'It's time' - David Prutton throws down gauntlet to Leeds United player and rubbishes Whites rumblings

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It was never going to be straightforward for Leeds United in the club's bid to get back to the Premier League, writes DAVID PRUTTON.

I know that might sound condescending to Leeds fans but it was never going to go all your own way. Looking back at the last three games since Christmas, at Preston I thought Leeds were out of sorts and Illan Meslier was quite rightly sent off.

Regardless of whether you think incidents like that are soft or whatever, it's just a red card. There are no two ways about that and it seemingly came from nothing. It wasn't like he got barged into. There was the briefest hint of a bit of contact and the next minute he's slapping their centre forward which is never going to go down well with the referee.

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As for the West Brom game, West Brom are a good team and Carlos Corberan is a good coach. There was that kind of possibly toothless nature which was again put to bed in the Birmingham game. I don't know whether that's a misnomer that one or a bit of a red herring because Birmingham aren't very good at the moment so Leeds should be beating teams such as that.

CHALLENGE: Issued to Leeds United left back Junior Firpo, top, pictured celebrating with goalscorers Crysencio Summerville, right, and Dan James, left, after Summerville's strike in the 3-0 victory against Championship visitors Birmingham City on New Year's Day. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images.CHALLENGE: Issued to Leeds United left back Junior Firpo, top, pictured celebrating with goalscorers Crysencio Summerville, right, and Dan James, left, after Summerville's strike in the 3-0 victory against Championship visitors Birmingham City on New Year's Day. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images.
CHALLENGE: Issued to Leeds United left back Junior Firpo, top, pictured celebrating with goalscorers Crysencio Summerville, right, and Dan James, left, after Summerville's strike in the 3-0 victory against Championship visitors Birmingham City on New Year's Day. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images.

In saying that, Leeds have been good at taking points from the teams that are around them and above them which is a good sign. There's no essence of being a flat-track bully. But those other games that are the real bread and butter of promotion, ie Preston, Coventry and Rotherham are the ones that you really need to put to bed. I don't think the win against Birmingham sways any doubt at such. I think it alleviates a bit of frustration off the back of what Christmas was.

But if there were any rumblings from fans of ‘Farke out’ or anything then I would say that is rubbish really because he knows how to get a team promoted and it was only a month ago that he was being hailed for what he was doing on the touchline. To get carried away from that point of view smacks of a bit of short-sightedness I think.

Looking at the table, I think the second spot is still attainable. I'm not really sure about first spot given what Leicester are doing which in theory Leicester should do. There were not many catastrophic ins and outs for them and they've got a very, very good squad.

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If Leeds end up just behind Leicester at the end of the season then you get the feeling that would possibly lead to promotion but it's just obviously getting there at this moment in time. The debate surrounding Ipswich is over performance or that kind of momentum that they've got hitting a bit of a glitch. Time will tell with that. They've been wonderful so far but Leeds showed they are equal if not better in that thumping win against them at Elland Road.

I think the second spot is absolutely still up for grabs and I wouldn't completely box off the first spot. But realistically now there are ten points between Leicester in first place and Ipswich in second and 13 between Leicester and Southampton in third place. The second spot is well up for grabs but as for the top spot, if Leicester go through the gears which it appears that they are, then they are going to be very tough to catch.

The away form with Leeds is definitely something that needs to be looked at. Championships are not won and promotion isn't attained purely by your home form and if you are not winning away then make sure you don't lose.That sounds like an obvious thing to say but that's literally what it is, that slow and steady nature of trying to get two points per game over the course of a home and away season which absolutely applies.

It's hard to pinpoint what the script is with the away form because Leeds fans travel in great numbers so there is an element of feeling at home when they are away because they make a hell of a racket. It's a strange one is that. In those respects, I think you have got to rely on potentially the experience of the manager and the senior players.

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We know that Leeds have got a squad there that can perform and that can beat the best in the division statistically. It's about the application of that against teams such as Rotherham and Coventry with the greatest respect and what they offer as a threat or when Leeds come to town.

The January transfer window is now open and from a signings point of view, Daniel changed the team up against Birmingham with Patrick Bamford coming in and playing upfront as Joel Piroe dropped out of the side.If you get Patrick back in the Patrick form that took Leeds up then happy days. There is a sense there of a player with something to prove and a freshness about him that comes with not having been over-relied on or overly used in that first half of the season.

There will also be an element of interest in Leeds' players given attack-wise what we have seen from them, in particular Crysencio Summerville given the interest in him prior to anything really happening this season. If you are Leeds, then you keep half an eye on that and if he goes then you get the right price for him but you fight tooth and nail to keep him.

After that I suppose the main talk would be about a left back or another no 10 option but Georginio Rutter played at no 10 against Birmingham and looked half decent.

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I'd like to think there was enough there between Rutter, Piroe, Dan James, Crysencio Summerville, Willy Gnonto who has not been at the races for ages and Patrick. How much more do you want? And if it comes down to just needing more and more players then at what point do you start questioning the management?

You can't just keep asking for more players. There's got to be a sensibility of working with what you've got and who you have got, especially when what you've got has won promotions before and what you've got has played in the Premier League. Unless I'm missing somebody glaringly obvious that is out there and on the market then every time you hit a problem you can't just say 'let's go and buy someone else.'

At some stage, you have to work with the players that you have got and get the best out of those players and I think if you take away the two disappointing results and performances against Preston and West Brom then you can't say that this manager hasn't got the best out of these players because he absolutely has. He really has.

There was a real dominant period that we saw when Leeds went surging up the table. It's just about a debate that we have had before where you ask 'have they given themselves too much to do with the start they had?'

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When you have that start and other teams have had an unbelievable start, it means that you simply cannot afford to slip up at all whether that means slipping up against Preston or whoever or Coventry or Rotherham. It's up to the Leeds players to put it right and the staff to put it right and I think they have got more than enough in the door already to be able to do that.

With the left back situation, how much did Junior Firpo cost? 15m euros from Barcelona. It's time we saw the best of him. I understand that sense of the jury being out on players such as that when they have not consistently been what they were brought in to do. But you have got a 15m euros player there on the bench who has shown glimpses of what he can do so train him up and make sure you get the best out of him from here on in.

Leeds have been in a position where they can spend money but you can't always just spend, spend, spend and you can't always be looking for something else. I'm not saying Firpo owes Leeds anything at all. You get bought as a player and you are in and out of the side with injuries and suspensions et cetera. But he's definitely one that needs a sustained run in the side and a sustained period of consistency which would then prove a lot of doubters wrong.

The FA Cup is next for Leeds with Sunday's third round clash at Peterborough United who are decent. If Daniel makes a load of changes to his side then, as ever, it gives people a chance to show the boss what they can do.Peterborough, from an attacking point of view, are a danger, a real danger to Leeds. They will be a real test.

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Whether that means that Leeds then end up in a position where they've got to write the cup off and say our main focus is promotion after a dodgy performance we will soon see. That's maybe me being a cynic. But the first port of call is going up, just as it was in the season that Leeds did go up. The second port of call is a decent cup run because obviously we all like the FA Cup and also from a financial point of view as any money is great money.

But it's a potential banana skin because Peterborough are a good team that can hurt you. They have got great attacking players in Ephron Mason-Clarke and Kwame Poku. Whether Jonson Clarke-Harris is still there by then I don't know. Ricky-Jade Jones is another very good centre forward. There's so much for Leeds to be wary of and for Peterborough it's a free hit.

This Peterborough side are a proper threat who have got aspirations of their own promotion as well. Beating a team such as Leeds would only help with that confidence so it's going to be very, very tough, make no mistake.