THERE are question marks all over Elland Road – from the ownership, to the boardroom, to the manager’s office.
Brian McDermott was ‘sacked’ on January’s transfer deadline day, leading to a public outburst by star man Ross McCormack on Sky Sports News that night.
There were demonstrations outside the ground, with angry fans trying to stop prospective new owner Massimo Cellino from leaving the ground.
Two sponsors threatened to withdraw their backing.
Although McDermott remains at the helm, after Gianluca Festa was linked with the role, chaos has once more descended on the Yorkshire club.
With Italian Cellino’s £25m takeover still not yet ratified by the Football League, and a tax evasion case, which he denies, hanging over his head they face an uncertain future.
But Sean Dyche is in no doubt that, when it comes to matters on the playing field, there will be a definite plan of action, with Leeds looking to recover from heavy back-to-back home defeats – a 5-1 drubbing by Bolton and 4-2 loss to Reading, McDermott’s former club.
And the Burnley boss insists fending off a potential fightback will be his and his side’s preparation priority, and not the circus surrounding the opposition.
“I know the management team there, I like and respect them. They’re really hard working people and they’ll, and they’ll be thinking what they can do next to get back on track to win a game,” said Dyche, who experienced a takeover while he was manager of Watford in 2012.
A year after his appointment it resulted in his contract being ‘terminated’ by the Pozzo family, who made Gianfranco Zola his replacement, although the former Chelsea and Italy striker resigned earlier this season.
“These are the challenges of modern football,” Dyche continued.
“I’ve had an ownership change at my previous club and it happens.
“It hasn’t happened to him as in coming out of there.
“I know Brian and he certainly wouldn’t want my sympathy (for their situation).
“Sometimes these things are protracted, sometimes they take a long while, sometimes they’re really quick and it all gets cleared up.
“It’s a big club. I don’t know but I can only presume that with a big club style takeover it’s not just as simple as a handshake and it’s done.
“I presume, from the outside looking in, there are a lot of other things that need to be aligned.
“But our focus is on Leeds United football team, not what’s going on at the club.
“I’ve been at their last two games. They’ve had a couple of tough ones, particularly at home.
“No-one likes to concede that number of goals at home.
“But they’ve got a good squad so like any other team we have to make sure we’re right and ready to go. Our next challenge is the one that’s right in front of us and that’s Leeds United coming to Turf.
“We have to be ready to deliver.
“We have been, we are doing, but we have to be ready again.”
Having made his first change in nine games to reward fit-again winger Ross Wallace for a game-changing performance against Blackburn Rovers with his first start since August, Dyche looks set to be forced into another change with Danny Ings unlikely to have recovered from the knock which forced his early exit in Wednesday’s 3-3 draw at Birmingham City.
After a run of eight games with the same XI – the longest spell that he can remember in management – he described bringing in Wallace for on-loan Michael Kightly as a “massive decision”.
He added: “You can only pick 11.
“Sometimes the 11 goes along, goes hard and keeps going, like it has done, sometimes it needs a change, and it’s a change where we think it’s appropriate to change.
“There are different reasons – freshness, looking at different options, looking at different feels to the group.
“It’s not impossible but improbable that you keep going forever with the same team. Sometimes it just needs flexing.
“Barring the rub of the green of a referee’s decision it would have worked out nicely.
“Overall I thought we probably deserved to take the victory.”
Of competition for places in the wide areas, Dyche said: “It’s one of the rare parts of the team where we have got choices and I think they’re all good.
“I think there are very fine margins between the five main wide players. Ross has been out a long time and we’ve been trying to bring him back in slowly with development squad games and then bits of games.
“He has had a long-term injury though and that can take time.
“He came on last weekend and looked super sharp and had a piece in both goals, and he had a hand in the first goal at Birmingham.”