By Noel Whelan

23rd Jan, 2021 | 6:00pm

'Shocking...Awful' - Exclusive: Whelan reacts to big Leeds development

Noel Whelan has revealed his relief after Leeds United confirmed they would re-lay the pitch in time for the home clash against Everton.

The former Leeds striker and lifelong fan at Elland Road, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, admitted the “shocking” state of the turf meant the Whites were unable to play they would like in their own ground.

As revealed by Leeds on Friday, the club are re-turfing the pitch with a new hybrid solution after heavy rainfall and snow severely impacted the old surface at Elland Road.

The decision is said to be a short-term solution before the club conducts a full pitch reconstruction, which will include the installation of a new drainage system, in the summer.

Whelan admitted he was staggered by the “awful” state of the playing surface last weekend against Brighton and that the Leeds players would be glad to see the back of it.

Whelan told Football Insider: The pitch was awful (v Brighton). The way we play football and the way we’re set up to play, the pitch is slowing you down. The grass is too long and you’ve got to put more behind every pass because it’s got to get there.

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“I think right now our best chance of winning football matches and playing the way we want to play is away from home, which is sad really because you want to have your home ground and surface as where you want to pick up the majority of your points.

“From what I saw the other day, the pitch is shocking. It’s not the groundsman’s fault, it’s just because it’s not been relaid for about 17 years, that’s the issue, it’s not to standard.

“They can’t grow the grass, the grass is too long now, or else it’s just going to cut up even more like we saw in against Brighton. It will give them more confidence knowing they’re playing on a better surface.”

In other news, Leeds United have been backed to seal a “ruthless” new signing.