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From Workington to Belgrade - 12/08/2003

From Workington to Belgrade
   Carl Cort
   Peter Reid
   Leeds United

Football has a habit of dealing the unexpected, and whilst I’m under no illusion that I’ve made it back into the first team picture, I flew out from Newcastle airport yesterday afternoon to join up with the squad in Belgrade. To be honest, I think I’ve had a half decent pre-season, my fitness has been good and I’ve been happy with my form – there’s not a lot else of could have done.

Looking back at the pre-season games, we played very well for the first 70 minutes in the defeat at Sheff Wednesday. The last 20 were very disappointing and took the shine off the earlier play. Wednesday took the game very seriously – and that helped make it a more meaningful test. We then had the trip to Hull, and I have to say that I thought the stadium was tremendous. The atmosphere created by both sets of fans was great, and again, it was a good workout for the lads. Hull are seen as a club that should be playing at a higher level, having played there all I can say it that I agree.

A reserve team then faced Workington on Friday night and followed up the 4-0 win at Hull with another 4-0 result. To be fair there was little comparison between the games. We played Workington last pre-season and the pitch isn’t the greatest. Carl Cort played well and I really feel for the guy. He hasn’t had an easy time of it, but his attitude has always been first class. No disrespect to Workington, but it’s a bit of a comedown for Corty after playing in the Malaysian friendlies and then dropping out of the first team picture. He hasn’t let this affect the way he trains and I’m sure his luck will change shortly. He’s got talent, and when he’s played in the first team he’s always done OK – his scoring record at the club speaks for itself.

For players, football can be a frustrating profession when you’re struggling to get a game. We all want to play in the first team and it can be difficult to remain focused when your path to the first's seems blocked. After tomorrow’s game in Belgrade we kick-off against Leeds on Sunday and it’s been a nightmare 12 months for them, but you can bet Peter Reid will have them fired up for our visit. They’ve lost a lot of quality – but still have some very good players left at the club. If Reidy can get their confidence back, then they’ll be OK, but if the early results don’t go their way then they’ll be in big trouble. It’s a fresh start for them though and although we were comfortable winners at Elland Road last season, I’m sure we won’t have it that easy again.

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