BRIAN McDERMOTT insists he is not fooled by Bolton Wanderers’ poor start to the campaign.
Bolton, managed by former Leeds United striker Dougie Freedman, were tipped as one of the favourites to clinch promotion on the back of an express finish to last season which saw them narrowly miss out on the play-offs after losing just twice since early February.
But their start to the current campaign has been the polar opposite, with the Lancashire club propping up the table and without a victory in five league games, their last outing being a 4-1 derby hammering at Blackburn.
Leeds manager McDermott, whose side are unbeaten away this term, said: “I think Dougie will be absolutely fine.
“They’ve got a good squad and good individual players. Their home record was very good last season. They won’t have a problem this year.
“They played against QPR recently and they were unfortunate.
“We’ve got to be at our best to go there and get a result. The table at this stage isn’t particularly relevant.”
On United’s positive start to the season, with their last outing against Queens Park Rangers representing their only defeat this term, he added: “I’m a notoriously slow starter, and I’ve normally got two points at this stage of the season.
“Looking back at our game against QPR it’s a game where we should definitely have got a 0-0 draw. That’s something we need to learn from.”
McDermott, who has international trio Ross McCormack, Paul Green and Rodolph Austin all available for today’s encounter, confirmed that right-back Sam Byram is ‘close’ to a return, with the highly-rated teenager to play another 90 minutes for United’s development squad on Monday.
A familiar face is hoping to line up against Leeds today in the shape of former strike favourite Jermaine Beckford, with Trotters manager Freedman saying: “Jermaine is desperate to get out there and play against his old club despite being over in Jamaica this week.
“I’ve been receiving texts from him about that.”