-back home games meant we had to get those six points.
“These little key moments add up over the course of a season and it puts pressure on others.
“Now it is a Yorkshire derby coming up, a big one in the calendar. We go into the game with a positive mind.”
As for his first penalty save for Leeds, he added: “We have a bit of analysis where we look at who takes what and who puts it where.
“But then you have to also assess the situation, what his body shape is like. All sorts of things.
“I made my mind up and guessed right. I got across quickly. The main thing was saving the penalty and getting the three points.
“It was a night when we had to be patient. Reading made it really difficult for us. At half-time, the manager was looking for some more movement. Switching the play more when teams like that come and drop back, trying to grind it out.
“We have to get them moving. Not necessarily over the top or through the lines but side to side. Get players coming out of their positions and making wrong decisions. That is when we strike.
“We all felt it would be one of those games where the first goal would open things up. It did that and we could have had a couple more to make things a lot easier. But we got the three points, that is all that matters.”
Peacock-Farrell’s late heroics should give him a timely lift ahead of a hectic December featuring six games.
Another good showing at Bramall Lane would be a major fillip for not only Leeds but also a goalkeeper who had just 12 senior league appearances to his name before this season.
“I am 22 and still learning,” he added. “That is always the case with the goalkeeper. But I don’t like the tag of being a young keeper.
“Regardless of position, if you are good enough then you are old enough. Sometimes, you make mistakes – simple as that.
“It is not down to age or anything like that. It is just that you do something wrong. We are not robots.
“There is loads more to come from me and, hopefully, we can continue to build and have a positive season.”