FORMER Whites midfielder David Prutton believes Leeds United should approach the Championship play-offs with “nothing to fear” and unconcerned about who they face in the semi-finals.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side are facing up to end of the season four-team shootout after missing out on automatic promotion with Leeds knowing a point in Sunday’s season finale at already relegated Ipswich Town would seal a third-placed finish.
That would mean a two-legged semi-final against either Derby County, Middlesbrough or Bristol City but Prutton says United’s football ought to be effective enough to progress to the Wembley final whoever they come up against.
Fourth-placed Aston Villa and fifth-placed West Brom look likely to face off in the other play-offs semi-final though Leeds themselves would be facing Villa in the semis should they lose at Ipswich and West Brom win at Derby on the final day which would put the Baggies in third.
But a semi final clash against Derby or Middlesbrough looks most likely for the Whites and Prutton told the YEP: “I have seen Boro play defensively well this season and I have seen them play defensively not very well and not score and look pretty average.
“Leeds pulverised Derby off the back of perhaps mitigating circumstances from Derby’s point of view but whatever side Leeds come up against they shouldn’t fear. They can’t.
“You can look at Derby’s history in that they have got to the play-offs a few times but they have never managed to get through it in recent memory of the Championship.
“Leeds have got to be the team that other teams are wary and that’s what they have to show, whichever game they go into and whoever it is they come up against.”
Prutton added: “It’s difficult to pre-empt who would suit Leeds best on a two-legged basis.
“But Leeds are good enough to dominate a game both home and away because of the way that they play.
“They have played very well on the counter attack away when I have seen them away from Elland Road and I have also seen them hit it on the break at Elland Road like Hull City did to them.
“They have got to trust in the tactical nous of what Bielsa should bring to these games and he feels like the kind of manager that would relish this system of football to get promoted.
“He knows his players well enough to know that he will equip them with the type of ability and layout that they can defeat whoever they come up against.”