Andy Ritchie: Resurgent Leeds United have players and spirit to reach play-offs

Kyle Bartley
Kyle Bartley
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I THOUGHT that the spirit that Leeds United have got in the camp and the belief that they have got would carry them through against Derby County.

But it wasn’t like that. It wasn’t like they were ‘carried through’ and if it would have been 3-0 you couldn’t have had any complaints if you were a Derby fan.

I thought they were excellent and Luke Ayling has played at centre-back before anyway so he knows the position.

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But I still think Kyle Bartley is the silent one or the one that just gets about his job and the one that brings everybody together.

He is fantastic, he is having a real resurgence of form and Leeds are looking like a strong set of players now.

I know they don’t want to talk about getting promotion and stuff like that but they have got to start believing that if they can keep that togetherness that they might be able to get something this season.

Derby boss Steve McClaren was full of praise for Ronaldo Vieira and I think he is an excellent talent.

He’s all over the place, his passing is good and he can tackle when he wants to, not that I’m sure that it’s his favourite part of the game.

But he knows that in modern football you have to be able to tackle and you have to be able to tackle right.

I wasn’t even aware that Vieira was that young until a few weeks ago when I watched the Villa game when I thought ‘what a talent’.

And if he keeps going the way he is going he is going to have a lot of people chasing him and that might be one of the things they have to stave off in the future.

And Swansea must be kicking themselves that they let Garry Monk go looking at the state of affairs with the two football clubs.

I think people have already been saying it and I agree.

And I think it’s very important that Leeds get Garry tied down to a longer contract – especially if they go up.

Leeds, if they do go up, they need somebody who has been in that type of environment.

He knows the Premier League and did very well with Swansea City as their manager. And Leeds will need somebody that has got that wherewithal and know-how.

I would think that from all angles, people around the club would be telling the new co-owner Andrea Radrizzani about how important Garry’s contract is – I would hope that they are.

After Friday’s win and the rest of the weekend matches, Leeds are now third in the Championship, eight points clear of Derby in seventh and six adrift of second-placed Brighton.

And at the moment, I would say they are sure bets for the play-offs.

I am still not going to say they will go straight up through automatic promotion but the way they are looking at the moment, the way they are playing and the belief that they seem to have in the squad – anything can happen, really.

They have just got to make sure they keep that run going and the players hungry and all wanting more. ]

At the moment, it seems as though that’s what they want and when you do get that in a bunch of players it can take you a long, long way.

They have got players there that look as though they are winners and Pontus Jansson definitely looks as though he is a winner to me.

He’s one of those that seems to have that drive and he has been one of those that has come in who everybody is talking about.

He’ll be being watched by suitors as well but Garry has really got that squad working hard together and he deserves a lot of credit but the players are the ones that go out on the pitch and do what he wants them to do and they have done that very, very well.

BACKING: For Gjanni Alioski, right, pictured with Kalvin Phillips.

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