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Marching up together?


FCHALIFAX11

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Right Everyone, this is my first ever attempt at a story so could well be a disaster so be easy on me! Long time reader of plenty of the great stories on here and fancied a go myself, will be played on FM13 with English Leagues loaded down to County Level, Italian down to Serie B and Spanish to the Liga Adelante, any advice and feedback appreciated, here we go!

17.08.2012

So here I was at Elland Road sat in one of the executive lounges hoping to soon be finalising my contract to become the reserve team manager, it was ten past eleven in the morning, I was meant to be meeting with the Chairman at eleven to sign the deal, this didn't surprise me, I had been warned that things will only happen when Ken Bates was ready for them to happen, from what I've heard of him he is probably looking for the best way possible to get me to sign the contract without me noticing loopholes reducing the terms we had previously agreed. I was just contemplating having a slice of the Chocolate Cake left out on the table in the lounge when I heard raised voices from the corridor outside. Raised but also distinctly recognisable.

"It just isn't happening accept it!"

"Are you seriously telling me your going to let this deal fall through over a five hundred goal bonus?! This lad could be the differance between going up and staying down, that'd be worth a damn site more than five hundred pound per goal"

"I don't care, I've given you your budget, stick with it or bugger off will ya"

"You know what? You can stick your job you selfish old goat I'm resigning"

As strange as it was to be privy to such a conversation what I'd just heard didn't surprise me. Ken Bates and Neil Warnock working at the same club was like putting two bulls ten yards apart and putting a red flag in between them. I then remembered why I was here and thought it safe to assume that right at this very moment Bates wouldn't give a damn about who was going to manage the reserve side given what had just occured, in a way I was right.

Just as I was thinking maybe I should leave the lounge door swung open and there stood Ken Bates

"Forget the reserves lad, your going to be the main man instead."

I was sure I'd imagined what he'd just said "what did you just say?!"

Bates chuckled to himself "You heard, and I presume after what else you've heard today you won't be daft enough to be coming to me for more money."

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Before I knew it I had my feet under the desk in the manager's office at Leeds United's Thorp Arch training ground, it had certainly been a wirlwind morning and I had to pinch myself as I looked down at a squad list of the players now and my disposal and compiled some notes with my thoughts on each individual player and what I knew about them and where I saw them in my initial plans.

Goalkeepers

Paddy Kenny- A Goalkeeper with a hell of a lot of experience at Championship level and will without doubt be my number one

Jamie Ashdown- A very good option to have as second choice at this level, would have no hesitation putting him in if we were to lose Kenny for a substantial amount of time

Paul Rachubka- To be blatantly honest, not the best, would do a job as cover but I'll be open to offers

Defenders

Lee Peltier- Good solid right back who can also play in the centre of defence and midfield, he certainly plays a big part in my plans

Paul Connolly- I know he hasn't been particularly popular with the Leeds fans in his time at Elland Road, Warnock had him on the transfer list but I know he is a good player from his time at Derby so I'm going to give him a chance to compete with Peltier for the right back spot

Sam Byram- Another right back who can also play on the wing, young player with great potential I expect to make his breakthrough this year

Tom Lees- Young Centre back who can also play at right back, I expect Tom to be a key player for me from the off and will hopefully play a big part in the club's future

Jason Pearce- A centre back signed from Portsmouth in the summer who can also cover left back, old fashioned centre half and leader who I expect to be a very useful player for me

Patrick Kisnorbo- Well the Aussie centre back has had a torrid time with injuries in recent years, but if we can keep him fit I expect him to be a useful player to have around

Leigh Bromby- A decent Championship player who can play right back or centre back, unfortunately he has an injury that will see him miss the upcoming season and with his contract set to expire next summer it is doubtful whether I will ever get to use him.

Aidan White- A good left back produced by the clubs youth academy who can also play left wing, expect him to be my first choice left back

Adam Drury- An experienced Championship left back who I expect to provide good competition for White

Midfielders

El Hadji Diouf- One of football's more controversial figures, I hope he can keep the headlines to be regarding his footballing abilities in which case he will certainly be an asset for us, can play on either wing or upfront

David Norris- Always been a good Championship player for Plymouth, Ipswich and Portsmouth, lots of energy and can add goals from midfield, he is a player I look forward to working with

Michael Brown- When he played for Sheffield United he was some what of a creative avenue for them and once got 23 goals in a season from midfield for them, since then at various different clubs he seems to have become a more defensive player, I like his combative style but also hope to unleash his attacking qualities again

Rodolph Austin - Not a player I know very much about, but from what I've seen a midfield player good on the ball who can also put himself about

Danny Pugh - Versatile player who can play left wing, centre midfield or left back, will be a useful player for me this season

Zac Thompson- Young centre midfield player who can also play right back, another I expect to break through as the season goes on

Ramon Nunez- a player with lots of ability albeit not yet ever fulfilled, I like him although I think his inability to play in a conventional role in my favoured 4-4-2 formation may prove to be a hinderance to his prospects

Paul Green- Good solid championship player, centre midfield who can also play right back (we seem to have a lot of them!) and right midfield, I think he will prove to be a useful squad player

Attackers

Luke Varney- A good player who has never consistantly lived up to his potential, can play on the left wing or upfront

Andy Gray- Not the sort of signing I'd have expected Leeds to have made this summer, but now he is here I am happy to utilise him and I think he'll be good cover for my first choice strikers

Ross McCormack- A striker who when on top form can be devastating at this level, I hope I can get him playing to his full ability

Luciano Becchio- A player I am very pleased to be working with, good goalscorer as well as having an excellent work rate

Davide Somma- He is coming back from an awful long time out injured, but if he is as good as he was before the injury he'll certainly by a useful member of my squad

Having spoken to the Chairman about our aims for the season it has been decided I will have 200k to spend on transfers with the aim of getting a top half finish, I feel my squad is more than capable of that however would like to bring in another striker and some more cover for centre back to further boost our roster.

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18.07.12

My second day in the job saw a bit of upheaval within the club after our Director of Football Gwyn Williams was poached by Premier League Norwich City.

In more immediately concerning news for me Luciano Becchio tore his groin muscle in training which could rule him out for up to three months, this only intensifies my search for a new striker.

19.07.12

The draw for the first round of the Capital One Cup took place today and we were drawn away to League 2 side Chesterfield at the B2Net Stadium.

21.07.12

The Club moved swiftly to replace Gwyn Williams as Director of Football with Steve Perryman of Exeter City coming in to replace him after talks with former Leeds player Eric Cantona broke down over wage issues.

We also had our first friendly today away at East Stirlingshire, we won 3-0 with Tom Lees, Andy Gray and Ross McCormack getting the goals in a positive start to my reign as manager.

22.07.12

Good news today as I have managed to secure the two signings I decided I wanted having had a look at my squad upon taking over, we brought in Cameron Jerome on a season long loan deal from Stoke City and Jody Craddock also joined on a free transfer from Wolves signing a one year contract with a further year to be added on if he takes part in twenty league games in the upcoming season.

24.07.12

We continued our tour of Scotland with a game at St Mirren today, unfortunately we lost 1-0 and I can't pretend I wasn't disappointed by this but it is still early days and plenty of time to work on our game before the season starts

28.07.12

Our next friendly saw us take on Ross County, the game finished 0-0 and all I can say is that it was dire

31.07.12

We end the month with a double dose of good news as Davide Somma (fourteen months, damaged knee cartilage) and Patrick Kisnorbo (seven months, strained knee ligaments) both return to full training following lengthy lay offs

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01.08.12

Our Pre-season schedule continued with a visit to Dundee, we won 1-0 through a goal from Jason Pearce and but for sloppy finishing it could've been a cricket score, much better than our last two outings.

04.08.12

Back to England for our next outing and we welcomed Bundesliga side Schalke 04 to Elland Road, we lost 3-1 to a side containing the likes of Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Lewis Holtby and Jefferson Farfan which wasn't entirely surprising but I felt that we gave a good account of ourselves, youngster Dominic Poleon got our goal.

07.08.12

Our early season preperations suffered a blow as Jason Pearce was ruled out for up to four weeks with a damaged foot picked up in training, at least we have Craddock in now otherwise we'd have been in trouble.

It was also time for me to name my Captain for the season, I selected Michael Brown with Patrick Kisnorbo to be his deputy.

10.08.12

Today was a day of departures at Elland Road, Young Left back Charlie Taylor and midfielder Joe McCann signed season long loan deals at Blue Square Premier sides Grimsby and Barrow respectively whilst Ramon Nunez was sold to Blackburn Rovers for a fee of 180k, as I touched upon earlier he is a player I like but I can't see him fitting in with my system.

11.08.12

I don't know who the hell authorised this game for two reasons, one being we'd only left Scotland ten days ago and the other being we had our Capital One Cup game in two days time but for our final pre-season friendly we travelled to Falkirk and left with a 2-1 defeat, Norris getting on the scoresheet for us.

12.08.12

We tie youngster Dominic Poleon down to a contract which expires in 2015, he is a player rated very highly by all at the club but I don't feel he is ready to make the first team yet so on the same day as signing his new contract he has joined Wycombe Wanderers on loan for the season

13.08.12

Chesterfield V Leeds United Capital One Cup Round One

Well here it was, my first competitive game in Football Management, I was excited but at the same time knew it was a game I had to win to avoid being the victim of a scalp on my debut, baring this in mind I fielded a strong side.

--------------Kenny------------

Peltier--Lees--Craddock-White

Diouf---Austin---Brown---Pugh

-----Jerome--McCormack----

subs

Ashdown

Kisnorbo

Drury

Norris

Varney

Gray

Somma

We dominated from the off and the main story of the first half was an individual battle between Ross McCormack and Chesterfield keeper Tommy Lee which resulted in Lee making several saves from the Scottish forward, Cameron Jerome also put a one on one wide whilst Danny Pugh struck the post with a long range effort on the stroke of half time, defensively we were completely untroubled. As we entered the dressing room for the interval I told my side not to worry and if they kept on going as they were there was simply no way that Chesterfield would be able to hold out. This proved to be prophetic as just four minutes into the second period we took the lead, Diouf received the ball out wide and jinked past his man before whipping the ball in, Chesterfield defender Neal Trotman could only half clear to Jerome at the edge of the penalty area who smashed the ball into the net and we had a deserved lead. We continued to push on with the remaining chances of note falling to Ross McCormack in the 58th minute who hit the woodwork having got on to the end of a superbly excecuted through ball from Michael Brown and then substitute Luke Varney who fired wide after a lay off from Jerome.

We were far more comfortable than the scoreline suggested and I was disappointed not to have scored more goals but a win is a win and Chesterfield didn't get near scoring all game.

full time

Chesterfield 0

Leeds United 1 - Jerome 49

The bad news from the game being Ross McCormack picking up a gashed leg which would rule him out for 2-3 weeks.

14.08.12

The draw for the second round of the Capital One Cup took place today and we were rewarded for our victory over Chesterfield with a home tie with Queens Park Rangers.

In other news young keeper Alex Cairns has joined Rotherham United on loan for the season.

17.08.12

I have decided to loan Zac Thompson to Bristol Rovers for the next 5 months, I didn't initially intend to loan him out as he could feature for us this season but this is a good oppurtunity for him to get valuable playing time and I have ensured that we have the option to recall him if need be.

