Boss Hockaday praises the work of new Leeds owener Massimo Cellino

Massimo Cellino with Leeds fans at Guiseley

Dave Hockaday

First published in Leeds

Leeds head coach David Hockaday has jumped to the defence of club president Massimo Cellino ahead of his side’s opening game of the new Sky Bet Championship season at Millwall.

Cellino’s quirky leadership style has come under close scrutiny since he completed his takeover in April.

He has made wholesale changes and has delivered financial stability, but his unconventional methods, including superstitions about the colour purple and number 17 – both banned from Elland Road – remain central to the debate over whether he will be successful.

Hockaday, however, believes Cellino will bring the good times back to the club and insists he has enjoyed a healthy relationship with the colourful Italian since being installed in the role in June.

“It’s been great,” Hockaday told a press conference. “I know there will be a bit of conjecture, but we get on fine.

“The superstitions? I don’t wear number 17 on my back or purple!

“Again, there’s a lot of stuff going out there which I appreciate you media guys have got stories to write and papers to sell or whatever.

“But don’t read into it too much. Don’t believe everything that you read and hear on the grapevine.

“He’s great to work with because he’s so passionate about the football club.”

Cellino and director of football Nicola Salerno, not the head coach, identify all new signings, but Hockaday insists he has no problem with his limited role in player recruitment.

“If there’s somebody I don’t particularly like then I’ll voice my concerns and they’ll go and get the best one they can for Leeds United,” Hockaday said. “That makes sense to me.

“I think the media have had a bit of fun at Leeds’ expense over the last few weeks and now we’re at the business end, so let’s concentrate on our first match at Millwall.”

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