Warnock is revved up to follow Revie

Portsmouth 0 Leeds United 0

Fratton Park

Don Revie's first match as Leeds United player-manager, on 16 March 1961, was against Portsmouth at Fratton Park in the old Second Division. Leeds lost 3-1, but Revie went on to become the greatest manager in the club's history, so Neil Warnock is entitled to feel optimistic after his first game fully in charge of Leeds, a goalless draw at the same venue.

The trouble is, so will everybody else. Revie did not achieve promotion to the top flight until 1964, but such is Warnock's record that it is almost taken as read that he will do it before his contract expires in summer 2013. And few seem to be writing off his chances of doing it this season.

He has earned seven promotions with six different clubs – equalling a record held by Dave Bassett and Graham Taylor – and has made the step up to the top flight that Leeds crave on three previous occasions, with Notts County, Sheffield United and Queen's Park Rangers.

Leeds, though, are a different proposition. Warnock himself described them as one of the five or six biggest clubs in the country, which creates its own pressures and expectations. "It does but at my age [63] you enjoy it," he said. "It's like you, working for The Independent having worked for [a rival] for 25 years, it's like a breath of fresh air, isn't it?"

The same enthusiasm for a new relationship is evident among his players. "The lads have taken to him straight away," Robert Snodgrass, his newly-appointed captain, said. "He's got a great footballing brain and he notices things that are dangers. He comes in at the end of the game and he pulls out the three small negatives that could have cost us the game – then straight away he's right back telling you how well you've done. I think that's what we've lacked, really, the enthusiasm and everybody pointing in the right direction. This is what I firmly believe Leeds United is about. These fans are passionate, he's passionate, so I think the two of them will click well."

Eddie Gray, the former Leeds and Scotland winger and Leeds manager, agrees. "It has fired the imagination of the Leeds fans. For all that he managed the other Yorkshire club, they have accepted that he is the man. There's no more experienced guy at getting promotion, and it's also an opportunity for him to get that record that he wants, winning more promotions than anybody else. He has a great knowledge of this league and experience in the run-in. It will be a tall order this season, there's no doubt about it, but you're only six points off the play-offs."

Saturday's result did not help close the gap, and it was just as damaging to Portsmouth, who were only spared bottom place in the table by a late goal in another game, but Warnock remains upbeat. "You never give in until it's mathematically all over but we've got to start winning games," he said.

Fixtures against seven of Leeds' promotion rivals are a challenge, but also an opportunity to force their way into the top six. "They're all pretty tough [games], but I think they're tough for the teams that are playing us," Warnock added.

"I think we showed some guts today. The first thing you've got to do in the Championship is not roll over, you've got to be prepared to put your head in, do the nasty parts of the game, the horrible parts of the game, and then you've got to take your chances to win."

That sounds like the Neil Warnock philosophy, all right. And not a million miles from the early Don Revie.

Match details



Substitutes: Portsmouth Norris (Allan, 76), Benjani (Futacs, 76). Not used: Ashdown, Harris, Webster. Leeds United Bromby 6 (Bruce, 13). Not used: Paynter, Sam, Forssell, Thompson.

Booked: Leeds O'Dea, Brown.

Man of the match Allan.

Match rating 5/10.

Possession: Portsmouth 50% Leeds 50%.

Attempts on target: Portsmouth 8 Leeds 6.

Referee P Gibbs (West Midlands).

Attendance 17,571.

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