18.08.12

Leeds United V Huddersfield Town Npower Championship Matchday One

Well talk about a baptism of fire, My first ever Championship fixture in a West Yorkshire Derby against a former Leeds United manager in Simon Grayson, I bring in Patrick Kisnorbo for Jody Craddock despite the latters Man of the Match performance against Chesterfield and replace the injured McCormack with David Norris with Diouf moving up front, Davide Somma is also fit enough to make the bench

--------------Kenny------------

Peltier--Lees--Kisnorbo-White

Norris---Austin---Brown---Pugh

---------Jerome--Diouf------------

subs

Ashdown

Craddock

Drury

Green

Varney

Gray

Somma

The game got off to a really scrappy start with both sides struggling to retain possession and the first opening occurred in the 19th minute when Huddersfield midfielder Oliver Norwood sliced through our defence with a through ball for Lee Novak to get on to the end of and slip the ball underneath the oncoming Paddy Kenny to give Huddersfield the lead, not the ideal start from our point of view. The game then went back to how it was shaping up before the goal and remained that way until the 44th minute when Diouf receives the ball from Brown with his back to goal and slips in Cameron Jerome who slots it past Alex Smithies to send us in level at the break. The second half produced a lot more quality with both teams creating more opening the first of which was a half chance which Norwood put over in the 51st minute, ten minutes it was our turn, Jerome forced a good save from Smithies and the re-bound fell to Danny Pugh facing an all but open goal which he somehow managed to put wide, I was fuming. We wouldn't have to wait long for our goal though, with fifteen minutes left on the clock Lee Peltier knocked a long ball down the line which Jerome flicked on and then showed a great turn of pace to run on to it and then knock it past full back Paul Dixon and get his cross in, the cross was quite frankly awful, I turned round to express my digust to my Assistant Mick Jones and turned back round just in time to see the ball float over Smithies and into the back of the net, we'll take them no matter how they come! However our lead wasn't to last as just a few minutes later Huddersfield winger Danny Ward received the ball out wide and fired it low across the box for Novak to tap home, the game then petered out till the 92nd minute when Tom Lees dallied on the ball and gifted possession to Calum Woods who raced on to go one on one with Kenny and fortunately put it wide of the far post, I'd have murdered Lees had it gone in.

Overall I felt a draw was a fair result in what was a typical derby game.

Leeds United 2 - Jerome 45,76

Huddersfield Town 2 - Novak 20,83

21.08.12

Birmingham City v Leeds United Npower Championship Matchday Two

Once you get going the games come at you thick and fast, I named an unchanged team from the Huddersfield game.

-------------Kenny------------

Peltier--Lees--Kisnorbo-White

Norris---Austin---Brown---Pugh

---------Jerome--Diouf------------

subs

Ashdown

Craddock

Drury

Green

Varney

Gray

Somma

A similar tale to the Huddersfield game in that first chance for the opposition resulted in the first goal, this time in the 14th minute after Darren Ambrose cut through our defence with a great through ball which I felt maybe Tom Lees could've been a bit more alert too, Marlon King was certainly alert to it and finished with aplomb, ten minutes later things only got worse, we struggled to deal with a corner and after a bit of a scramble Peter Lovenkrands managed to find the back of the net, a real scrappy goal to concede, I wasn't best pleased. Although it could be said I was relatively delighted compared to how I would feel 14 minutes later when King broke through the defence and played the ball across the box for Gomis to tap home and make it 3-0, what the hell were we playing at?! Conceding a third goal however seemed to make my side realise it might be a good idea to show up for the game afterall and we pulled one back almost immediately, Austin drilling a ball through to Jerome who cooly finished past Colin Doyle to score against his former club and he almost made it two in quick succession but this time Doyle came up trumps, I read the riot act at half time but told them the last few minutes were a vast improvement and to build on that, we showed signs of doing so early on in the second half when Jerome got through again but this time put the ball over when he should've at least worked the keeper and after that Birmingham were quite content to see the game out.

We were shocking today, what made it worse was that Birmingham were themselves distinctly average but we gift wrapped the three points to them.

Birmingham City 3 - King 14, Lovenkrands 24, Gomis 38

Leeds United 1- Jerome 40

25.08.12

Leeds United v Hull City Npower Championship Matchday Three

Today we welcomed Steve Bruce's Hull City to Elland Road and I felt that I could really do with a win to get us up and running for the season, I felt Diouf would be better utilised on the right wing so put him back there and brought Somma in for Norris as well as replacing Pugh with Luke Varney.

-------------Kenny------------

Peltier--Lees--Kisnorbo-White

Diouf---Austin---Brown---Varney

---------Jerome--Somma-----------

subs

Ashdown

Craddock

Drury

Green

Norris

Pugh

Gray

The first real opening of the game came when Austin robbed Faye and passed to Somma who attempted a curling effort which was accurate but too tame to really trouble Ben Amos in the Tiger's goal but shortly after in the 21st minute Michael Brown showed excellent tenacity to win a midfield battle prior to playing in Jerome who gives Amos no chance, 1-0 Leeds. Our fans had barely finished celebrating that goal when we made it two, Amos was slow to deal with Chester’s back pass and hit it straight at Somma who reacted to tap it in the empty net, great start for us. The rest of the half was played out with us creating a couple of half chances but nothing major of note and we were comfortable. Not much happened until the 79th minute to be honest, Hull won a free kick about 25 yards out from a narrow angle, Andy Dawson whipped it into the 6 yard box and it looked like Paddy Kenny had it covered until a slight nick of Aidan White saw the ball land in the net and Hull back within a shout, or so they thought. Immediately from kick off we went forward and Andy Gray was fouled 25 yards out by James Chester who received his marching orders for a second bookable offence, from the free kick Brown curled the ball into the top corner and our win was secure again.

A good win for us and what we needed, was a little disappointed to concede as Hull proved to be really no threat but another plus was I learnt that some of my players other than Jerome knew where the net is.

Leeds United 3 - Jerome 21, Somma 22, Brown 80

Hull City 1 - Dawson 79

26.08.12

Good news as Jason Pearce resumes full training following his injury.

27.08.12

The news of Pearce's return meant that we allowed young central defender Monty Gimpel to join Rochdale on loan for 5 months.

28.08.12

Leeds United v Queens Park Rangers Capital One Cup Round Two

Premier League Opposition at Elland Road today and they've brought a strong side including the likes of Julio Cesar, Esteban Granero, Park Ji Sung and Djibril Cisse, I stick with the same side that beat Hull but decide to adopt a more counter attacking approach as opposed to my usual controlling methods.

-------------Kenny------------

Peltier--Lees--Kisnorbo-White

Diouf---Austin---Brown---Varney

---------Jerome--Somma-----------

subs

Ashdown

Craddock

Drury

Green

Norris

Pugh

Gray

I was pleased with our start as we looked relatively comfortable keeping QPR at bay and it was us who the first opening of the game went to with Jerome playing in his striker partner Somma with a clever pass, Somma takes a touch and hits a rasping shot goalwards which is tipped over by Julio Cesar, from the resulting corner Diouf's cross picks out Patrick Kisnorbo who heads over, should've done better. Shortly after Granero plays in Cisse deep into our penalty area, the frenchman slices the ball high and wide, I had been resigned to going behind when he got the ball. Unfortunately Cisse found himself in a similar position not so long after again from a ball from Granero and he made no mistake this time blasting the ball into the roof of the net, we had the one remaining chance of the half but Somma could only find the side netting having run in behind the defence. I was fairly content with the first half, we were certainly still with a decent chance of getting a result and the chances of that increased in the opening minutes of the second half when Granero was red carded for a malicious challenge on Austin, however what happened shortly after had to be seen to be believed, in stopping the ball from getting to David Hoilett Diouf attempted to turn an interception into a 35 yard back pass which turned out to be very much overhit and all Kenny could do in attempting to stop it was to head it into his own net, Paddy wasn't best pleased and neither was I and the game finished 2-0

I felt we gave a good account of ourselves but the second goal killed us really, shame it came in such daft circumstances.

Leeds United 0

QPR 2 - Cisse 37, Kenny og 58

29.08.12

Good news for us as Ross McCormack resumes full training.

31.08.12

The transfer deadline passed without much activity at the club, with no incomings and the only departure being young midfielder Sanchez Payne on loan to Mansfield for 5 months, I didn’t even attempt to sign anyone on deadline day as I felt my squad was as strong as it was going to get at this moment in time, plus I didn't dare ask Bates for anymore money.

Tom Lees named young player of the month in the Championship, I've given him a bit of stick for the error that nearly cost us a point against Huddersfield and the defensive shambles at Birmingham but he is a top young player with a bright future in the game.

Table Snapshot and Points after 3 games

9. Bristol City 5

10.Crystal Palace 5

11. Bolton Wanderers 4

12. Leeds United 4

13. Barnsley 4

14. Brighton and Hove Albion 4

15. Burnley 3

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A good start here. One thing I would suggest after your last post is to maybe do one match or one week per post so it breaks the story up a bit. Your writing style is very similar to mark wilson27's so have a look at his stories to see how he does it. Other than that very good. Keep up the good work.

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01.09.12

Leeds United v Barnsley Npower Championship Matchday Four

Back to League action and a Yorkshire derby with Barnsley, I stuck with the same team that played QPR.

-------------Kenny------------

Peltier--Lees--Pearce-----White

Diouf---Austin---Brown---Varney

---------Jerome--Somma-----------

subs

Ashdown

Kisnorbo

Drury

Norris

Pugh

McCormack

Gray

We dominated the early stages but our possession and early threat was to prove fruitless as Barnsley took the lead in the 11th minute, Craig Davies hitting home after Barnsley catch us on the break, this really seemed to rattle us and we just couldn't get any sort of hold on the match at all as the first half progressed and Barnsley almost made it 2-0 on the stroke of half time as Steve Foster left the crossbar shaking from a free kick, we hadn't been good enough by a long way so I gave the lads a bit of a rollicking during the break. Early in the second half we showed promising signs as Jerome fired over after good play from El Hadji Diouf opened up the Barnsley defence, had my telling off had the desired effect? Turns out not really as we went back into our shell after that and Barnsley looked to play the game out however in the 90th minute David Norris got on the ball and tried to pick out Cameron Jerome, Rob Edwards managed to intercept the pass but made a mess out of getting the ball out of his feet and gifted possession to Jerome who did what he does best it made it 1-1.

Overall a poor result and performance but you can't help but be a little pleased with a last minute equaliser which at least meant our players didn't depart for the international break on a low note

full time

Leeds United 1 - Jerome 90

Barnsley 1 - Davies 11

12.09.12

I was sat in my office today analysing the Barnsley game and how they managed to nulify our threat for the majority of the game when there was a tap on the door and in walked Paul Connolly.

"Paul, what can I do for you?"

"Look boss," mumbled the right back "I'm going to get straight to the point, I need to start playing football."

"Paul I understand your frustrations and am glad to hear you aren't just happy to be picking up a wage but the seasons barely got going and Pelts has been top class so far, just bide your time for your chance and when it comes take it, if things don't change by the end of the season I'll let you go."

"Cut the bull will you?!" I seemed to have riled him when my intentions were anything but. " I should be playing and you know it."

"I am the manager and I decide who should be playing, and at the moment your not and you need to just be patient, your still an important part of the squad." I replied trying to both assert my authority and defuse the situation at the time.

"I've had enough of this I'm sticking in a transfer request."

"Fair enough, get your agent to find you a move as quickly as possible then please"

I would've been happy for Connolly to stay had this not occurred, he isn't brilliant but he'll do a job if need be but I wasn't having him coming into my office shouting the odds, I resolved to try get him off the books as soon as possible, I'd let him go on a free if need be but I'll keep that to myself as I try to get a bit of money for him.

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14.09.12

Good news today as Luciano Becchio returns to training sooner than expected, the trip to Watford will come to soon for him however.

15.09.12

Watford V Leeds United Npower Championship Matchday Five

Back to business after a couple of quiet weeks on the training ground during the international break, I decided to bring in Ross McCormack for Davide Somma.

