2. Paul Connolly 

Season so far: Inconsistent would be the word to sum up Paul Connolly thus far, making the opening day starting line-up that was thoroughly outclassed by Southampton.

A spell out of the team followed after Tom Lees came on against Bradford City and made an instant impression on fans and manager alike. By the start of October however, Leeds were reshuffling the defence almost every game and Connolly re-emerged at right-back in a line-up that saw Tom Lees moved to his favoured centre back position.

From thereon in, Connolly has been relatively consistent despite a couple of dodgy games where the entire defence has capitulated. Connolly tends to perform best when he’s played behind Robert Snodgrass, the recent injury of whom coincided with another dodgy patch of form for the right back.

On a good day, Connolly can be a major asset to Leeds’ defence, but during a season where Leeds’ backline has suffered constant injury problems and lacked any kind of stability, Connolly’s form has been similarly inconsistent.

Effort – C: Prone to the same dropped head syndrome our entire defence seem to be passing back and forth, but for the most part, his effort has been satisfactory.

Performance – D: Too inconsistent to receive anything higher.

Attendance – B: No injuries to speak of, although he has spent some time out of the team due to poor performance.

Overall – C: The bad performances tend to overshadow the games where he’s been pretty solid, which is harsh since a lot of those poor performances have been the collective effort of the entire defence. In the right line-up, Paul is as reliable as anyone, but he’s also guilty of letting his head drop when things aren’t going to plan. Definitely room for improvement.

28. Aidy White

Season so far: Young Aidan White has been on the fringes of first team selection for a couple of seasons now with injury putting end to any hopes in 2010/11 before he was loaned out to Oldham Athletic for the remainder of the campaign.

With games under his belt, Aidy returned determined to kick on and make 2011/12 his season. 24 appearances so far and he’s done just that. Now considered Leeds United’s first choice left back, although he has been pushing for a spot further up the field since Robert Snodgrass was ruled out through injury.

Effort – A: Everything you expect of a quality youngster, White has shown the kind of determined enthusiasm Leeds United fans love.

Performance – B: Plenty of kinks still to work out, but White is improving game on game with bursting runs down the wing becoming somewhat of a signature.

Attendance – A: No real injury problems to speak of, an ever-present in Simon Grayson’s team thus far and long may it continue.

Overall – A-: If the second half of Aidy White’s season is anything close to the first, I suspect he’ll be in the running for an end of year award.

And the rest…? 

That’s pretty much it really. Ben Parker is of course, injured – as is the norm. Tom Lees started at RB but is now considered a central defender and it’s the same story with Darren O’Dea and to a lesser extent Alex Bruce, who hasn’t featured enough to merit inclusion anyway.

  • MattScott

    Don’t you have any pictures of Paul Connolly you could use? I’m sure Alex Bruce would be flattered, but…

    • TSS

      @MattScott LOL, I didn’t even look. Googled Paul Connolly and used the first one… Will sort it.

      • MattScott

        @TSS That’s better!!

        • TSS

          @MattScott Haha, cheers. Well spotted by the way. The big number 4 on his shorts should have been a clue if I’d bothered looking. It was on Zimbio and they have it tagged as Paul Connolly, that’s why it came up in Google. Fail.

  • MattScott

    Back to the article…

    Pretty accurate. I like Connolly. I know he gets a lot of stick, but like you say, he tends to play badly when everyone else does too, and his best performances have definitely been when playing behind Snoddy.

    Aidy White is like a new player this season. He showed promise last season, but now he’s managing to last a full 90 mins he’s one of our best players. His final ball sometimes lets him down, but more often than not he gets a cross in. I like the way he & Pugh have interchanged on the left, with Pugh dropping back to cover when White goes on a run. He worked well with Townsend too. Looks promising for the rest of the season.

    Hasn’t Ben Parker been put down yet? Surely it would be the kindest thing to do?

    • TSS

      @MattScott I’m gutted for Parker, he was a really promising young player that’s had no luck whatsoever. He’s back in training looking for a loan move at the minute I think.

  • number1inyorkshire

    Are the rumours true about connolly having a spat with the manager or has he been left out cos of injury or what, either way he has been our best right back this season .said this before i would prefer pugh at left back with white left mid, i suppose stavros townsend will play there now .

    lees is the obvious stand out of the rest of the backs that have played if i had to pick one to go with him odea .

    second biggest disappointment paddy

    1st biggest disappointment O’brien having a row with the hierarchy thought him and lees could have been good together .

    Just to say parker and bromby have done nowt wrong ,parker just cos he has done owt and bromby has always done alright when asked for .

    i feel grayson ha had a strange relationship with the defence since he arrived ,whether its because he was one and he feels part of the club or what but he has never convinced me he knows whats going on there ,he has never sorted it out and i do not think its always been about money

  • TSS

    People forget the injuries we’ve had there too – it’s been constant since League One. One crisis after another, and usually long term.