Barry Douglas admitted he was experiencing a “unique” atmosphere at Leeds United as he set his sights on a second Championship promotion in two seasons.
The left-back, who claimed a title medal with Wolverhampton Wanderers last term, said the camaraderie at Leeds was “something you rarely come by in your career” and insisted the club would not be unsettled by the results which knocked them off the top of the table on Saturday.
United had no game at the weekend following the postponement of their trip to Queens Park Rangers and dominant wins for Norwich City and Sheffield United left Marcelo Bielsa’s side in third place on goal difference.
Leeds will attempt to respond at home to out-of-form Bolton Wanderers on Saturday and Douglas is pushing to return to contention after another minor injury setback.
The 29-year-old was a major part of the Wolves team who strolled to the title last season, narrowly failing to make the Championship team of the year, but Wanderers agreed to sell him to Leeds for £3m after reaching the Premier League.
Douglas refused to draw comparisons between the two campaigns, telling LUTV: “It’s different teams and I’ve had this question 100 times but you can’t compare.
“What we’ve got this season is special and unique. The spirit we’ve got is something you rarely come by in your career. It’s a special time and hopefully we can create special memories.”
Muscular issues have restricted Douglas to one appearance since New Year’s Day and his slot at left-back has been claimed by Gjanni Alioski in his absence.
Douglas was continuing to work on his fitness while most of Bielsa’s squad took four days off last week, bidding to put himself in the frame for the place in the squad against Bolton.
The defender believes Bielsa’s players will benefit from time away, saying: “It’s been a demanding period. Going into Christmas you exert a lot of physical and mental energy so it’s good to get a few days to reset, regroup and refocus.
“I’m hopefully not far away. It’s hard for me because I’m watching as a spectator but also as one of the boys, on edge. I want to be part of it and it’s difficult because there’s nothing I can do to help.”
The Championship’s top three are separated by just two points, with Norwich out in front after routing Bolton 4-0 last weekend.
Douglas said: “It’s hard not to look at results but I don’t think it influences how we go about our business or how we look at a game.
“First and foremost it’s about ourselves and how we get on. That’s all we’re focusing on, not how other teams get on.”