-------------Kenny------------

Peltier--Lees--Pearce-----White

Diouf---Austin---Brown---Varney

---------Jerome--McCormack-----------

subs

Ashdown

Kisnorbo

Drury

Norris

Pugh

Somma

Gray

Well it took just 28 seconds for our first scare of this game, Alex Geijo breaking through and forcing Kenny into producing a wonderful fingertip save, hopefully the rest of the lads have realised the game has kicked off now. Well Luke Varney certainly had eight minutes in, picking the ball up on the edge of his own box he dribbled the whole length of the pitch and found himself on the left hand side of the Watford penalty area and fired the ball in low across the box, Jerome looked set to tap home but was thwarted by a goalline clearance, Varney's moment of magic seemed to have provided us with the impotus to push on and Ross McCormack was looking a threat as he tested Manuel Almunia with a fizzing shot and also had a goal ruled out for offside after being set up by Jerome, the goal came for us in the 39th minute, McCormack slipped a nice ball out wide to Luke Varney who took a touch and floated the ball onto the head of Jerome who finishes the job nicely, those three were linking up very nicely today. The second half we were always in control but the Watford defence looked to have tightened up in the interview but we finally got the goal to make us comfortable in the 81st minute, Varney slipped in substitute Somma who took a touch to beat his man and lashed the ball past Almunia into the top corner of the net, Pugh broke through a few minutes later and could've done better but at the end of the day we got the three points we were looking for with a decent performance to boot.

Good performance, good win.

Watford 0

Leeds United 2- Jerome 39, Somma 81

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18.09.12

Millwall V Leeds United Npower Championship Matchday Six

Another away game that promised to be a tricky test just a few days after our win at Watford, I stuck with the side the beat the Hornets but could also call on Becchio as a substitute.

-------------Kenny------------

Peltier--Lees--Pearce-----White

Diouf---Austin---Brown---Varney

------Jerome--McCormack-------

subs

Ashdown

Kisnorbo

Drury

Norris

Pugh

Somma

Becchio

Well our game plan suffered an early blow when Ross McCormack pulled up injured in the first minute, i didn't think Becchio was ready to play such a long part in the game so I brought on Davide Somma who scored and played well against Watford and it was Somma who created our first real opening just after the half hour mark however the South African striker's shot was comfortably saved by veteran Maik Taylor, we continued to push on and going into the 40th minute we got our rewards, Diouf picked up the ball on the right hand side and curled the ball to the back post for Luke Varney to head home his first goal for the club to put us in front, a great time to score hopefully ruining Kenny Jackett's plans just before the break. The second half was fairly uneventful, early on James Henry's corner was headed towards goal by Trotter and looked asif it was heading in only for Kenny to produce a brilliant save and Taylor tipped a Diouf header over the bar from a Michael Brown free kick but nothing else really happened and the game finished 1-0.

Not the most exciting but another solid away win.

Full Time

Millwall 0

Leeds United 1 - Varney 40

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22.09.12

Our preperations for the upcoming match with Blackburn were dealt a blow with Davide Somma ruled out for up to five weeks with broken ribs after a collision with Diouf in training.

24.09.12

Leeds United V Blackburn Rovers Npower Championship Matchday Seven

A tough game against a side who will expect to be up there come the end of the season with Alan Shearer at the helm and having got off to a good start, we are in good form though and I stuck with the same side once again.

-------------Kenny------------

Peltier--Lees--Pearce-----White

Diouf---Austin---Brown---Varney

-------Jerome--McCormack------

subs

Ashdown

Kisnorbo

Drury

Norris

Pugh

Gray

Becchio

We got off to a bright start and were controlling the possession without really creating anything however that all changed in the 14th minute when Michael Brown showed the less pleasant side of his game and received his marching orders for a two footed tackle on Dickson Etuhu, I decided we needed to keep our shape in midfield so brought McCormack off for David Norris and reverted to a 4-4-1 formation however I was powerless to stop the one man advantage passing the momentum on to Blackburn who took the lead in the 22nd minute after Rhodes picked out Jason Lowe who made a burst forward from deep and scored his first goal for Blackburn with the composure of someone who did it every week, we straight away set about getting an equaliser and 6 minutes later Diouf's outswinging free kick was headed onto the woodwork by Varney and we couldn't capitilise on our moments of pressure and were punished when Dann robbed Jerome on the half way line and played the ball over the top of our defence for Jordan Rhodes to shoot past Kenny and make it 2-0 and to add insult to injury or should that be injury to insult Jerome was injured in that challenge with Dann and had to make way for Becchio. At half time I decided we needed to go more attacking if we were going to get anything from the game, I brought Danny Pugh on for Diouf in order to go with three in midfield and pushed Varney up top with Becchio however it did not have the desired effect and Blackburn were the only team that looked like scoring in the second period and they did just that when Kenny dropped the ball in his own net with a major howler from Morten Gamst Pedersen's free kick and they then made it four when Lee Peltier failed to cut out Bradley Orr's cross from deep and Simon Vukcevic headed in at the back post. Etuhu was sent off for a second bookable offence with a few minutes remaining but it was far too late to have an impact on the scoreline.

We were very poor today, the sending off obviously didn't help but we were still far from good enough.

Full Time result

Leeds United 0

Blackburn Rovers 4 - Lowe 22, Rhodes 34, Kenny og 68, Vukcevic 70

Cameron Jerome was ruled out for up to eleven days with a bruised thigh

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29.09.12

Leeds United V Bristol City Npower Championship Matchday Eight

City have had a good start to the season and will prove tough opposition, I could really do with a win though to prove the Blackburn game was just a one off from my side. In come David Norris for the suspended Brown and Luciano Becchio makes his first start of the season with Jerome out injured.

-----------------Kenny----------

Peltier----Lees--Pearce--White

Diouf----Austin---Norris--Varney

--------Becchio--McCormack----

subs

Ashdown

Kisnorbo

Drury

Green

Pugh

Gray

Craddock

The Robins have the first notable effort of the game after Sam Baldock produces some brilliant footwork to take the ball into his stride and beat both Lees and Pearce who backed off him a little too much for my liking, thankfully his shot was saved relatively comfortably by Paddy Kenny and just a few minutes later the ball was in the net at the opposite end when Diouf cuts inside and plays a superb reverse pass for Ross McCormack in the area who takes a touch and finishes nicely for his first goal of the season in the week in which he vowed to end his goal drought and we were up and at them again right from the restart with Tom Heaton making an excellent save from Pearce's header from McCormack's corner, we continued to control but couldn't find another goal and went in at half time with the score still 1-0. The second half was a fairly drab affair with the first and only real highlight coming fifteen minutes from time with Kenny making a great save at full length from Mark Wilson's free kick.

Well three points on the board, Bristol had a lot of the ball in the second half but couldn't do anything with it, I'd have taken this at kick off.

Full time result

Leeds United 1 - McCormack 15

Bristol City 0

End of September table snapshot

3. Birmingham City 19

4. Wolverhampton Wanderers 16

5. Bristol City 14

6. Leeds United 14

7. Bolton Wanderers 13

8. Burnley 12

9. Middlesbrough

30.09.12

Tom Lees was named runner up in the Championship player of the month award along with winning the young player of the month award for the second month in succession, he looks like he is going to be a great player for us.

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01.10.12

Michael Brown was handed an additional two match ban for his sending off against Blackburn.

02.10.12

Derby County V Leeds United Npower Championship Matchday Nine

The same side that beat Bristol City will play this one, largely due to Brown's suspension being extended

-----------------Kenny----------

Peltier----Lees--Pearce--White

Diouf----Austin---Norris--Varney

--------Becchio--McCormack----

subs

Ashdown

Kisnorbo

Drury

Green

Pugh

Gray

Craddock

Well Derby took the lead pretty early on when they won a free kick right on the edge of our box and David Meyler executed it perfectly curling it round the wall and into the top corner and sending Pride Park wild. We reacted pretty well though and were back on level terms in the 17th minute when Ross McCormack whipped a corner in and Jason Pearce headed home at the near post with his first goal for the club and just fifteen minutes later we were in front, Peltier played a long ball down the line for Becchio to run onto, the Argentine got to the byline and squared the ball to Diouf on the edge of the box who calmly passed the ball to the penalty spot for David Norris to run onto and finish calmly and also net his first goal for Leeds, we continued to push on and thought we had a third in first half stoppage time when McCormack whipped in a free kick and Becchio sent a bullet header into the top corner however the linesman had his flag up. I told them at half time to keep going as they were and that if they did we'd win at a canter and they certainly took note as both McCormack and Varney forced Frank Fielding into saves early on in the second half and in the 54th minute Becchio wasted a really good chance putting wide after Peltier played him in, certainly not miss of the match though, Diouf earnt that accolade twelve minutes later, White put a cross in which the Derby defence struggled to clear and the ball fell to Diouf about three yards out, he somehow managed to put it over, unbelievable, we were really dominating now. We went down to ten men with ten minutes remaining when McCormack picked up a knock having already used three subs but we held out and even created a few more half chances including a goal ruled out for Pugh after the referee ajudged that Gray had backed into Fielding.

Great performance from us but I’d like us to be a little more clinical!

Full time result

Derby County 1 - Meyler 5

Leeds United 2 - Pearce 17, Norris 32

McCormack was ruled out for upto ten days with a bruised rib, with Somma also out a few weeks and Jerome still not recovered I decided I'd look into getting another forward on a short term loan, Diouf picking up a one game ban for five yellow cards doesn't help either as he could play there too

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04.10.12

El Hadji Diouf has signed a new deal to the end of the season, his initial deal ran out in january.

05.10.12

I've managed to bring in the striker I targeted, Leroy Lita joins on a one month loan deal from Swansea

06.10.12

Wolverhampton Wanderers V Leeds United Npower Championship Matchday Ten

A very tricky away fixture today and I've had to make a number of changes, debutant Lita comes in for the injured McCormack whilst Paul Green comes in for the suspended Diouf and David Norris moves to the right hand side, Cameron Jerome is fit enough to make the bench

----------------Kenny----------

Peltier---Lees----Pearce--White

Norris----Austin--Green--Varney

------------Becchio--Lita-----------

subs

Ashdown

Kisnorbo

Drury

Pugh

Connolly

Gray

Jerome

First real chance of the game and we are behind, in the 21st minute Wolves winger Peszko receives the ball and makes a mug of Aidan White nutmegging the young full back, Jason Pearce comes across to cover but the Hungarian winger makes light work of beating him and crosses for Stephen Hunt to tap home, we've barely come to terms with that goal when Wolves got another, we gave Kevin Doyle freedom of the pitch to pick the ball up 25 yards out make his way towards goal and shoot past Kenny, it couldn't get much worse. Actually turns out it could, six minutes later Sigurdarson picked up the ball on the right hand side of the penalty area and played the ball across the six yard box for Doyle to score again, this time we lasted a whole thirteen minutes before letting them break through us with ease once again, Hunt playing in Doyle who dinked the ball in for his hattrick, we made a mockery of ourselves in this first half, this was epitomised by Rodolph Austin who was awful, I had decided he was coming off at half time only he denied me the chance to do so by getting him sent of in added time for a second yellow, guess it is just one of those days, I gave them a much needed telling off at half time and brought on Danny Pugh and Patrick Kisnorbo for Paul Green and Luke Varney and switched to a 3-4-2 formation, Wolves didn't have the same freedom as the first half but the damage was done, we pulled one back in the 90th minute when Peltier slipped in Becchio for a consolation but the damage was done

We were a disgrace to the shirt today, I couldn't believe what I had witnessed that first half

Full Time result

Wolves 4- Hunt 21, Doyle 23,29,44

Leeds United 1 - Becchio 90

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19.10.12

The international break came at a good time for us, it allowed a full inquest into what on earth went wrong against Wolves and gave our injured and tired players a good chance to get back into shape for the game at Blackpool, this being the case as both Davide Somma and Sam Byram returned to training today following injury.

