Leicester City v Leeds United: My old team-mate can get Whites promoted - Walsh

Simon Grayson's love-in with Leeds United was always blindingly obvious to his old room-mate at Leicester City.

If anybody can get Leeds to the Prem, it's my mate Simon

If anyone knows what makes United's phlegmatic manager – who lets his footballing guard down to few except those in his inner sanctum – tick, it's City cult hero Steve Walsh.

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The lanky defender admitting that he quickly came to realise that white coursed through Grayson's veins and was a massive affair of the heart.

Former Foxes skipper Walsh and Grayson tasted champagne moments to help stir one of the grand old names of English football in Leicester back

to life after a decade of obscurity in the mid-nineties.

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Indeed, their pulsating play-off final victories at Wembley in 1994 and again in 1996 will be talked about in the blue quarter of the east midlands for ever and a day.

Not to mention a League Cup final victory over Middlesbrough in 1997, which yielded City's first piece of major silverware since 1964 – the precursor to several magical nights out in Europe.

Walsh believes it is halcyon moments like those that will drive on Grayson, in his own undemonstrative and no-frills way, towards recreating the glory days at his true footballing love.

A return to the Premier League is not such a distant apparition any more with United and their manager busy laying some telling foundations.

Grayson, whose second anniversary in charge at United fell yesterday, can look back on a job well done thus far, but Walsh, for one, feels he won't rest until Leeds are rubbing shoulders again with the big boys – something virtually every Whites fan believes is their birthright.

Walsh, who will be at the Walkers Stadium on Boxing Day to no doubt greet his long-time mate when he returms to his old stomping ground, said: "It's a hell of a transformation, what has gone on at Leeds.

"I know Simon very well and his work ethic and the way he does things and fair play to them.

"I'm not surprised by how well he's doing though. I know he's got what it takes to be a good manager.

"If anybody – with the passion he's got for Leeds United and where he comes from – will succeed there, it's him. One way or another, he'll do it, somehow.

"Leeds are a massive club and should be in the Premier League, really.

"He's certainly turned it around, although I didn't expect them to be doing quite as well as they are so far.

"Simon has always been Leeds and we also had this rivalry with me being from Lancashire and him Yorkshire. He was my room-mate as well and I know his family well and it's great for him.

"It's the one club that is close to his heart, along with Leicester, having played here for eight years.

"Leicester versus Leeds is always a special game for him and he'll be looking to put one over us, especially after losing to Leicester earlier on in the season.

"A lot of people (at Leeds) will be wanting to prove a point."

Sunday's clash, in front of a near full house of 32,500, is the proverbial festive cracker, with United full of confidence following a stunning nine-match unbeaten run and City bang in form on home soil following derby wins over Nottingham Forest and Derby County and a majestic 5-1 slaying of Doncaster Rovers in their last Walkers Stadium outing.

A regular at home match-days, Walsh insists City – on their day – are more than a match for anyone in the Championship, despite their current disappointing standing of 16th place.

And he says travel sickness has been the major ailment thus far with Sven Goran Eriksson's troops, City having lost their last three matches on the road, while boasting just two away wins from 11 in 2010-11 – ironically including a victory at Elland Road.

Walsh added: "Ability-wise, I've not seen a better team than Leicester this season, I really haven't.

"But we've still had a couple of hidings and the division is wide open, especially for the play-off places up from third from bottom even.

"You look at Cardiff and it just shows that if you do slip up, there's someone waiting. It shows what this league is about.

"Away from home, we seem to just be slipping up, I don't know what it is.

"Things aren't happening away, but, from the games I've seen at home, we've been playing really well.

"But Leeds will be a tough test, as Simon's really got them in shape at the moment. It should be a really interesting game.

"Always away from home, when you went to Leeds, it was going to be a test.

"In my playing days, it was a horrible place to go and get a result.

"There's a big intimidation factor with the fans and they can scare players if you are not strong enough.

"The fans alone can win results at Elland Road. I know that too well; I think I scored an own goal there once and we lost 2-1 and I headed into my own net and thought: 'The fans did that!' They scare you to death!"

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