ASTON VILLA boss Dean Smith says the prospect of Leeds United suffering automatic promotion heartache will have no bearing on Sunday's Championship clash at Elland Road.
Defeats to Wigan Athletic and Brentford over the Easter weekend coupled with a six-point haul for Sheffield United over the same period has left Leeds' bid for a top-two finish hanging by a thread.
Ten points from United's final four games would have sealed an automatic promotion place but the third-placed Whites are now three points behind second-placed Sheffield United who also have a vastly superior goal difference.
It means that Leeds will effectively see their automatic promotion bid ended on Saturday tea time if the Blades beat already relegated Ipswich Town at Bramall Lane considering that leaders Norwich City are also six points clear of Leeds and with a much better goal difference.
Leeds could subsequently be on course to lock horns with Villa in the play-offs with Smith's side fifth and approaching Sunday's clash at Elland Road following ten wins in a row.
Villa and Leeds could yet even meet in the play-off semi finals should the Whites be overhauled for third by West Brom.
But asked about the intensity of Sunday's clash at Elland Road if Leeds knew automatic promotion was impossible, Smith said: "I don't think it'll have an effect. They're programmed to win each game and they'll try and do that. We're exactly the same. It'll be tough, but we want the win."
Reflecting on Villa's recent progress, Smith said: "They know getting to the play-offs is not the be all and end all.
"The goal is promotion.
"Unfortunately we fell in the final last year and that's still in the minds of a lot of people here.
"But there's a lot of belief and smiles on faces here at the moment, among players, staff and fans. There's great togetherness throughout the club."