DerbyMad: You are widely quoted as saying that pre-season results count for nothing but there must be plenty of positives to take out of the games so far?
George Burley: It’s what happens at the beginning of the season that counts but I have been very pleased. It has given us a lot of optimism as far as going into the season. We have a strong squad with plenty of competition for places. We’re a little bit frustrated at some of the injuries that we have had but that is football. Overall the preparation has been excellent.
DM: The feeling seems to be that the squad may not be bigger in numbers but quality wise is better than last term
GB: The squad is smaller than last time but we have been looking to add more quality to it. We’ve let a few players go but I feel we are stronger. We have 4 new signings who will be tremendous assets to the club, unfortunately Konjic hasn’t been involved much of late, but hopefully he will be fit within the next fortnight. Idiakez, Smith and Bisgaard have been outstanding for us though.
DM: Obviously a fully fit Junior must be like adding a new player as well.
GB: Yes Junior was injured for almost a whole season. He’s had a hard pre-season. He’s maybe not totally back to his best but he’s shown some great signs and scored some good goals. It’s good to have him back in the squad.
DM: Will it be a real culture shock for Leeds fresh out of the Premiership?
GB: Well you know for sure when you go to Elland Road that there will be 40,000 fans there and the atmosphere will be electric. They’ve signed a dozen new players so they will be up for it, but I’m going in there with a side that I have formed together in my second season here – a team that I know will work their socks off and give them a good game. It’s going to be a tough test but I am sure we will give them a run for their money.
DM: You don’t have history on your side. Derby haven’t won at Elland Road for 30 years and never managed victory over them home or away in the Premiership.
GB: That’s history. It’s the future that we are looking for. It will be a tough game. We have got to work hard. They have got the crowd. And a lot of new faces who will be up for it. I’m really looking forward to it and I have got a good feeling My players give me a good feeling and as a manager that is a good thing to have.