Deano looks ahead to Elland Road clash- Dean Whitehead previews derby at Leeds United
- Midfielder's interview on HTTV above
- 'Deano' understands importance of derbies
Dean Whitehead knows more about playing in derbies than most – and he says the Town players will be right at it for Saturday’s at Leeds United.
The 34 year-old played in five games against Newcastle during his spell as a Sunderland player, so he knows exactly how much games against local neighbours can mean to supporters.
“All derbies for all clubs are intense. I can imagine on Saturday that Leeds will try and make it hostile for us and we’ll try and respond to that and quieten their crowd down as quickly as we can,” ‘Deano’ told htafc.com.
“It’s going to be a battle so we’ve got to be aggressive, fight and hopefully we’ll get a lot of breaks in the box. If you’re not up for a derby, you shouldn’t be playing football. We’ll be up for it and raring to go.
“Every game is vital, but we understand in local derbies are more important for both teams. Everyone wants to get one over their mates!
“We’ve been preparing as we would for a game normally and we’ll be ready. We try and win every game, so this will be no different for us.”
Weekend hosts Leeds United come into the game on the back of three straight wins and the experienced Whitehead knows the Terriers will need to be at their best at Elland Road.
“They’re a bit up and down, but they’ve got good players. One week I’d watch them and they’d be really poor and the next week they’d win two or three-nil. They’re a funny side to get hold of and assess.
“They’ve been in a bit of decent form at the moment, so I’m sure we will work to stop that on Saturday.
“We have good players too, so we’ll concentrate on ourselves and hopefully we’ll have enough to beat them.”
The two sides last played each other back in November, when David Wagner watched from the stands as United won 3-0 at the John Smith’s Stadium. Whitehead believes that score-line didn’t reflect the flow of the game.
“We had most of the ball, but then they scored their first two goals really late in the first half. That knocked the stuffing out of us and gave them real confidence and then they go and bang on in from almost 40 yards.
“This is a different game; we’re approaching the game differently. We’ve got a new boss now so we’re looking forward to it. It’s vital that we get at minimum a point, but we’re looking for three.
“I think the whole club is transforming slowly, on and off the pitch. I think, as a group, we feel we’re more professional, we train better and harder and we’ve got a style of play which we’re comfortable with.
“I think the new boss has come in and made his stamp on the way he wants us to play. We’re trying our best to carry it out the best we can and I’m sure we’ll stick to our guns. We’re confident we can win a lot of games this way.
“We’re not really focused on the teams below us. As long as we put the performances in at the levels we have done, we’ll win more games than we lose.”
Town fans have until 4pm on Friday 18 March to get their ticket for the Leeds game; there will be no pay on the day
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