Beleaguered Leeds boss Brian McDermott admits Saturday’s West Yorkshire derby with Huddersfield has been sidelined by the club’s ongoing behind-the-scenes wrangling.
McDermott’s own position has come into focus after claims that Massimo Cellino, the owner of Cagliari who wants to buy Leeds, tried to get his own man in the dug-out on Tuesday night.
Former Middlesbrough defender Gianluca Festa watched training earlier in the week and asked to sit on the bench for the 1-1 draw against Ipswich – a request that was flatly refused.
McDermott insists he will not quit after less than a year in charge. But the off-pitch takeover issues are having a huge impact with Leeds now eight points off the play-offs.
McDermott said: “The players are with me and I’m with them. I’m not going to hide from our results. We know the results haven’t been good recently but things have to be right at your club.
“Everything’s got to be harmonised and we had that a month ago. At this moment, I can’t say we have. I’m strong and I’m resilient but the last few days have been a big test.”
Huddersfield have lost their last three and manager Mark Robins is still without injured top scorer James Vaughan among five first-teamers injured.
Robins said: “I am hoping to have some of the missing players available but they have to be right.
“I was satisfied with some aspects of the performance at Bournemouth (on Tuesday) but we have to be better at Leeds, whatever the side I put out.
“We’re creating the chances, but at the risk of sounding like a broken record, we have to start putting more of them away.”