If all had been going to plan, the Cup game against Birmingham City would be at best a pleasant diversion and, at worst, a bloody nuisance. Had Leeds been strongly positioned for the threatened promotion, the worry would be about injuries and exhaustion de-railing the important business of pushing for the Prem.
Instead, this match has assumed huge importance. The natives are restless and are turning, in increasing numbers, on Warnock, GFH Capital and scapedogs (with dogs being the operative word) like Lee Peltier. If Leeds lose this one, the howls will get louder and the pressure on the new Board to take drastic action will increase.
Ignoring his own position, Warnock has to get the monkey of poor away form off the team's back. Four straight away defeats have established a habit which must be broken if Leeds are to have any say in the stumble for the play off places over the second half of the season.
So Warnock has to go for this one. As long as the Leeds fans held on to the chimera of glory in the Capital One Fan Cup, they were happy. Never mind that they couldn't beat the likes of Charlton, they had triumphed over Everton and Southampton. And the prospect of a game against a truly big team like Tottenham would excite the natives no end. So, for the sake of the feel good factor, Warnock needs this win.
He will be confident. Why shouldn't he be? He is doing a "great job" so knocking a forlorn Birmingham out of the Cup should be a doddle. Well, if Warnock wants to keep his job, it needs to be!