Warnock in rallying call at start of new era

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LEEDS UNITED may head into this afternoon’s home game with leaders Crystal Palace on the back of a seven-match winless streak in the Championship, but re-energised manager Neil Warnock insists it represents the perfect game for his side.

The former Eagles chief is challenging United, in 18th spot in the table, to build on the feel-good factor generated by Wednesday’s takeover announcement by sinking his old club, who are on a roll after winning their past five league matches and seven of their last nine.

Following on from Palace is another exacting home game with much-fancied Leicester City, unbeaten in their past five visits to Elland Road and seeking a fourth straight victory on Tuesday night.

But the demanding scenario is one which is right up Warnock’s street with the veteran adamant the two games are the ideal opportunity to begin a new chapter on the pitch as well as off it.

He said: “I am so pleased that it’s top of the league we are playing on Saturday.

“It is a new era and we’ve got to play like that. Play above ourselves because they are the best team in the league. That’s the short-term – trying to get something off the best team in the league.

“Then Leicester – two of the best teams in the league at the moment. It is appropriate, even with all our disappointments. It gives everyone an opportunity to get together and give it a go.”

Urging the United faithful to pump up the volume today, he added: “We have got to roll our sleeves up and we really need the crowd in the next two fixtures to also do their bit in particular because of the quality we are playing against.”

Alan Tate will make his debut for United after arriving on loan from Swansea City on Thursday, with fellow emergency loan deadline-day signing Jerome Thomas pushing for a start after joining from West Brom.

The two signings represent a timely boost for Warnock ahead of the arrival of Ian Holloway’s side.

Warnock admits he would be delighted if his former club maintained their momentum and returned to the Premier League and wishes them well – but only after 5pm today.

Warnock, who had to cope with considerable off-the-field problems during his time at Selhurst Park, added: “I would love to see them in the Premier League because of what we had to put up with. It was a horrendous time for the whole club and me as well.

“But I feel really proud of the job I did there, to stabilise the club in difficult circumstances. It enabled the club to go forward. To see them doing what they are doing now, I can’t tell you how pleased I am.”