DAVID Prutton believes Leeds United can emulate the achievements of Huddersfield Town and seal a long-awaited return to the Premier League in Thomas Christiansen’s first season in charge.
Leeds will begin a 14th consecutive season outside the top flight with next Sunday’s Championship trip to Bolton Wanderers which will mark Christiansen’s first competitive game in charge.
The former APOEL and AEK Larnaca boss will first oversee the club’s final pre-season friendly at home to League One outfit Oxford United at Elland Road today.
The Whites have brought in nine new recruits over the summer and are poised to add more with the club keen on three particular targets whose identities have been kept quiet.
United will line up as a somewhat unknown quantity but former Leeds midfielder and Sky Sports pundit Prutton believes the Whites could enjoy similar success to last season’s play-off winners Huddersfield.
The Terriers also took to Europe to make a managerial appointment last summer when bringing in former Borussia Dortmund reserves boss David Wagner who made a spate of new signings from the continent which helped his side finish fifth. Reading were then defeated in the play-off final and Prutton sees no reason why a new-look Leeds cannot enjoy similar success.
Prutton told the YEP: “When you look at who went up last year, you had two teams that were a bit of a shoe-in with Newcastle and Brighton.
“The comparisons that are made to Huddersfield won’t help Leeds United’s fans but the fact is we are now looking at Huddersfield Town in the Premier League.
“They had a great team spirit, a great work ethic, very good players, good recruitment and a manager that came in that people didn’t know so much about.
“He was given a chance and time to bed in his ideas and philosophies and they ended up being the third best team, if not at times the best, and then went up.
“So I think quite literally anything is possible.
“Andrea Radrizzani seems to be putting his money where his mouth is with regards to not only players but also buying the ground as well.
“The optimistic side of it has got to be there for Leeds and after getting so close last year then I think the minimum has got to be looking at into the play-offs. You look at the teams that have come down and Leeds is still the big hitter in that division. Play-offs has got to be a minimum.”
Prutton also believes that chairman Radrizzani must afford his new head coach plenty of time to work the oracle.
Prutton added: “It has been proven over the last few years that coaches who nobody has really heard of can come in and do really well.
“You can’t write them off at all and you have got to give them the time, patience, ability and resources to be able prove themselves.
“Then and only then can you judge the players and the management.”