20.10.12

Blackpool V Leeds United Npower Championship Matchday Eleven

I wanted a reaction to the disaster of the last game against Wolves, I hate my teams losing but when they do I demand that they bounce back. Diouf, Brown and Jerome all returned to the side

-------------Kenny----------

Peltier----Lees---Pearce--White

Diouf-----Brown--Norris---Varney

----------Jerome--Becchio--------

subs

Ashdown

Kisnorbo

Drury

Green

Pugh

Lita

McCormack

We started off fairly brightly with Norris forcing Gilks into a good save with a fierce drive from 18 yards out but just a couple of minutes later Tom Lees let Gary Taylor-Fletcher win the ball in the air far too easily and he knocked it down to Sylvestre who slipped in Matt Phillips to calmly finish and put Blackpool ahead, we reacted with Jerome making a great solo run before putting the ball narrowly wide but in the 34th minute we saw almost a carbon copy of the first goal with Sylvestre playing in Phillips again to score, again I wasn't happy one bit and at half time I brought Pugh and Lita on for Becchio and Varney and changed to a 4-3-3 with Diouf moving up top, a lot of good that did as early in the second half Bob Harris whipped a corner in, Barry Ferguson's volley was saved by Kenny and Phillips tapped in the rebound, ten minutes later it was four as Taylor-Fletcher turned and finished Harris' cross and give it another ten minutes or so and we thought we might as well gift them another, Taylor-Fletcher again onto Ferguson's through ball.

What the hell are we playing at?!

Full time result

Blackpool 5 - Phillips 13,34,53, Taylor Fletcher 62,73

Leeds United 0

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23.10.12

Leicester City V Leeds United Npower Championship Matchday Twelve

Leicester have just sacked Nigel Pearson and Craig Shakespeare is in caretaker charge today, I hope this doesn't lead to a change in fortunes, we need a win today after the so called efforts we've put in the last two games, Austin returns from suspension and McCormack replaces Becchio.

-------------Kenny----------

Peltier----Lees---Pearce--White

Diouf-----Austin--Brown---Varney

----------Jerome--McCormack--------

subs

Ashdown

Kisnorbo

Drury

Norris

Pugh

Somma

Becchio

We got of to a decent start with McCormack curling an effort narrowly over after good work on the edge of the box by Cameron Jerome, after that the match game a tight scrappy affair and Leicester had the next opening when former Leeds man Jermaine Beckford jinked past Pearce and tried to poke it past Kenny who pulled off a great save and we went in at half time level, we then opened the scoring seven minutes into the second half Matty James lost possession to Austin who passed it to Brown who's great through ball played in Cameron Jerome who slotted home with ease, Leicester looked to push on for an equaliser and had a number of efforts but Paddy Kenny's goal was never in threat of being hit whilst we could've had several more if substitute Davide Somma had his shooting boots on.

Not a classic win by any means but one I'm delighted to obtain after the last two games.

full time result

Leicester City 0

Leeds United 1 - Jerome 52

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27.10.12

Leeds United V Brighton and Hove Albion Npower Championship Matchday Thirteen

I was relieved to return to Elland Road after four away games on the trot, two of which we were humiliated and the final one which was a real battle, I stuck with the same side that beat Leicester despite temptations to start Somma after he made a positive impact as a substitute.

-------------Kenny----------

Peltier----Lees---Pearce--White

Diouf-----Austin--Brown---Varney

----------Jerome--McCormack--------

subs

Ashdown

Kisnorbo

Drury

Norris

Pugh

Somma

Becchio

It was very much a game of few chances, the first went to us and fortunately we scored it, Kenny launched the ball upfield from a pass back and Jerome did well to out jump Gordon Greer and head the ball into the path of Ross McCormack who was running in behind the defence, the scotsman took a touch and calmly passed the ball in the back of the net to send our fans wild and was the only event that occurred in the first half worth mentioning, the second half was a little more entertaining with our best chance coming in the 57th minute, Aidan White played the ball low across the box, McCormack ran towards it at the near post and hit a hard left footed shot which was well saved by Kuszczak, and shortly later Brighton hit the post through Kazenga Lua Lua after good possesion play which left me thinking that I wish we could get a second goal to feel safer, we never got the second goal, fortunately we didn't need to, the three points were ours.

Again not a classic but we'll take it.

End of October League Table snapshot

3.Huddersfield Town 25

4.Bristol City 25

5.Bolton Wanderers 23

6.Leeds United 23

7.Crystal Palace 21

8.Birmingham City 21

9.Millwall 20

Full time result

Leeds United 1 - McCormack 37

Brighton 0

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03.11.12

Leeds United V Cardiff City Npower Championship Matchday Fourteen

Today we faced Cardiff at home who are in poor form and have just sacked Malky Mackay, I stick with the same squad the beat Brighton.

-------------Kenny----------

Peltier----Lees---Pearce--White

Diouf-----Austin--Brown---Varney

----------Jerome--McCormack--------

subs

Ashdown

Kisnorbo

Drury

Norris

Pugh

Somma

Becchio

The game got off to a really quiet start, we had all the ball but wern't using it to stretch the Cardiff defence by any stretch and just after the half hour mark we were dealt a blow with Ross McCormack picking up a knock against his former club and we replaced him with Becchio, we started to push on a bit then and in the 35th minute Rodolph Austin drove forward and smashed the ball into the woodwork from twenty yards out, that was to be as good as it got as practically straight after Cardiff went up the pitch and scored after Jordan Mutch's through ball found Eden Velikonja and a few minutes later it got worse with Kim Bo-Kyung cutting inside after taking Whittingham's long ball into his stride and finishing neatly, the second half was a really snooze fest, we had all the ball but didn't create anything with the closest we came with Diouf's effort from a free kick in stoppage time.

Not happy with this result and performance one bit.

Full time result

Leeds United 0

Cardiff City 2 - Velikonja 36, Bo-Kyung 40

McCormack was ruled out for ten days with bruised ribs

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05.11.12

Leroy Lita returned to Swansea upon completion of his one month loan spell, he played two games for us and in all honesty was pretty poor in both.

06.11.12

Middlesbrough V Leeds United Npower Championship Matchday Fifteen

Today We faced a challenging trip to the Riverside and I wanted to bounceback from the weekend defeat, Becchio came in for the injured McCormack and Norris came in for Austin.

-------------Kenny----------

Peltier----Lees---Pearce--White

Diouf-----Norris--Brown---Varney

----------Jerome--Becchio---------

subs

Ashdown

Kisnorbo

Drury

Austin

Pugh

Somma

Gray

11- Becchio injured, Gray on

34- Kenny good save after solo run from Jutkiewicz

kick up the arse at half time

83- Brown has a goalbound volley from the edge of the box blocked, Lees gains the ball passes back to Austin who sets up Brown, skims the post

Well what an absolutely terrible game, I feel for the fans who had paid to be there, hell I feel for my unused players who were paid a ridiculous amount to be there, it got off to a bad start when Becchio got hurt in the 11th minute, I sent Andy Gray on, I rate Davide Somma higher but I wanted someone more adept at holding the ball up, the first half passed by with lots of miss placed passes by both sides, Lukas Jutkiewicz created a moment of magic for Boro with a real solo run which ended with Paddy Kenny making a fantastic save, during the half time break I gave the lads a bit of a kick up the arse, didn't have any effect mind, the second half was one of the worst I've seen, the only real action coming seven minutes from time, Michael Brown hit a goalbound volley from the edge of the area which was blocked about six yards from its target, Tom Lees picked up the rebound and did well to keep it and pass back to Austin who set up Brown who's effort this time went narrowly wide skimming the post.

Thats what I was told when I woke up after the game put me to sleep anyway.

Fulltime result

Middlesbrough 0

Leeds United 0

Physio Paul Perkins had some bad news for me after the game, Luciano Becchio was out for 3-4 months with a torn hamstring, might have to look to the loan market again, I certainly won't be signing Lita though

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09.11.12

Today we brought in Norwich striker Chris Martin on a two month loan deal, he'll go straight into the squad to face Peterborough

10.11.12

Leeds United V Peterborough United Npower Championship Matchday sixteen

I decide to start Martin on the bench as he isn't match fit, Somma partners Jerome, Pugh comes in for Varney and Austin for Norris

-------------Kenny----------

Peltier----Lees---Pearce--White

Diouf-----Austin--Brown---Pugh

----------Jerome--Somma---------

subs

Ashdown

Kisnorbo

Drury

Norris

Varney

Martin

Gray

2- Somma misses a good chance after being played in by Jerome

29- Austin knock, bring on Varney and put Pugh central

30- Barnett beats Pearce for pace, slots past Kenny

44- Boyd hits post good counter

halt time bollocking, Norris on for Somma 4-3-3

54- Lichaj takes out Varney, second yellow

81- Martin fires over

87- White's cross, Pugh heads narrowly over

We started brightly and just two minutes in Jerome played in Somma who looking to make an impression on the first XI couldn't find the target from a good chance and not too long after we lost Austin to a knock and brought Varney on a moved Pugh central, the loss of our playmaker seemed to give Peterborough the impotus to move forward and not long after Tyrone Barnett put them infront after outpacing Pearce and they looked to build on that as George Boyd hit the bost on the counter attack, I gave our lads the hairdryer treatment at half time and went 4-3-3 bringing on Norris for Somma and early on in the second half former Leeds loanee Eric Lichaj received a second yellow for a foul on Varney, we had a hell of a lot of the ball but the chances wern't forthcoming, debutant sub Martin blasted over after 81 minutes and Danny Pugh went close with a header from White's cross but still no reward, we huffed and puffed in the last few minutes but only winning about a million late corners doesn't blow the house down.

We aren't very good at the moment at something needs to change, I'm growing concerned that if Jerome doesn't score, the rest of the team struggle to as well

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14.11.12

We do like picking up striker injuries, Andy Gray will be out for 7 weeks with a hernia injury picked up in training.

17.11.12

Leeds United v Charlton Athletic Npower Championship Matchday Seventeen

Would really like a win today, Brown is suspended so Varney comes in for him with Pugh moving central, Martin makes his first start in place of Somma, McCormack is fit to make the bench and Sam Byram could make his professional debut as a sub today

-------------Kenny----------

Peltier----Lees---Pearce--White

Diouf-----Austin--Pugh---Varney

----------Jerome--Martin---------

subs

Ashdown

Kisnorbo

Drury

Norris

Byram

Somma

McCormack

16- Charlton pen for hand ball by Jerome, BWP straight up middle scores

23- Martin plays in Jerome, must score, doesn't

40- Varney's cross hits the crossbar

45 plus 1- Diouf brought down by Kerkar in the box, Varney steps up, scores!

strange second half, lots of effort no quality from either team

Well things haven't been going well lately and they continued in that vain when Charlton got a penalty after quater of an hour that was duly put away by Bradley Wright Phillips, eight minutes later Martin played in Jerome who coudln't miss, well actually he could and did and the closest we came to scoring was when Luke Varney's cross hit the bar, that sums us up at the minute, our best effort of the first forty minutes wasn't even a shot, we did however manage to show some quality in first half added time, Diouf beating a couple of men and getting brought down for a penalty of own, Varney scored it and we went in level, the second half saw plenty of effort from both sides with Danny Haynes causing us lots of trouble but no quality whatsoever.

