Capital One Cup
December 19, 2012
Warnock inspired by Bradford success
Neil Warnock has instructed his players to sharpen up their spot-kicks as Leeds bid to emulate local rivals Bradford by claiming a high-profile scalp in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals.
The npower Championship side welcome Chelsea to Elland Road on Wednesday night, eight days on from Bradford's famous penalty shoot-out triumph over Arsenal that booked their place in the semi-finals.
The win was the Bantams' ninth successive spot-kick triumph and Warnock is full of admiration for their exploit.
Yet he is unsure how much bearing his squad's extra practice will have on the outcome even if they manage to take Rafael Benitez's men to penalties.
"We will be practising penalties,'' he said. "(Bradford) should be teaching England. Are they English, the players taking them?
"You can't replicate it in training. I can score every time in training but I couldn't do it in front of a crowd.
"I never forgot taking one in front of a crowd. I would never ever shout at someone for missing a penalty because I wouldn't have the (bottle) to do it.''
Regardless of how long it takes to reach an outcome, Warnock is relishing the kind of eagerly-anticipated clash that used to be a staple for Leeds a decade ago.
"Win or lose, it will be a great night,'' he said. "The whole eyes of the country will be on it because there is nothing else on.
"We are taking on one of the top three clubs in country and we want to show what a good team we are.
"I don't think there will be any moments where you fall asleep watching this game.''
On-loan defender Alan Tate is unavailable while fellow loanee Jerome Thomas and captain Lee Peltier are both doubtful.
Tate is cup-tied having already taken part in the competition with Swansea and he will be replaced by Jason Pearce. Leigh Bromby, Rodolph Austin, Davide Somma and Ramon Nunez all remain sidelined.
Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge is back in training but remains doubtful.
Sturridge has recovered from his hamstring injury but Benitez is unsure if he will be available, while John Obi Mikel, Gary Cahill and Ramires are suspended.
Benitez has refused to set a comeback date for John Terry's return from a knee injury, while Oriol Romeu has been ruled out for the season following knee surgery.
Benitez revealed he will shake Warnock's hand before the game.
Warnock is unsure whether he will complete the pre-match gesture at Elland Road due to a dispute between the two dating back to 2007 when they were respective Sheffield United and Liverpool managers.
Benitez was accused by his rival of playing a weakened team that Warnock felt contributed to United's relegation from the Barclays Premier League.
"I'm professional so will do my job. I'm professional, I will behave,'' the Spaniard said.