Neil Warnock is challenging Leeds United to claim their second major Championship scalp in succession tonight against Leicester City – who he is tipping to be champions in May.
United produced their most complete league display of the season in beating Crystal Palace 2-1 on Saturday to crown GFH Capital’s takeover of the club.
Warnock admits a similar performance is required to see off the third-placed City, seeking their fourth successive victory at Elland Road.
Warnock, who looks likely to be in the unaccustomed position of being able to field an unchanged side this evening, said: “I think Palace are in the best team in the league at the moment and now it is Leicester, who have the best squad in the league.
“I think they will probably finish at the top of the league at the end of the season, so it is a great two games for us really.
“Leicester have got a fabulous squad. Yes, they have spent a lot of money, but they still have to spend it correctly and he has some really good players. If we could finish above them, we would be automatically promoted.
“Cardiff and Leicester have spent decent money and that is why they are where they are.
“I think they will be looking forward to getting into that Promised Land really. You do need investment in this league.
“We are aware we are going to have to go on a good run at some stage now. The Leicester game will be ever so difficult and then it’s Huddersfield on Saturday.
But we have got to look forward to the games and instead of being in trepidation a little bit, we have got to welcome them now.”
Warnock has revealed he had a rewarding 45-minute chat with new owners GFH Capital after Saturday’s win over
Palace, although the theme was general and not regarding transfer specifics and a plan of attack in January.
But the Leeds boss was eager to praise the role of new United director David Haigh and executive Salem Patel in person for their assistance in getting the Jerome Thomas deal over the line ahead of the loan
deadline on Thursday.
Warnock said: “It was a good meeting. There were nothing constructive about signings or anything, just a general talk. We did not have enough time; we only had about 45 minutes and brushed around things.
“But it was a good get-together and it was great for us to put it (takeover) all to bed once and for. The chairman has taken his time, but hopefully made sure it has gone into the right hands.
“They (GFH) did help me last week and the Thomas deal would not have gone through if I had not been able to speak to the new owners urgently on deadline day. They sorted that problem out in a few minutes when I was told we probably would not be able to sign him.
“I thanked them for their help on Saturday because I know how important Thomas will be for the next five or six weeks.
“They said they were going to support me and within five minutes, it was done. That is the test.”
Warnock says it is unlikely that loan winger Thomas will complete ninety minutes this evening, with the 29-year-old played his first game since the end of April on Saturday.
Leicester striker David Nugent is set to miss out tonight with a neck injury. Definitely out is Sean St Ledger (hamstring), a rumoured target for United last season.
Former Whites winger Seb Carole has joined up with ex-Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell at Bury, having joined on non-contract terms from Knaresborough Town.