I'm getting annoyed with our form at the moment, we look so toothless it is unbelievable.

full time result

Leeds United 1 - Varney pen 45+1

Charlton Athletic 1 - Wright Phillips pen 16

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21.11.12

More injury news as Aidan White picks up a hernia injury in training ruling him out for up to 7 weeks

24.11.12

Sheffield Wednesday V Leeds United Npower Championship Matchday Eighteen

Yorkshire Derby between two huge clubs at this level, our recent form is unacceptable and I could really do with a win, Drury finally makes his debut due to White's injury, the former Norwich left back has been in every matchday squad this season without featuring, Brown comes back in for Pugh.

-------------Kenny----------

Peltier----Lees---Pearce--Drury

Diouf-----Austin--Brown---Varney

----------Jerome--Martin---------

subs

Ashdown

Kisnorbo

Green

Norris

Pugh

Somma

McCormack

10- Drury plays in Martin who rounds Kirkland and finishes from narrow angle 1-0 Leeds

15- Martin plays in Jerome, stinging shot, good save by Kirkland

43- Rodri plays in Bothroyd, smashes home

Well we started positively and ten minutes in Drury played in Martin who rounded Kirkland and finished from a narrow angle to put us infront and we also made it 2-0 pretty much immediately when Martin played in Jerome who hit a stinging shot which the former England keeper got fingertips to. We were playing well and controlling the game but Wednesday's front man on loan from Barcelona Rodri was causing us problems and a couple of minutes before half time he played in Bothroyd to smash home at the edge of the area, in the second half we wern't very good and created nothing, same stands for them, I like to believe I'm a practitioner of good football but my team hasn't half played some boring games this season, I think I may need a more creative midfield, thats going to have to wait till summer though as there is nothing left in the budget and I don't have many disposable assets who'd bring in good coin.

We just can't buy a win at the moment, not that Bates would pay anyway.

full time result

Sheffield Wednesday 1- Bothroyd 43

Leeds United 1 - Martin 10

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25.11.12

I called a meeting to discuss recent results and performances with the team, to their credit they all showed a good attitude, agreed with what I was saying and vowed to sort it out.

Great, now start talking on the pitch

27.11.12

Bolton Wanderers v Leeds United Npower Championship Matchday Nineteen

I give the same side that played at Hillsborough another chance to get us that elusive win.

-------------Kenny----------

Peltier----Lees---Pearce--Drury

Diouf-----Austin--Brown---Varney

----------Jerome--Martin---------

subs

Ashdown

Kisnorbo

Green

Norris

Pugh

Somma

McCormack

We make a good start as after just 27 seconds Jerome tackles Knight and the ball falls to Martin, he takes a touch and sets himself for the shot but his effort is too close to Adam Bogdan and we were punished for not taking that chance after five minutes when Kevin Davies flicked a long ball into the path of Ngog who got in behind far too easily to put Bolton in front, the same two frontmen linked up again not so long after resulting in Ngog making it 2-0, christ here we go again, although we then started to come back into it Jerome having a good chance saved by Bogdan and then setting up Brown who put it wide but then in the 25th minute Bolton came at us again Petrov crossing in for Ngog to bundle in his hattrick goal and it was soon to be for, you know the script, Davies-Ngog-goal, I was absolutely furious and brought Paul Green on for Diouf and changed to a 3-5-2 formation, we improved immediately and missed a few half chances before half time and carried on in that vain as the second half begun with Martin missing a couple of good chances before getting us a goal in the 55th minute after Zat Knight failed to deal with Peltier's long ball, fight back maybe? No Ngog got another and although we kept creating chances we had no chance by then.

Well the first half was the most abject display of defending I've ever witnessed but once we changed formation we did alright, another terrible result though, when is it going to stop?

full time

Bolton Wanderers 5 - Ngog 5,8,23,24,65

Leeds United 1 - Martin 55

End of November Table Snapshot

9 Derby County 27

10 Birmingham City 26

11 Peterborough United 26

12 Leeds United 26

13 Crystal Palace 25

14. Charlton Athletic 25

15 Blackpool 24

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01.12.12

Leeds United V Nottingham Forest Npower Championship Matchday Twenty

was today the day we finally win again? We've been awful lately and are without Kisnorbo and Austin who are on international duty, I decided to give 3-5-2 a go from the start.

-------------Kenny-----------

----Peltier--Lees--Pearce-----

Byram---------------------Pugh

----------Norris---Brown------

--------------Martin------------

-------Jerome--McCormack----

subs

Ashdown

Craddock

Drury

Green

Diouf

Varney

Somma

8- Byram breaks forward gives it Jerome in box who shoots wide

11- Lansbury free kick volleyed in by McGugan

55- Brown finds Jerome in area, left footed shot over, should've done better

We started off playing well and the new formation seemed to be working as Sam Byram making his first start, playing as a right wing back charged forward early on and squared to Jerome who put it wide, just a few minutes later however we were behind Henri Lansbury swung in a free kick and Lewis McGugan provided a stunning volley to put Forest ahead, the rest of the first half was pretty eventless (better than conceding every 30 seconds I guess), the second half wasn't much better mind, Brown found Jerome in the box in the 55th minute and the striker hit a left footed shot harmlessly over the bar, should've done better.

Another day another defeat.

Full time

Leeds United 0

Nottingham Forest 1 - McGugan 11

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02.12.12

The draw for the FA Cup third round was made today

We will face Peterborough United at Elland Road

We'd decided to have a team get together to try raise spirits today so all watched the draw together at the stadium whilst having a few drinks and a buffet, certainly not a reward for recent performances but I'd try anything at this point, as everyone was leaving after a pleasant day Danny Pugh pulled me to one side and told me how concerned he was by recent results and was losing faith in my management, I told him we were just going through a sticky patch and our quality would come through and we'd be fine and to trust my judgement, he seemed a little buoyed by this and was on his way.

In truth I was a little taken aback by what he'd said about losing faith in me, but at least it shows he cares I suppose, but just goes to show, we really need some results again.

03.12.12

Today after training it was Paul Rachubka who asked me for a quiet word, he told me he was concerned about not playing and wouldn't mind a loan move if possible, I told him I'd try sort something out in january, if I'm honest I'm not bothered whether he goes permanently really but I thought best not to tell him that now.

04.12.12

Ipswich Town V Leeds United Npower Championship Matchday Twentyone

Kisnorbo and Austin were still away and I didn't think the 3-5-2 worked too bad against Forest even if the result was poor so I stuck with the same side again.

-------------Kenny-----------

----Peltier--Lees--Pearce-----

Byram---------------------Pugh

----------Norris---Brown------

--------------Martin------------

-------Jerome--McCormack----

subs

Ashdown

Craddock

Drury

Green

Diouf

Varney

Somma

Well the team all seemed up for it in the dressing room and tunnel, be nice if they are on the pitch for once, I thought we might just be when early on Pugh showed great tenacity to rob Vassell of possession beat Keane and pass to Chris Martin who's 25 yard efford was tipped over by Loach, Loach also showed his qualities to save Pearce's header from McCormack's follwoing corner, however as seems to always be the case with us the opposition score from their first real attack, Ipswich had a sustained spell of pressure and Daryl Murphy volleys in Keane's cross and the lead is doubled just on half time with Smith heading in Drury's free kick, I lost it with them at half time (again) and switched to 4-4-2 and went all out attack, a whole lot of good that did with Paul Taylor scoring twice in the second half from awful defending.

Didn't we used to win games?

Ipswich Town 4 - Murphy 27, Smith 45, Taylor 64,70

Leeds United 0

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08.12.12

Leeds United V Burnley Npower Championship Matchday Twenty-two

Back to basics today with a 4-4-2 and hopefully the basics of being able to actually play football, Austin and Kisnorbo were still away and Brown injured so I went with

-------------Kenny----------

Peltier---Lees---Pearce--Drury

Diouf----Green--Pugh----Varney

--------Somma--Martin---------

subs

Ashdown

Craddock

Connolly

Norris

Byram

McCormack

Jerome

We started off the better team with Diouf playing in Somma to the right hand side of the box the South African shaped up and shot narrowly wide, in the 23rd minute we got a corner which was whipped in by Diouf and Jason Pearce's header was cleared off the line for another corner, Burnley clearly hadn't learnt and let Pearce win the header again and this time he scored to put us ahead and just 3 minutes later Chris Martin managed to battle his way through the defence but his finish didn't do the build up work justice, I felt it was a good first half with Paul Green proving to be a calming influence in midfield however the half time break seemed to gee Burnley up and they came out firing and substitute Charlie Austin grabbed a quick double to have them infront by the 62nd minute, we reacted immediately and Ross McCormack who I brought on as soon as they took the lead set up Somma to score and both teams went in search of the winner, we reached the 90th minute and Diouf was sent off for a second bookable offence after climbing on Marney, bit harsh I thought and Burnley capitilised immediately Austin broke through and Tom Lees attempted a last ditch slide tackle to stop him scoring only to the ball in his own net.

I must have done something to upset someone since the Brighton game!

full time

Leeds United 2 - Pearce 23, Somma 64

Burnley 3 - Austin 53,62, Lees O.G 90

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11.12.12

If it wasn't bad enough Diouf committing daft fouls in a match and depriving us of his services through suspension he didn't have to carry on doing it in training and put McCormack out for 2 months with cracked ribs, nothings going my way at the minute.

14.12.12

Today BBC Sport were reporting I'd be sacked if we lost to Palace, I had no idea what the board were thinking or whether there was any truth in this but I was praying for a win regardless, we made a decent start to the season but just lately we've been horrific.

15.12.12

Crystal Palace V Leeds United Npower Championship Matchday Twenty-three

Diouf was suspended and McCormack now injured, but Austin was back from International duty as was Kisnorbo and Brown was back fit again, I knew the pressure was on and told my team it was time to get their act together.

------------Kenny---------------

Peltier--Lees----Pearce---Drury

Green---Austin--Brown---Pugh

---------Jerome--Somma-----

subs

Ashdown

Kisnorbo

Byram

Norris

Varney

Martin

Craddock

The game got of to a quiet start and our first sight of goal came when Brown's pass found Jerome and the striker turned and smashed the ball towards goal, however the ball went wide, Palace went close a couple of times from set pieces with a Tom Hateley free kick being particularly near to breaking the deadlock but we went in at half time with both defences relatively untroubled. We started the second half brightly, almost immediately Pugh put in a cross which was headed down by Jerome and Somma inexplicitly missed from six yards, not long after it was Jerome's turn to be left red faced, a poor kick out from Julian Speroni was headed down into Jerome's path by Green and the striker was through on goal but could only find the side netting, we finally did break the deadlock in the 52nd minute, Green found the ball on the right hand side of the box and and passed to Jerome and played a good lay off for Somma to fire home and put us infront, we continued to knock on the door but were finding chances to double our lead hard to come by and as we entered the last ten minutes Palace started to pressurize us culminating in a failed clearance landing to Wilfried Zaha who cut inside and finished past Kenny.

I was frustrated as hell, really thought we were going to win today, but I kept my cool in the dressing room as I did think the lads did well today and deserved to win, one point wasn't a disaster but a win is really what we need right now

Full time

Leeds United 1 - Somma 52

Crystal Palace 1 - Zaha 85

I left the ground wondering what I had to do to get a win, nothing was going our way, as I was loading my things into the boot of my car I heard a knock on a window and turned around to see some Palace fans in the nearby pub had spotted me and had begun to chant "your getting sacked in the morning", just as all that had died down a received a phone call from the chairman.

I didn't even last till morning.......

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24.12.12

Well it wasn't to be long before I was back in the game and I hadn't even been searching that much for jobs, I wanted to ensure that I remained in the game and I knew to do this the next job I took had to be the right one, basically make a mess of it and I could end up on the footballing scrapheap.

