NEW signing Alex McCarthy is relishing Leeds United’s testing schedule after answering Simon Grayson’s SOS to solve the club’s goalkeeping crisis.
With Andy Lonergan out injured and Paul Rachubka’s confidence shot to pieces, United faced the prospect of travelling to Leicester City tomorrow with just teenage rookie Alex Cairns available.
Grayson, however, moved quickly following Wednesday night’s 5-0 thrashing by Blackpool and England Under-21 international McCarthy signed yesterday morning on a month’s loan.
United’s new signing said: “The main thing in going to Leeds is I will have the chance to play games. I have been sitting on the bench behind Adam Federeci so this will be a very good thing for me.
“I have had a look at the fixtures while I am at Leeds. It is Leicester away on Sunday, which is a good game, and then there is Nottingham Forest away (on November 29) as well.
“It should be a good run of matches and I look forward to showing them what I am all about.”
McCarthy has made just one appearance for the Royals this season but the 21-year-old, who starred against Leeds last April as the Berkshire club claimed a goalless draw, is rated highly by manager Brian McDermott
He said: “Throughout the season, we have had a number of clubs interested in taking Alex on loan into League One, but those opportunities were not right because we feel Alex is right up there as one of the top young goalkeepers in the country.
“Leeds have come in, they asked to take Alex on loan and I feel I need to do the right thing by him. Playing four games in the Championship is in the best interests of the club and Alex, both in the short and long term.”
Yorkshire’s game of the weekend comes at Hull City today when the visit of West Ham United is certain to attract the KC Stadium’s biggest crowd of the season.
The game pits the sixth-placed Tigers against the side sitting in the second automatic promotion place and manager Nigel Pearson believes Sam Allardyce’s men are likely to prove to be his players’ stiffest test of the season.
He said: “They are up where they are on merit and they will be a strong force all season. It is a good challenge for us and the players are looking forward to it.
“They are in a good position and I am sure Sam is relatively satisfied with how things have gone so far.
“It really will be like any other game where we concentrate on ourselves and try and get the best performance that we can from ourselves. That’s the top and bottom of it.
“Physically it will be tough but in terms of their quality as well, Sam’s got a lot of options.
“You would have them down as one of the favourites (in the Championship) and I imagine he would expect the same himself. There is an awful long way to go yet but they are where most people would expect them to be.
“A win against a team like West Ham would help us, of course it would.
“We have had a good run that has put us into a competitive position.
“Losing the other night (at Barnsley) means everything tightened up again in the table and that is the nature of this league.
“Like I have said before, there isn’t any easy games and this represents another tough game. There will be more or less a full house, which will be great, and hopefully the atmosphere will be good. It will be a tough game but so what, they all are.”
As the Championship season prepares to move into the second third, City are well placed in the table and Pearson admits to being satisfied with his team’s lofty position.
He said: “After four games (when City had three points) you would have thought it would be a miracle to be where we are but this division ebbs and flows so much.
“It is difficult to be consistent. We were beaten the other night by Barnsley and we were very unlucky. But that is how it is and we have got to make sure we start picking up points again.
“Every game is tough. People expect you to win games and not others.
“The way we look at it is that we need to be at our best every time we play, regardless of whether it’s against the team at the top or the team at the bottom.”
Elsewhere, Huddersfield Town host Walsall knowing that a draw or win will mean the club equals Nottingham Forest’s 42-game unbeaten run, set almost 33 years ago.
The Terriers’ two Steel City rivals will be hoping to capitalise on any slip-up at the Galpharm Stadium as Wednesday host Brentford at Hillsborough and United travel south to Stevenage.