The Elland Road club will head to Wolverhampton Wanderers tomorrow sitting mid-table in the Championship after an inconsistent start to the campaign.
Five victories and six defeats from 13 league outings underlines just how up and down Leeds have been, with Tuesday night’s clash againstWigan Athletic ending in frustration thanks to a stoppage-time equaliser by Shaun MacDonald that denied Garry Monk’s side three points.
O’Kane, who joined Leeds from Bournemouth shortly before the transfer window closed, knows all about winning promotion to the Premier League after being part of the Cherries side that went up as champions in 2014-15.
“At Bournemouth, when we came into the Championship, we were a very young team,” said midfielder O’Kane, who spent four seasons at Dean Court.
“There were very few of us who had Championship experience. But, if you look at the results, especially early in that first season (2013-14 when Bournemouth finished 10th), there were times when we were clinging on or conceding goals to drop points or get beat.
“But, if you then go forward to the year when we were promoted, there were very few results where Bournemouth conceded late goals which cost them. It was 3-0, 4-0, 3-1 – and that’s the lesson learned.
“In that squad, we learned from the early mistakes. That was a big factor in us getting promoted. I don’t really see any huge difference from then to us here now. It takes time to get there. You don’t just click your fingers and things happen overnight. It is a long, winding road that, hopefully, we will go forward on quite quickly.”
Stuart Dallas, who netted in last season’s win at Molineux, is again missing with the thigh strain that the wideman sustained on international duty with Northern Ireland earlier this month.
The 25-year-old has been a big absentee, his two games on the sidelines having seen United lose 1-0 at Derby County and then be pegged back on Tuesday by the struggling Latics.
Liam Bridcutt is another who will be missing tomorrow, though Monk has revealed that the club captain could be back after next month’s international break.
In his absence, O’Kane is again likely to be partnered by Kalvin Phillips as Leeds look to capitalise on a poor run of form from Wolves that has seen Walter Zenga’s side lose three of their last four games.
“The mentality at Bournemouth was not to let people off the hook,” added O’Kane when asked about the frustration of letting United’s lead slip against Wigan.
“It was to go and score five or six goals.
“On Tuesday it wasn’t like we planned to do this but after we scored we took a backwards step rather than another step forward. If we learn and stop it happening again then it was worthwhile it happening.
“It is a lesson that needs to be learned quickly because, if you don’t, you can end up at the wrong end of the table off the back of things like that.”