Anyway since leaving Leeds I had declared an interest in the Vacant Sheffield Wednesday post as well as applying for the job at MK Dons and on Christmas Eve I received a phone call from Pete Winkleman that left me feeling very festive, I was back in football management on a £1,300 a week contract until Summer 2015.

When I went to sign the contract I had a chat with Winkleman about what to expect for the rest of the season, he told me I'd have no money for transfers and the wage budget was currently at it's 49k p/w capacity and that he expected a midtable finish, all managers like some money to spend but I wasn't too downhearted as I felt we more than had a squad capable of a midtable finish and were currently sat 14th in the table.

I announced Dean Lewington would be my captain with Alan Smith as his deputy.

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26.12.12

Hartlepool United V MK Dons Npower League One Matchday Twenty-seven

Didn't have to wait long for my first game, I hadn't had much time to get to know my squad but I still wanted to take charge myself, My squad of 18 was practically every played I had fit and available.

----------------Martin--------------

Otsemobor--Kay---Williams--Lewington

O'shea-----Potter---A.Smith---Chadwick

-------------Powell---Lowe---------------

subs

Bragg

Doumbe

Mackenzie

K.Smith

Bowditch

Ibhere

Macdonald

We made a decent start and I was impressed by some of the quality shown by my new players in the early stages and our first major chance came fifteen minutes in when we countered after clearing a corner, Luke Chadwick ran down the right and put a good ball in only for Scott Flinders to produce a good save from Daniel Powell, a few minutes later Powell had another chance after Lowe's flick but could only find the side netting and in the 23rd minute we came our closest yet with Shaun Williams rattling the crossbar with a great free kick, we were punished for not taking our chances in the 41st minute when Poole battled well by the byline and passed to Jonathan Franks who had looked menacing all day and his pass found Anthony Sweeney in the box who somewhat fortuitously sliced the ball into the net, this was not to deter us and in our first major attack of the second half we got the equaliser, Chadwick's corner was cleared straight back to him and he passed it back to Alan Smith on the edge of the box, the former England man's effort looked a good one however was blocked fortunately the rebound fell to Jay O'Shea to tuck home, we continued to press and in the 71st minute Martin's long ball was flicked on by Powell to Scott Macdonald but the subtitute could only lob the ball over the crossbar and five minutes later the same pair created another opening this time resulting in Macdonald putting the ball narrowly wide.

A decent point in my first game away to a side doing well, we played very well and really should've finished better to take home all three points

full time

Hartlepool United 1 - Sweeney 41

MK Dons 1 - O'Shea 58

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29.12.12

MK Dons V Swindon Town Npower League One Matchday Twenty-eight

Well when you take over a club at Christmas the games come flying in thick and fast, my first home game in charge sees high flying Swindon visit Stadium:MK, I stick with the same side that drew at Hartlepool, however Stephen Gleeson is now fit to make the bench.

----------------Martin--------------

Otsemobor--Kay---Williams--Lewington

O'shea-----Potter---A.Smith---Chadwick

-------------Powell---Lowe---------------

subs

Bragg

Doumbe

Mackenzie

Gleeson

K.Smith

Bowditch

Ibhere

Well we got of to the worst possible start, Shaun Williams lost out in a battle with his namesake, Swindon striker Andrew Williams who then ran through and slotted home to put Swindon ahead after five minutes however we reacted well and just four minutes later Ryan Lowe produced some Shearer-esque hold up play, keeping the ball and holding off his man in the box before laying off to the left for Luke Chadwick to slot home and we had already completed a turn around by the 15th minute when Darren Potter played Daniel Powell in and the young striker blasted the ball into the bottom corner, after this hectic start the first half then seemed to turn somewhat more low profile but we seemed to have got back into our rythm again come the second half and had a good chance in the 65th minute when Potter slipped in O'Shea down the right and his cross found Powell who's effort was saved by Wes Foderingham, shortly after we introduced substitute Korey Smith in a new role down the right wing and his impact was immediate playing in Lowe who shot wide from a narrow angle and he appeared to be revelling in his role as a winger in the 87 minute when he beat his man, put a cross in which Lowe looked set to get on the end of until Alan Navarro (a former MK Dons player) stuck out a toe and diverted into his own net.

Great win for us, we played some pleasing stuff and it was great for me to finally get another win under my belt, my first one since Leeds beat Brighton.

full time

MK Dons 3 - Chadwick 9, Powell 15, Navarro own goal 87

Swindon Town 1 - Williams 5

Head Physio Simon Crampton informed me after the match that Jabo Ibhere will be out for up to two months after the substitute sprained his ankle during the match.

31.12.12

Our squad was today boosted by the returns of two young players who had been out on loan, centre midfielder George Baldock returned from Tamworth with Tom Flanagan returning from Gillingham, whilst neither will walk straight into the first team both are good young players who can add something to my depleted squad.

End of December table snapshot

7.Hartlepool United 41 (+1)

8.AFC Bournemouth 40 (+16)

9.Sheffield United 40 (+4)

10.MK Dons 37 (+1)

11.Colchester United 37 (-2)

12.Carlisle United 37 (-7)

13.Tranmere Rovers 37 (-8)

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01.01.13

Notts County V MK Dons Npower League One Matchday Twenty-nine

I made a number of changes today due to players needing rests after the hectic Christmas schedule, I just hoped the replacements were up to the task

--------------------Martin-------------

Doumbe--Mackenzie--Williams--Lewington

O'Shea-----Gleeson---A.Smith---Bowditch

-------------Powell-----Macdonald----------

subs

Brag

Otsemobor

Kay

Potter

K.Smith

Chadwick

Lowe

Notts County started well and after a sustained spell of pressure in which Alan Sheehan's corners caused us lots of problems we managed to break with Smith finding Macdonald and his thirty yard first time effort flew into the top corner, Notts County hit straight back and Neal Bishop'slong range effort was well saved by Martin, with 36 minutes on the clock we got a free kick out wide, Williams whipped it in and Jay O'Shea scored with a great looping header, I knew we were fortunate to be 2-0 up and County were dominating the run of play so I decided to combat their 4-5-1 with a variation of my own with Bowditch and Powell becoming advanced wingers, this worked up to a point in the second half where everything seemed to go wrong, Gary MacKenzie was ajudged to have fouled Francios Zoko in the box and Jeff Hughes smashed the penalty into the top corner then in the 71st minute Enoch Showunmi ran down the right hand channel and sent a low cross in for Hughes to tap home for his second, fourteen minutes later County produced pretty much a carbon copy only with Obeng producing the cross this time.

I was gutted to have blown a 2 goal lead in a tricky away game, I normally only alter my tactics to produce something for ourselves rather than to combat the away team as I am a firm believer in winning the games for yourselves and not worrying about the opposition and I couldn't help but think what if I hadn't changed.

full time

Notts County 3 - Hughes pen 62,71,85

MK Dons 2 - Macdonald 12, O'Shea 36

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02.01.13

Today I extended Danny Butterfield's loan with us from Southampton till the end of the season, he hasn't featured for me yet due to injury but he seems to have played very well prior to appointment and with us not having to contribute towards his wage I didn't see why not.

05.01.13

Today started with some brilliant news, Dean Lewington had become unhappy at the club prior to my tenure here and had been placed on the transfer list by request but today has asked if he can be removed from the list as he wants to stay.

MK Dons V Ipswich Town FA Cup 3rd Round

Today we face Championship side Ipswich who hammered me early on in the season with Leeds, we had a number of players missing from being ineligable due to loan terms, usual injuries and cup tied from when they were loaned out so youngster Fuad Ahmed got a place on the bench

--------------Martin---------------

Otsemobor-Kay--Williams--Lewington

O'Shea----Potter--A.Smith--Chadwick

-----------Lowe--Macdonald------------

subs

Mcloughlin

MacKenzie

Doumbe

Gleeson

Ahmed

Bowditch

Powell

We start brightly and have the first real chance of the match with Lowe slipping in MacDonald in the tenth minute however the striker put wide, we were dealt a blow when Alan Smith had to go off injured shortly after and he was replaced by Stephen Gleeson, this didn't deter us however and in the 16th minute Chadwick whipped in a free kick into the 6 yard box and Shaun Williams was there to tap home for his first of the season and we managed to contain Ipswich until the break whilst getting some good football done ourselves, we started the second half like a house on fire, within seconds of the restart O'Shea cut open the defence only for MacDonald to put wide and a few minutes later MacDonald found Chadwick in the box and his shot was well saved by David Preece, midway through the second half Gleeson himself went off with a knock so we brought Gary MacKenzie on and put Anthony Kay into midfield, Ipswich started to step it up a gear but everytime they got it near David Martin's goal an MK shirt was there to block their path and in the 78th minute after some impressive pressing Kay robbed Luke Chambers but could only then find the side netting and the last chance of the game came five minutes from time, Preece making a great save from MacDonald who was played in by Chadwick.

Every player to a man played like a hero today, we were absolutely superb.

full time

MK Dons 1 - Williams 16

Ipswich Town 0

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06.01.13

The draw for the FA Cup 4th Round was today and we were rewarded for our victory over Ipswich with a home tie against Stoke City

Danny Butterfield resumed training today having recovered from a damaged elbow.

09.01.13

MK Dons V Preston North End Npower League One Matchday Thirty

I brought Powell back into the side despite MacDonald being a threat against Ipswich, Butterfield makes the bench

--------------Martin---------------

Otsemobor-Kay--Williams--Lewington

O'Shea----Potter--A.Smith--Chadwick

-----------Powell--Lowe-----------------

subs

Mcloughlin

MacKenzie

Butterfield

Gleeson

K.Smith

Bowditch

MacDonald

Well I wanted to get back to winning ways in the league after blowing the two goal lead against County and we got off to a good start with Williams heading narrowly over from Chadwick's corner and it wasn't long before we had the lead, O'Shea put the ball in from the right and Lowe smashed the ball into the top corner and we were to later double the lead, Alan Smith played through Powell in the 38th minute and the young striker slotted home with ease, this seemed to wake Preston up and they hit back almost immediately Ryan Tunnicliffe playing in John Welsh down the right who smashed home, the second half was a bit of a non-event to begin with and the first major chance came when sub Korey Smith played in Powell who could only put it wide and a few minutes later disaster hit, Shaun Williams went on a run and passed to Alan Smith, Smith tried to find Lowe but gave the ball to Tunnicliffe who managed to send Beavon away with Williams out of position, the striker ran through and scored and we'd blown another two goal lead, fortunately Alan Smith isn't one to lie down and die and shortly after he made amends for his mistake by charging forward onto Lowe's pass and nutmegging the keeper to give us the win.

In general we played well although I was frustrated to surrender a two goal lead again, we showed our never say die qualities though and got the win which is what matters.

Full time

MK Dons 3 - Lowe 7, Powell 38, A.Smith 88

Preston North End - Welsh 40, Beavon 85

Luke Chadwick will be out for upto 3 weeks with a damaged elbow and we will be without Alan Smith for the same period with a gashed leg

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12.01.13

Crawley Town V MK Dons Npower League One Matchday Thirty-one

Well I had a few issues to contend with regards to today's team selection with Chadwick and Smith being injured plus a number of players tired from our midweek exploits.

