Leeds United manager Warnock wants to make daughter's dream come true (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Leeds United manager Neil Warnock wants to make daughter's dream come true
6:30am Tuesday 30th October 2012 in Sport
A pledge made to his daughter by Leeds manager Neil Warnock is powering the club’s progress through the Capital One Cup.
United secured arguably the result of the third round when they knocked out Everton, and another home draw is their reward, with Southampton heading to Elland Road tonight.
Should they be seen off, the Championship promotion hopefuls will be in the last eight and veteran boss Warnock will be a step closer to making the wish of daughter Amy come true.
She has told the 63-year-old she wants him to manage Leeds in the final at Wembley next year, something which were it to come true would be Warnock’s first appearance at the national stadium since it reopened in 2007.
In his role as a lower-league promotion specialist he was a regular visitor to the old Wembley for play-off finals but he has yet to man the touchlines at the new one and his time appears to be running out.
That is why, according to assistant boss Mick Jones, Warnock’s interest in the competition is higher than his coaching staff’s.
“I think it’s brilliant for the club and its profile,” said Jones. “The Everton game was tremendous and everybody loved that, but to be honest, my mind is 30 per cent on tonight and 70 per cent on Friday night against Brighton, because I know which is the most important.
“But Neil... Neil would love to manage at Wembley, love to. Top managers don’t set sights on preferences but if Leeds get to Wembley with Neil as manager, he would absolutely love it.”
As one of Warnock’s long-standing foot soldiers, Jones knows Warnock better than most too.
“It’s spoken about (making his daughter’s wish come true),” Jones added.
“Sometimes with Neil you can read between the lines, I can anyway, and I have no doubt what he wants tomorrow night.”
Leeds will run into a Southampton side who will no doubt be looking for some respite from what has been a tough initiation into the Premier League since being promoted in the summer.
Yesterday’s defeat to Tottenham left them in the relegation zone with just four points from a possible 27, and as a result some reports have suggested manager Nigel Adkins would do well to look over his shoulder.
Jones is all too aware of what life is like as a new club in the top division. He was Warnock’s assistant at QPR a year ago and lost his job in early January when it was deemed that being just above the drop zone was not acceptable.
As a result, he is not surprised to see Adkins being examined by the critics.
“I find it all strange,” he said. “Neil had nine or 10 points at this stage of the season and QPR have three. We were shocked to get the sack as we thought we were doing a smashing job. We won at Everton and Stoke, we beat Chelsea. It was the biggest shock of my life as I didn’t see it coming. I was amazed.
“So no it doesn’t surprise me (with Adkins). Every manager who goes up from the Championship will be under pressure after six matches, that’s natural.”
Leeds have their own problems to worry about, though. Their last two games, both at home, have been sub-standard, with Charlton taking a point and then Birmingham all three from a pair of fixtures United were widely expected to win.
Nine-goal striker Luciano Becchio has looked off-colour too and, with replacements thin on the ground and the protracted takeover of the club by GFH Capital still not completed, reinforcements do not appear to be on the horizon.
As a result, Jones and Warnock are hoping to get the players they have back in some sort of shape ahead of tomorrow.
“Saturday against Birmingham was frustrating for everyone involved with the club. It was the first time this season that we haven’t scored and I couldn’t see us scoring either,” Jones said.
“Luciano is having a hard time at the moment but we all know how genuine and hardworking he is. He’s in the leading scorers in the division and there’s not a lot wrong.
“Getting new players will come down to finance as every job does. You can buy the best centre forward in the country if you have the money, but it’s not feasible at the moment.”