Graham spurs O'Leary on

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The Independent Football

David O'Leary has revealed one of the motivating factors behind his success since taking charge at Elland Road – proving George Graham wrong.

For O'Leary, today's Uefa Cup first-round tie against Portuguese side Maritimo on the island of Madeira represents a watershed. Three years ago, at the same stage of the same tournament, Leeds scraped through to the second round on penalties, but the match at the Estadio dos Barreiros was to be Graham's last in charge.

"George believed he was going to a better team and a better squad and with more money to spend," O'Leary said. "He felt it wasn't going to happen at Leeds, that they were top eight at best. So when I got the job, it was down to me then to prove him wrong. That's been a good goal for me."

Current Premiership leaders Leeds have reached the last four of the Uefa Cup and Champions' League in the last two seasons, while O'Leary has spent £77m in the transfer market with the promise of more to come in the next two months.

O'Leary is without the suspended Lee Bowyer and Alan Smith for both legs of the first round, following incidents in the Champions' League semi-final defeat to Valencia.

Midfielder Bowyer continues his three-match ban for stamping on Juan Sanchez in the first leg, while striker Smith is out for two-matches for his reckless lunge on Vicente in the dying moments of the return in Spain.

Midfielders Olivier Dacourt and Eirik Bakke are also out with hamstring injuries, which may lead to Stephen McPhail making his first start for 11 months.

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