-------------------Martin--------------

Otsemobor--Kay---MacKenzie--Lewington

O'Shea------Potter---K.Smith---Bowditch

---------------Powell---Lowe--------------

subs

Mcloughlin

Williams

Doumbe

Butterfield

Gleeson

Baldock

MacDonald

We got off to a good start and took the lead in the 19th minute when Korey Smith picked up a poor pass from Jack Compton and slipped the ball through to Powell who got a toe to the ball to put it past the oncoming Paul Jones and into the back of the net and we doubled our lead when Darren Potter's pass found Ryan Lowe, the veteran striker attracted to Crawley defenders towards him and utilised the newfound space to pass to Powell who struck the ball low and hard and into the goal. We started the second half in a similar fashion and in the 53rd minute Smith again played in Powell who knocked it around the keeper to tap in for his hattrick and he still wasn't done, the young striker claimed his fourth of the day when substitute Danny Butterfield tackled Matt Sadler down our right hand side and played the ball into the area for Powell to finish, Crawley did pull one back with 5 minutes to go and it was a real howler from our keeper David Martin letting a routine save from Nicky Adam's low cross which slipped under his body and into the net.

Well today was all about one man Daniel Powell, he was fantastic and I find it hard to believe he wasn't getting much of a game until I took over

fulltime

Crawley Town 1 - Adams 85

MK Dons 4 - Powell, 19,37,53,78

After the game we received a boost with the news Korey Smith has agreed to extend his loan from Norwich for the rest of the season, he hasn't started much since I came due to the form of others but he does look a quality player and I'm also training him to play right midfield as competition for O'Shea after a couple of impressive cameos there

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16.01.13

Winger Etienne Esajas returned to training today after being out for 4 weeks with a twisted ankle, I'm not sure he is what we need long term but he is another option in a position we are light in.

19.01.13

MK Dons V Crewe Alexandra Npower League One Matchday Thirty-two

I make one change bringing in Williams for MacKenzie

-------------------Martin--------------

Otsemobor--Kay---Williams--Lewington

O'Shea------Potter---K.Smith---Bowditch

---------------Powell---Lowe--------------

subs

Mcloughlin

MacKenzie

Doumbe

Butterfield

Gleeson

Baldock

MacDonald

The first half was fairly poor and the only piece of action worth noting was a goalline clearance from Shaun Williams when Max Clayton looked set to top home, we had control of the ball most the half but we couldn't break through the Crewe defence, we took the lead in the 58th minute, Bowditch's corner was eventually cleared out to Korey Smith on the edge of the box and he played a neat little pass back in to Ryan Lowe who took a touch and finished calmly, we continued to control the game and were looking good to see out the game until in the 83rd minute Clayton broke through the defence and found the bottom corner giving Martin no chance.

We didn't play bad but we should be winning games like this.

fulltime

MK Dons 1 - Lowe 58

Crewe Alexandra 1 - Clayton

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23.01.13

Scunthorpe United V MK Dons Npower League One Matchday Thirty-three

Today we have a very tough test with an away trip to Scunthorpe, I name an unchanged starting line up however there is a place on the bench for the fit again Etienne Esajas

-------------------Martin--------------

Otsemobor--Kay---Williams--Lewington

O'Shea------Potter---K.Smith---Bowditch

---------------Powell---Lowe--------------

subs

Mcloughlin

MacKenzie

Doumbe

Butterfield

Gleeson

Esajasa

MacDonald

We got off to a good start and had our first chance in the 3rd minute when Otsemobor's cross from deep was headed narrowly wide at the back post by Bowditch and we looked like we were well up for this game and took the lead in the 11th minute Korey Smith broke through to the left hand side of the box and clipped a cross in, some scrappy defending managed to prevent Powell from getting the shot away but the rebound fell for Lowe to place it into the top corner, we continued to impress and we very comfortable and in control and got ours and the games second goal when Bowditch's cross was headed in by Powell in the 39th minute and we continued into the second half in the same vain with Powell forcing a great save from James Severn after getting on the end of Bowditch's pass and we got our third minutes later when Otsemobor ran down the right and put a great cross into the 6 yard box for Korey Smith to tap home.

A great performance and a fully deserved three goal victory.

full time

Scunthorpe United 0

MK Dons 3 - Lowe 11, Powell 39, K.Smth 56

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24.01.13

Good news today as Luke Chadwick resumes full training following his elbow injury, he has been excellent since I took over.

26.01.13

Another boost as Alan Smith also returns to training following his gashed leg.

27.01.13

We are due to play our FA Cup tie with Stoke later today however the draw has already taken place for the 5th round and if we beat the Potters we will be rewarded with a home tie with Bolton Wanderers.

MK Dons V Stoke City FA Cup 4th Round

I stick with the side that won at Scunthorpe midweek although Chadwick is fit for a place on the bench against one of his former clubs, unfortunately Tony Pulis has sent out a strong side, I was hoping he'd underestite us somewhat, however if we play as we have recently we have a chance.

-------------------Martin--------------

Otsemobor--Kay---Williams--Lewington

O'Shea------Potter---K.Smith---Bowditch

---------------Powell---Lowe--------------

subs

Mcloughlin

MacKenzie

Doumbe

Chadwick

Gleeson

Esajasa

MacDonald

Well we didn't look out of depth in the early stages and were playing our usual good passing football without really creating anything and when Stoke did manage to create something in the 15th minute they took full advantage with Jon Walters slipping in Peter Crouch for a cool finish to put them ahead, it was the same two players who created their second goal nine minutes later with Walters putting Crouch through one on one for another good finish, again we started playing well but couldn't break past their defence and again they took advantage in the 39th minute, Dean Whitehead broke down the right wing and put a cross in for Crouch to head in his hattrick goal, we really didn't deserve to be 3-0 down at half time and I told the lads to just keep going and give their best and they did just that in the 54th minute when Potter slipped in Powell who blasted home but unfortunately we didn't have time to build on that as Stoke went straight upfield and scored, Walters shot took a deflection and Crouch headed it past Martin, a few minutes later Robert Huth was sent off after picking up two yellows in quick succession both for taking Powell's legs away and from the resulting free kick Shaun Williams' drive produced a great fingertip save from Begovic, the game then somewhat petered out until the 80th minute when Crouch took down Etherington's cross and spun round and passed for Pennant to tap home.

We certainly didn't deserve to be on the end of that scoreline but credit to Stoke, they were clinical. Looks like the cup dream is over for another year but a result in this was always going to be a tough ask, besides I still have nightmares about Bolton Wanderers and David Ngog after my game there with Leeds.

full time

MK Dons 1 - Powell 54

Stoke City 5 - Crouch 15,24,39,55, Pennant 80

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31.01.13

Today we have signed Darren Potter down to a new two year contract, I had decided that I would leave the contracts whilst I got to know my squad better however Motherwell had offered Darren a pre-contract deal to sign for them in the summer and I definately didn't want him to go

Hibernian have also made a pre-contract offer to sign Charlie MacDonald who as things stand I will probably let go in the summer, however he has rejected their offer and as he still has a part to play in our season he will have the chance to change my mind on him

However before the day is up some bad news has cropped up, Shaun Williams has been made an offer from Kilmarnock for next season which he has duly accepted, I couldn't make a counter offer as he'd already agreed a deal with them by the time I found out, I'm gutted as he seeI ms a top player, I think he has made a mistake as well as if he wasn't going to stay here I'm sure if he'd held out till summer he'd get some very good offers from this country which would further his development, anyway given this news I think I may have to rethink my contract policy.

02.02.13

After the news about Williams I decided I needed to get down to business and offer deals to the players I knew I definately wanted to keep past the summer who's deals were running down and today Otsemobor (2014), Lewington (2015) and Powell (2016) all committed their futures to the club so we're just waiting on David Martin now too.

MK Dons V Leyton Orient Npower League One Matchday Thirty-four

I decide to continue playing Williams as long as he continued to play well and give his all despite his pending move, Chadwick comes in for Bowditch and Alan Smith makes the bench

-------------------Martin--------------

Otsemobor--Kay---Williams--Lewington

O'Shea------Potter---K.Smith---Chadwick

---------------Powell---Lowe--------------

subs

Mcloughlin

MacKenzie

Butterfield

A.Smith

Esajas

Bowditch

MacDonald

Well the first half was completely dire, both teams had a few half chances but really nothing worth mentioning and for the most part were just cancelling each other out in what was a scrappy game, truth be told the second half wasn't exactly full of free flowing football either but we managed to take the lead in the 65th minute, I had just decided to sub Luke Chadwick but fortunately he was still on the pitch to take this corner which he placed onto the head of Daniel Powell to put us infront and a couple of minutes later it was Chadwick's replacement Dean Bowditch who whipped in a corner this time for fellow substitute Alan Smith to head home and our third goal came from, you guessed it a corner, Bowditch whipped the ball in, Kay tried to knock it back into the middle at the back post, Macdonald's volley hit Williams and fell to Alan Smith at the penalty spot to volley home.

In all honesty we were probably the better team just about but didn't deserve to win 3-0 but its a great three points against a very good team, I'm sure the O's will be practising their defensive set pieces on monday!

full time

MK Dons 3 - Powell 65, A.Smith 68, 75

Leyton Orient 0

Beginning of February table snapshot

5.Leyton Orient 52 (9)

6.Walsall 52 (-1)

7. Notts County 51 (12)

8.MK Dons 50 (10)

9.Colchester United 50 (5)

10.Scunthorpe United 50 (2)

11. Hartlepool United 49 (4)

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03.02.13

David Martin has now signed a new deal tieing him to the club till 2016, the great news with all these new contracts are they are all at lower or equal wages to the original deals so I have managed to secure the futures of my best players whilst also cutting down my wage bill.

07.02.13

Jabo Ibhere today returned to full training following his sprained ankle sustained in his only appearance for me so far.

Carlisle United V MK Dons Npower League One Matchday Thirty-five

I make one change bringing Alan Smith in for his namesake Korey, I think K.Smith has done really well in his run in the time and bench him with heavy heart but feel A.Smith has to start after his performance against Orient as a sub.

-------------------Martin--------------

Otsemobor--Kay---Williams--Lewington

O'Shea------Potter---A.Smith---Chadwick

---------------Powell---Lowe--------------

subs

Mcloughlin

MacKenzie

Butterfield

K.Smith

Esajas

Bowditch

MacDonald

We had the first chance of the game when Shaun Williams picked out Jay O'Shea out on the right hand side with a 35 yard ball, O'Shea controlled the ball, beat his man and got down the right hand side and crossed the ball in for Powell who headed over when he should have done better, Carlisle responded immediately and not only was Berrett's free kick headed onto the bar by Lee Miller but he also managed to hit the bar from the rebound of the initial bar effort, we took the lead in the 33rd minute when O[shea's cross evaded the defence and Chadwick and Ryan Lowe was there to volley us ahead, the second half was a real battle, Carlsisle looked threatening but very rarely did anything of substance and we struggled to break through their defence but it was certainly a game where we knew we had to work for the three points.

A good solid away win and we are doing well at the minute.

full time

Carlisle United 0

MK Dons 1 - Lowe 33

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26.02.13

MK Dons V Oldham Athletic Npower League One Matchday Thirty-six

I stick with the same side that won at Carlisle, Ibhere replaces MacDonald on the bench

-------------------Martin--------------

Otsemobor--Kay---Williams--Lewington

O'Shea------Potter---A.Smith---Chadwick

---------------Powell---Lowe--------------

subs

Mcloughlin

MacKenzie

Butterfield

K.Smith

Esajas

Bowditch

Ibhere

We got off to the worst start possible when Oldham took the lead after just forty seconds, Lee Croft made a good run and cut inside with the ball and slipped in Jose Baxter who finished neatly, right now maybe we should realise the game has kicked off, we were back on level terms after quarter of an hour, O'Shea picked up the ball halfway into the Oldham half and turned his full back and was off down the right hand side and put in a good low cross for Daniel Powell to finish and we could've took the lead ten minutes later when Kay headed Williams' free kick wide but it wasn't to be long before we were infront, in the 33rd minute Powell managed to get a toe on O'Shea's cross for his second of the day then in first half stoppage time Darren Potter lofted the ball over the defence to put Powell through and the young striker blasted the ball past the keeper and into the top corner for his hattrick, we didn't mess around getting going in the second half either, two minutes in O'Shea slipped in Powell down the right hand side of the box and Powell squared the ball to his strike partner Ryan Lowe who finished well to put us 4-1 up, Oldham got one back in the 52nd minute with Carl Winchester capitalising after O'Shea failed to deal with Croft's cross but we were comfortable and saw the game out.

