Former Ipswich manager makes Leeds United promotion claim and gives verdict on two players

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Leeds United sit fourth in the Championship after Sunday's 2-1 win over Preston North End

Mick McCarthy believes Leeds United are still more than capable of sealing a place in the Championship's top two. The Whites saw off Preston North End on Sunday afternoon, recording a 2-1 victory to move to within four points off the automatic promotion spots.

Leicester City, who take on third placed Ipswich Town this evening and Southampton currently make up the division's top two with Enzo Maresca's side sitting seven points clear at top of the table, while their south coast rivals sit above Ipswich on goal difference at the time of writing. Leeds, though, will fancy their chances of having a say on the promotion race over the second half of the season.

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Daniel Farke's side are on a four-game winning run in 2024 and with momentum on their side after Joel Piroe's stoppage time winner at Elland Road, they're looking up the table rather than down it. As such, McCarthy finds it easy to picture Leeds chasing down those above them in the coming months to reclaim their spot at English football's top two automatically.

"They could be still in the top two," McCarthy said on Talksport on Sunday. "There’s no doubt about it and winning that game today, the way that they won it right at the very end, that will be a great bonus for them, a great boost for everybody.

“I do think Bamford is a big thing for you. I don’t know what centre-forwards you’ve got, but I think Bamford when he’s right at it and fully fit, he’s been a really good player for you, he’s been injured quite a bit but he’s come back in.

“I think you need him fit and firing on all cylinders or you need somebody else who can play if he’s not doing that. The rest of the team you’ve got great movement and great pace in the team and I love Gray, I think he’s fabulous.”

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