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Copy from Football Unlimited of 07/08/2006.
It is starting to become an annual occurrence - the unexpected phone call, the frenetic dash across the country, the brief opportunity to get acquainted with new team-mates and, finally, the clean sheet to begin the season.
Tony Warner's preparations for Fulham's pre-season tour of Germany were interrupted by Leeds' urgent requirement for a fit goalkeeper on loan. "I was out shopping on Thursday in London when my agent phoned and told me to go back to the ground and pick up my boots," said the 32-year-old. "It's a case of 'get home, get your gear and get up there'. Leeds is a big club, so you can't pass up opportunities like that."
Warner delivered the game's outstanding contribution with athletic saves at the start of each half from Robert Earnshaw the highlights. Experience of being parachuted in to a new club without advance warning helps. "Last season I was at Cardiff and the same thing happened," he recalled. "I got a phone call 48 hours before the Premiership kick-off and I played the first game for Fulham. We drew 0-0 with Birmingham."
Copy from Football Unlimited of 06/08/2006.
The city of Leeds has undergone something of a renaissance since Charles Dickens once referred to it as 'the beastliest place'. Not that Norwich manager Nigel Worthington has probably noticed if this visit by his side to Yorkshire is anything to go by.
With the exception of a 15-minute patch during the second half, the Canaries completely dominated this match, creating more scoring chances than they are likely to get in their next two or three away games. Crucially, they failed to take any of them, Robert Earnshaw their chief culprit with seven misses. In his mitigation, two did hit the woodwork. Leeds took the points but they can count themselves highly fortunate; on another day they could have lost 5-1. Hard times for City? You betcha.
Big things are expected of these two sides this season following a year of contrasting fortunes last time around. Although the general consensus is that Leeds exceeded expectations by making the play-off final (where they were comfortably beaten by Watford), Kevin Blackwell knows only too well that reaching Cardiff has raised the bar in terms of fan expectations. Norwich, on the other hand, had a season to forget, with Worthington coming under increasing pressure to quit as their expected promotion challenge failed to materialise.