Another good win for the Dons, O'Shea and Powell were particularly dangerous.

full time

MK Dons 4 - Powell 15,33,45, Lowe 47

Oldham Atheltic - Baxter 1, Winchester 52

end of February table snapshot

1.Swindon Town 63 (20)

2.Preston North End 62 (16)

3.Stevenage 61 (14)

4.MK Dons 56 (13)

5.Sheffield United 56 (10)

6.Hartlepool United 56 (6)

7.Walsall 56 (0)

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02.03.13

Well we started off the month with news that I had been announced League One Manager of the month for February with Daniel Powell winning the player of the month award, I hope the manager of the month award curse doesn't come into effect against Brentford this afternoon.

MK Dons V Brentford Npower League One Matchday Thirty-seven

I stick with the same side that beat Oldham

-------------------Martin--------------

Otsemobor--Kay---Williams--Lewington

O'Shea------Potter---A.Smith---Chadwick

---------------Powell---Lowe--------------

subs

Mcloughlin

MacKenzie

Butterfield

K.Smith

Esajas

Bowditch

Ibhere

We got off to a good start and so very nearly took the lead just seconds into the game after Ryan Lowe hit the post after good work from Chadwick and it wasn't to be too long before we went infront, in the 10th minute Powell played the ball out wide for O'Shea, his first attempt at a cross was blocked but he tried again and found Lowe in the six yard box for a tap in, Brentford hit back and almost got an equaliser in the 16th minute, Martin flapped at Saunder's cross but Dallas could only head over and we then managed to control the game til half time and nearly doubled our advantage three minutes into the second half, Alan Smith played in Lowe but the experienced striker could only put it wide but twenty minutes later he did score again, volleying in Otsemobor's good cross on the turn, then with just under 14 minutes left Bowditch put a cross in, neither Korey Smith nor Saunders could cleanly win the ball and it fell to Lowe to coolly finish for his hattrick.

Another top result and what a performance from Ryan Lowe.

full time

MK Dons 3 - Lowe,10,68,76

Brentford 0

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09.03.13

Coventry City V MK Dons Npower League One Matchday Thirty-eight

I see no reason to change things with they way we've been going!

-------------------Martin--------------

Otsemobor--Kay---Williams--Lewington

O'Shea------Potter---A.Smith---Chadwick

---------------Powell---Lowe--------------

subs

Mcloughlin

MacKenzie

Butterfield

K.Smith

Esajas

Bowditch

Ibhere

We started bright and with 6 minutes gone Coventry keeper Joe Murphy made a great save from Powell after Alan Smith's pass but that was about as good as it got for us and after 27 minutes Stephen Elliott put Coventry ahead running on to Daniels' through ball and blasting past Martin, we had a host of chances throughout the first half but couldn't test Murphy, I gave them a bit of a kick up the backside at half time but it didn't seem to work and six minutes into the second half David Bell headed in Moussa's free kick, we did then look to hit back and Perone brought down Lowe in the area but the striker could only hit the post from the spot having sent Murphy the wrong way.

A bad day at the office for us.

full time

Coventry City 2 - Elliott 27, Bell 51

MK Dons 0

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12.03.13

Sheffield United v MK Dons Npower League One Matchday Thirty-nine

Big game today and having just had our good run ended by Coventry we know we need to get a good one going again now at the business end of the season, I bring in Korey Smith for Potter who could do with a rest.

-------------------Martin--------------

Otsemobor--Kay---Williams--Lewington

O'Shea------K.Smith---A.Smith---Chadwick

---------------Powell---Lowe--------------

subs

Mcloughlin

MacKenzie

Butterfield

Potter

Esajas

Bowditch

Ibhere

Well they start as you mean to go on and Sheffield United certainly did that, Martin had already pulled off a good early save and from the resulting corner Ryan Flynn found Harry Maguire to head home, the first half after that was distinctly uneventful with the only chance of note falling to Ryan Lowe who forced a great save from Mark Howard and into the second half the Blades were once again stronger and doubled their lead when Shaun Williams headed away Flynn's cross to the edge of the area and Michael Doyle slammed home the volley, we just didn't seem to create anything and it became humiliating in the 85th minute with Flynn crossing for Chris Wood to volley in and straight from kick off David Martin was slow to react to Williams' back pass and Wood nicked in to make it four.

We need to get back on track and ensure we don't waste all our hard work.

full time

Sheffield United 4 - Maguire 4, Doyle 60, Wood 85,86

MK Dons

Anthony Kay was ruled out for two weeks having picked up a bruised thigh in the game

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17.03.13

MK Dons v Portsmouth Npower League One Matchday Fourty

Right well we need to get back to winning ways for the final stretch of the season and I'd like to think a home game against bottom of the table Portsmouth is the ideal time to do that, I bring Darren Potter back in for Korey Smith and Gary MacKenzie in for the injured Kay, In other news full back Adam Chickson has returned to full training having broken his ankle before I took charge.

-------------------Martin--------------

Otsemobor--MacKenzie---Williams--Lewington

O'Shea------Potter---A.Smith---Chadwick

---------------Powell---Lowe--------------

subs

Mcloughlin

Doumbe

Butterfield

K.Smith

Esajas

Bowditch

Ibhere

Well I made it clear to the team I wanted them to real go for it and try get a good win and performance today and we started off by absolutely bombarding the Pompey goal but we couldn't take the lead until the 35th minute when Lowe got the ball wide on the left and cut inside and floated a cross in for Powell to head into the net and the same man made it two five minutes later after being played in by Alan Smith and passing into the net left footed then just as we were getting into first half stoppage time Alex Grant played a back pass to keeper Atkins but it was far too soft and Ryan Lowe capitilised to put us three ahead at the interval, the second half was very much the same with us struggling to make the most of our oppurtunities with Powell in particular missing several chances to add another matchball to his collection and we finally got the fourth in the 83rd minute when Atkins cleared straight to Korey Smith who volleyed into an empty net from 45 yards.

Got the win we wanted, could've been a lot more, hopefully back on track now

fulltime

MK Dons 4 - Powell 35,40, Lowe 45, K.Smith 83

Portsmouth 0

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30.03.13

A quiet period since the Portsmouth game, I have however appointed former Nottingham Forest player Ian Woan as a coach

Bury V MK Dons Npower League One, Matchday Fourty-one

Kay returns in place of MacKenzie

-------------------Martin--------------

Otsemobor--Kay---Williams--Lewington

O'Shea------Potter---A.Smith---Chadwick

---------------Powell---Lowe--------------

subs

Mcloughlin

MacKenzie

Butterfield

K.Smith

Esajas

Bowditch

Ibhere

39- Chadwick cross to back post, Powell heads in

54- Sweeney's free kick tipped onto bar by Martin, hits him and goes in

65- Welsh stunning dribble and goal

69- Otsemobor sent off for two yellows

89- Worrall down the right crosses for Bishop to head home

90 plus 1, Sweeney's corner Bishop volleys in

Well I wanted to build some momentum following on from the Portsmouth game but it was obvious this game wasn't going to be a vintage one right from the early stages as it showed signs of being a really scrappy affair, we did however take the lead in the 39th minute through Daniel Powell heading in at the back post from Luke Chadwick's cross and went in at the break one nil up, the second half though could only be described as a disaster, Bury equalised in the 54th minute when Martin produced an excellent save to tip Peter Sweeney's free kick onto the crossbar, unfortunately it bounced back down of Martin into the net and just over ten minutes later Bury were infront, an incredible run from Andy Welsh with the ball resulting in a fine finish and in the 69th minute things only got worse as Jon Otsemobor was sent of for a second bookable offence, the game quietened down then and Bury added insult to injury in the 89th minute when Worrall crossed for Andy Bishop to head home, turns out they wern't finished yet though as in stoppage time Bishop volleyed in Sweeney's corner to make it four.

Very peeved off with this one, we need to get going again.

fulltime

Bury 4 - Martin og 54, Welsh 65, Bishop 89,90

MK Dons 1 - Powell 39

end of March table snapshot

5.Hartlepool United 66 (7)

6.Brentford 64 (9)

7.Notts County 62 (14)

8.MK Dons 62 (11)

9.Colchester United 62 (5)

10.Walsall 62 (-2)

11.Leyton Orient 61 (11)

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01.04.13

MK Dons V Walsall Npower League One Matchday Fourty-two

Well we enter another months and I'm desperate for us not to be made April fools of today, we need a win against play off rivals Walsall after the horror show at Bury, Butterfield comes in for the suspended Otsemobor and K.Smith comes in for Potter.

-------------------Martin--------------

Butterfield--Kay---Williams--Lewington

O'Shea------K.Smith---A.Smith---Chadwick

---------------Powell---Lowe--------------

subs

Mcloughlin

MacKenzie

Chickson

Potter

Esajas

Bowditch

Ibhere

Well we got off to the perfect start and scored just 27 seconds in, there was some tentative play down the right hand side between O'Shea and Butterfield before O'Shea turned his man whipped the cross in which was cleared but only as far as Korey Smith at the edge of the penalty area and he drove home, we completely dominated possession for the remainder of the half but couldn't break through and were restricted to only long range efforts but looked to build on our lead as we came out for the second half and just a couple of minutes in Butterfield knocked a cross in and Daniel Powell hit the woodwork from a header, it wasn't to be long before Powell had his goal though and he struck in the 61st minute, chesting down O'Shea's cross before turning and finishing well, we saw out the game and I thought as well as O'Shea being a huge threat Korey Smith absolutely ran the midfield.

A good vital win, now lets get some consistancy.

full time

MK Dons 2 - K.Smith 1, Powell 61

Walsall 0

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05.04.13

Doncaster Rovers V MK Dons Npower League One Matchday Fourty-three

We've been awful away from home lately and I want that to change today, Otsemobor returns from suspension in place of Butterfield.

-------------------Martin--------------

Otsemobor--Kay---Williams--Lewington

O'Shea------K.Smith---A.Smith---Chadwick

---------------Powell---Lowe--------------

subs

Mcloughlin

MacKenzie

Butterfield

Potter

Esajas

Bowditch

Ibhere

Well we got off to an excellent start last time out and we almost did it again in this game with just 15 seconds on the clock when Powell's header hit the bar from O'Shea's cross, we didn't have to wait too long for the first goal though as it came in the 10th minute, Martin hit a free kick long and it was flicked on by Powell for his striker partner Ryan Lowe to beat two men and smash it into the top corner of Gary Woods' net. We controlled the game after that however in the 26th minute Rovers did get a bit of a break and James Coppinger spotted Martin off his line and attempted a lob from 35yard, Martin gathered this fairly comfortably or it looked like he had till he stumbled and ended up dropping the ball in his own net, he is a great keeper in general but some of his howlers are ridiculous! After that we pushed on trying to get a second but Doncaster remained resolute in defence for the entire 90 minutes, fortunately when I say 90 minutes that doesn't include stoppage time in which Ryan Lowe picked up a loose ball after a challenge between Potter and Coppinger and curled it over Woods for us to grab the winner.

superb late win, we more than deserved it on the balance of play but I can't say I saw the winner coming.

full time

Doncaster Rovers 1 - Martin og 26

MK Dons 2 - Lowe 10,90

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