ROBBIE WILLIAMS enjoyed a League I promotion campaign under Simon Grayson two seasons ago.
But the left-back will be aiming to slow the Leeds manager’s push towards a repeat – and boost Town’s bid to reach the Championship – when the pair come face to face in tomorrow’s big Galpharm derby.
Williams played 12 games on loan from Barnsley to Grayson’s Blackpool as the Tangerines stormed into the 2007 play-offs, and scored his fifth goal for the seaside club as Yeovil were beaten 2-0 in the final.
When Grayson, whose promotion squad also included current Town striker Keigan Parker, decided against trying to make Williams’ move permanent, then-Galpharm manager Andy Ritchie swooped.
A shin fracture sustained during his final training session with the Oakwell club meant Williams didn’t make his Town debut until the following December – when Town were drubbed 4-0 at Leeds!
Since then both the 24-year-old’s fortunes – and Town’s results against their neighbours – have improved, and tomorrow, Williams is hoping for the chance to help his team to a third successive triumph over Leeds.
He figured in both last season’s Galpharm win and November’s 2-1 victory at Elland Road, and has held off recent competition from Joe Skarz and Dominik Werling to tot up 12 successive starts.
The last of those was the disappointing 1-1 draw with Hartlepool, and Williams says Town must recapture the form that brought a 1-0 win over Peterborough a fortnight ago as they bid to get the better of another of the promotion contenders in what, given last Saturday’s Bristol Rovers postponement, is their third straight game at home.
“Peterborough was a great result for us, and even though we couldn’t follow it up by beating Hartlepool, we’re still right in the mix,” insisted the Pontefract-based player.
“We worked hard to get the goal we deserved, and even though the second half was a bit of a fight, we stood firm for a deserved clean sheet.
“Peterborough have been going well all season, but we showed we can match them, and that should give us confidence ahead of playing Leeds.
“Our home form has been good into the bargain (Town are unbeaten in seven at the Galpharm and have taken 17 of the 21 points available) and there’s no reason why we can’t get another win tomorrow.”
Of his own form, Williams, who has now made 53 Town appearances (48 of them starts) and scored four goals, said: “I’m feeling fit and strong and I’m enjoying my football.
“I think I’ve really benefited from the run of games I’ve had, but given the competition we have at this club, I know I have to stay on my toes.”