Outcast Pugh offered Leeds lifeline

Danny Pugh
Danny Pugh
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BRIAN MCDERMOTT would have no qualms about bringing Danny Pugh in from the cold as Leeds United head to the capital tomorrow looking to arrest a run of four straight defeats on the road.

The Elland Road club have a dearth of options at left-back after Stephen Warnock limped out of last weekend’s win over Yeovil Town.

Adam Drury has also been struggling with injury, while Aidy White has moved out on loan to Sheffield United to leave McDermott with a selection headache ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Charlton Athletic.

Pugh’s last appearance for Leeds came almost exactly a year ago, as a late substitute in the November 6 defeat to Burnley at Turf Moor. He then spent the second half of last season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday, while this time around the closest he has come to playing was as an unnamed substitute against Birmingham City last month.

Despite that, United manager McDermott, who had to press Jason Pearce into action as a makeshift left wing back in the 2-0 win over Yeovil Town, will have no concerns over selecting Pugh.

He said: “It is a crazy thing to say that he has not been in my plans. I try not to look at people like that. You have to say that he has been a credit (to himself).

“Every day he comes in and he works really hard.

“He is completely professional, he does it right and any younger player watching him will do it right.

“But I have said it before, whatever happens, at the end of the month the boys get paid. It is a great way of earning a living. I know everyone wants to play but not everyone can. But you can be part of what we are trying to do.

“People talk a lot about team spirit but you can tell how good your team spirit is by your subs and the people in the stands. And how they celebrate goals, as in what it means to them.

“You try and bring that camaraderie together and he is going in the same direction as all of us.

“I speak to Danny regularly and it is a difficult conversation sometimes. But I have it anyway. I say to him, ‘You have to do what you are doing and keep on doing it’.

“If anyone came in for Danny Pugh I would have nothing but a glowing reference for him. I would say that is what you want from your manager.”

Sam Byram is also unlikely to feature tomorrow at Charlton Athletic, meaning McDermott may be tempted to ditch the wing-back system he has favoured for United’s last three games.

Whichever system he opts to go with, the Leeds chief – who has refused Sheffield United permission to play loanee White in tomorrow’s FA Cup first round tie at Colchester United – knows his side have to end a four-game losing run on the road.

He said: “I was frustrated by what happened (in Leeds’ last away game) at Huddersfield. We got it back to 2-2 but then let it slip again and lost 3-2.

“It is not about not wanting to go for the win. We always want to go for the win but it is about doing it in the right way.

“We didn’t need to go for the third goal as early as we did. All that did was see us get caught on the counter attack. That is not clever. We need to know what is required and that is what we have been trying to do.

“The only thing that mattered to me after Huddersfield was winning against Yeovil. The only thing that matter to me after Yeovil is winning against Charlton.

“We work hard with the players every week, very hard. We don’t just look at a game and say that’s done and dusted. We try to learn from it.

“Charlton are probably one of the form teams. Looking at their clean sheet record, and they’ve gone away from home twice and won. I’ve got a lot of time for Chris (Powell). He is regarded as a hero at Charlton for what he did as a player.”