Neil Warnock will mark 25 years as a League manager when his Leeds team face Shrewsbury
Leeds United’s Neil Warnock is set to mark his 25th anniversary as a Football League manager with a nostalgic re-union with Shrewsbury Town boss Graham
Tuner when the teams face each other in the Capital One Cup at Elland Road on Saturday.
Warnock said: “Graham was the Wolves manager when I had my first game in The Football League as manager of Scarborough. He’s had a great career and I’m really looking forward to seeing him.”
That Scarborough-Wolves game, played on 15th August 1987, ended in a 2-2 draw, a result that Warnock will want his npower Championship side to better as they look to start the new season with a victory over the newly-promoted League 1 Shrews.
The Capital One Cup competition is getting underway ahead of the League season which is a move welcomed by Warnock, who sees Saturday’s First Round tie as the perfect curtain raiser to the 2012/13 campaign.
“It’s a great idea,” said the manager. “We’ll play our strongest team and it will be good for the lads to see Elland Road with a decent crowd for what will be a competitive game before we start the League season.”
Ironically, it will be against Wolves on Saturday week that Warnock will start the season with a much-changed team, the manager having signed 10 new players while continuing to release others in a massive re-shuffle.
“We had to do a major re-building job,” said Warnock, ahead of his first full season as Leeds manager, “and it couldn’t be more major than what we’ve done. Now I’m looking to enable the club to bring in one or two more players, in particular a striker.
“I hope that we can balance it so we can do that, but I have to move players out first to get players in. So, like a lot of managers have to do, I’m trying to get some wages off the wage bill to bring new players in.”
The huge turnaround of players does not match Warnock’s efforts at Scarborough. After taking over the then-non-league club in the summer of 1986, he brought in 17 new players, and how it worked – promotion to The Football League 12 months later.
Taking Leeds up to the Premier League would now be a great way for promotion-specialist Warnock to celebrate 25 years of Football League management. It would be a record eighth promotion for the 63-year old team boss.
Now with his 11th League club, and having led three of them – Notts County, Sheffield United and Queens Park Rangers – to the top flight, Warnock has a proud record but has not yet seen one of his teams win a major knock-out trophy.
Could the Capital One Cup be his first? Championship rivals Cardiff City reached the Wembley final last year and lost only on penalties to Premier League giants Liverpool, proving that you don’t have to be a top flight club to go all the way.
Promotion, as ever, will be Warnock’s top priority. But winning the Capital One Cup would be a feather in the cap that the manager would be delighted to earn. “I’d love to walk out at Wembley in the final and win it,” he said.