Blackwell cautions Leeds fans to be patient

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The Independent Online

Kevin Blackwell, the Leeds manager, has warned the club's fans to prepare for further frustration as he patiently builds his squad. The euphoria of Saturday's 1-0 win over Derby County in the Championship curtain-raiser was swiftly negated by Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at relegation-favourites Gillingham.

Kevin Blackwell, the Leeds manager, has warned the club's fans to prepare for further frustration as he patiently builds his squad. The euphoria of Saturday's 1-0 win over Derby County in the Championship curtain-raiser was swiftly negated by Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at relegation-favourites Gillingham.

Any supporters believing Blackwell's hastily-assembled squad would storm unopposed back to the Premiership have now taken a reality check. Blackwell admits he still needs at least three players to strengthen a squad, which is unlikely to click straight away given the number of new faces.

"Despite the defeat, I think we have the ability to cope with life in this division," maintained a positive Blackwell. "That was only our second game together, so I'm not concerned. If we had been battered then I would have been.

"We had plenty of possession, 63 per cent, which away from home is a good sign, yet what I have learned is that we have to be more clinical with that possession."

Blackwell is pleading for patience from the fans, adding: "I'm as impatient for success as anybody else, but I have to be clinically realistic because that's only our second full game together as a team and that takes some doing.

"I've already stated I need more players and they will be the right players because it is about a season, not a weekend or a couple of games. It's nine months and I'm determined to have good value for a season, not for just a month and repent for the other eight.

"I want good players and if I have to wait and be patient then I will do because I am building a club not just for the next couple of weeks, but the next two to three years."

Blackwell is eager to sign the West Bromwich Albion captain Sean Gregan, whose transfer request was accepted yesterday by the Midlands club. However, Leeds' lack of cash is likely to rule them out of the running.

Andy Hessenthaler, the Gillingham manager, said Leeds would need time to settle into life in the Championship. "A few years ago who would have thought Leeds would be losing a league game at Gillingham?" he said. "But it's happened. It was a massive result for us. It was very pleasing because we suffered at home at times last season. We played very well. For endeavour, desire and commitment I thought we were tremendous.

"At times I was surprised they didn't give us more of a challenge but it's a settling-in time for them now. I thought it would be nice to play them early for that reason. They've brought some very good Championship players to the club. This is a bit of a knock-back but I'm still sure they'll be OK."

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