Date:Thursday April 12 2007
Andy Gray has finally shown a return to form since that awful injury against Leeds at Turf Moor back in November. That 2-1 win although we didnt know it at the time of course, would be our last win in 19 matches.
Some of the blame for that awful run was the reliance we had at the time on Andy Gray, who was (and still is) our top goal scorer at the time. The loss seemed to effect team confidence and no matter what strike options we tried we just couldnt seem to score enough to get that win on the board.
Andy Gray was out injured for nearly three months until February 2007 and his first appearance after the long recovery time was against QPR at Loftus Rd on Saturday 3rd February. That day he was named on the bench but with 25 minutes remaining, Steve Cotterill made a triple substitution with Gray,Jones and debutant Caldwell coming on to play. The match was pretty grim and we suffered a 3-1 defeat to a team with its own relegation fears at the time. The gaffer openly admitted afterwards that the introduction of Gray was more a psychological boost for the rest of the team.
Gray then featured in all the next six matches before succombing to a bug that laid him low for the Preston match. In all the games though, Gray was nothing but a shadow of his former self and failed to get on the goalsheet.
There followed a convenient no match two week break to recover and he played in the next game against Luton. A game one that most Clarets fans would not wish to remember as dire 0-0 match came to a close and the fears of a relegation loomed ever larger.
Then something miraculous happened, we found the winning touch again against Plymouth winning 4-0. Although Andy still didnt get on the scoresheet, he got accolades from both manager and fans alike putting in an impressive performance; one that has continued over the Easter period against Birmingham(A) and Cardiff(H)
Its now on every Clarets fans lips:
'Surely he has to score soon'
How fitting it is, that we now face relegation-threatened Leeds United again, this time at Elland Road on Saturday.
The last time he scored was against Leeds at home before the cruel injury, could he now repeat the goalscoring first since his return at Leeds?
How fitting would that be considering the Gray family connections with the Elland Road mob?
Andy Gray of course is the son of Frank Gray and nephew to the Leeds legend, Eddie Gray.He is also a Leeds fan and of course his first professional club was Leeds before he left for Forest in 1998 having made only 16 starts for the Elland Road team.
No doubt some will say there must be some divided loyalties in this match and I cant imagine for one minute the Gray family would want to see Leeds relegated,including Andy. However,its quite possible that the Clarets could be the architect of Leeds demise and a win against them could seal that fate. How ironic that would be if the goals that beat them were scored by Andy Gray himself.
Andy however is in no doubt about the situation and says the following:
'I've got obvious family connections to the club, I supported them when I was young and I still live in Leeds. Most of my friends are fans. It almost goes without saying that I don't want them to go down.
'I never thought it would get to this stage - their squad always seemed too good to me - and I think they'll get out of it. But it's going to be close, and relegation would be a massive blow.
'Of course it disappoints me but at the same time I'm a professional footballer and I've got a job to do on Saturday. There's no room for sentiment.
'We might look safe but I think the total of points needed to stay up will be higher than it has been for a long time.'
Date:Thursday April 12 2007
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