Don't be daft!

THE job of managing Leeds United is not a poisoned chalice. In fact, according to Colchester United boss Paul Lambert, you would be “daft” to turn down such an offer.

Carl Marston

THE job of managing Leeds United is not a poisoned chalice. In fact, according to Colchester United boss Paul Lambert, you would be “daft” to turn down such an offer.

The once mighty Leeds are the glamorous visitors to the Weston Homes Community Stadium tomorrow. A record crowd (for a U's game at the new venue) is assured, because the last remaining tickets were snapped up yesterday afternoon. It is the first sell-out of the campaign.

Leeds might be a huge club, but managers have often found it difficult to settle at Elland Road.

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The current film - “The Damned United” - focuses on Brian Clough's short stint as Leeds boss, which lasted just 44 days in 1974, while six permanent managers and four caretaker managers have taken up the role since David O'Leary left in the summer of 2002.

Simon Grayson became the third Leeds boss of last year, following in the footsteps of Dennis Wise and Gary McAllister, just before Christmas. He has since guided the Yorkshire club into the play-offs.

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“Leeds should never be in League One, or even the Championship for that matter,” insisted Lambert.

“They are a club with a great tradition and with very passionate supporters. That should ensure we have a great atmosphere on Saturday.

“I knew all about the great Leeds sides of the 1970s. They had an influx of good Scottish players, which interested me, players like Eddie Gray, Arthur Graham and Gordon McQueen.

“The new manager, Simon Grayson, has got them back to winning ways, and I wasn't surprised when he accepted the job after doing so well at Blackpool.

“You would have to be daft not to take on the Leeds job. They had a crowd of over 27,000 for the match against MK Dons, which shows the stature of the club,” added Scotsman Lambert, with reference to the attendance of 27,649 that witnessed the 2-0 home win last weekend.

The U's will be fresh from their excellent 1-0 win at third-placed Millwall on Tuesday night, achieved courtesy of Clive Platt's 84th minute winner.

It was a result that lifted the Essex club three places up to 10th in the League One table, although they are still a distant 10 points adrift of the elusive top six.

“The win at Millwall, which is a difficult place to play, has set us up for Saturday, but this was always going to be a magnificent game to play in,” continued Lambert.

“We deserved to beat Leeds (2-1) up there, although they had a different manager at the time. I certainly won't have to do much to motivate the players!

“Playing in front of a big crowd always makes a difference, and the noise generated can be terrific. Leeds will be bringing even more fans than Southend. The bigger the crowd, the better that people tend to perform.

“Our away fans were brilliant at Millwall, but we haven't been able to quite generate that sort of atmosphere here (at home),” added Lambert.

The current record crowd for a U's game at the Community Stadium is 8,651, against Southend on February 21. The capacity is 10,000.

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