Leeds United: Clarets test will be good benchmark - Lorimer

Leeds United and Burnley no longer share a particularly fierce rivalry – not one that dominates the thoughts of either club – but there was a time when the Clarets were a team to beat.

Back in the 1960s, the Lancashire side were big on youth development and some quality players came through their ranks – Willie Morgan, Dave Thomas and Steve Kindon to name a few. Unfortunately for them, they were always a selling club and cut their cloth accordingly. It was their way of staying alive.

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On the pitch, the competitive streak between us was good and healthy. It had the backdrop of Yorkshire versus Lancashire and Burnley was a game I looked forward to. Off the pitch, the relationship was far less sporting.

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Burnley's volatile chairman, Bob Lord, created bad blood between the two of us with some unsavoury comments which upset the Leeds board. The fall-out from that was bitter and games involving both clubs were always niggly affairs. For once, the players had nothing to do with it.

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Tomorrow's game at Turf Moor will be purely about football, but it might be said that there is more riding on tomorrow's match than many of the most recent meetings between the sides.

It's still too early to predict which way our respective seasons will go, but we're 20 games in and you get the feeling that both clubs are starting to feel a flicker of ambition and anticipation.

Leeds are sixth and Burnley eighth, separated by only three points. If the first half of the season is a good indication of how the second half will go, tomorrow's fixture has the makings of an important play-off battle.

Burnley's record at Turf Moor is excellent and the contrast between them and Leeds will be fascinating. They were relegated from the Premier League last season and were the only one of the three clubs who came down with no sign of crisis or financial chaos.

I always expected that their chance of promotion would be greater than Hull City's or Portsmouth's and I'd stand by that prediction.

Burnley cannot be short of a bob or two after a year in the Premier League and I'll be very interested to see if they attempt to turn the screw when the January transfer window opens.

I said last week that the Christmas period will ask a lot of Leeds, and a visit to Burnley is one of several tough games. But I had a feeling of reassurance when I saw the squad named for last weekend's victory over Crystal Palace.

Leeds have four fit strikers who you'd trust to start matches in this division. In every other area of the field they have sufficient resources for the first team and a good amount of cover too.

The one thing we know is that the club are highly unlikely to be caught short over Christmas and New Year.

The same cannot be said of every other side in the league and this is the time when a deep squad comes into play. When you're cramming in several games, the ability to change your line-up can often be worth a few extra points.

I don't like to tempt fate, but when I look at the options at Elland Road, I can only see us getting stronger from here.

Hadi Sacko

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