Leeds United tipped for major U-turn on loan star as Tottenham and Newcastle eye 'next Kalvin Phillips'

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Your round-up of the latest Leeds United stories ahead of Friday's trip to Watford.

Leeds United are just three days away from returning to action, with Friday's trip to Watford signalling the start of the Championship promotion run-in. Daniel Farke's men have been top of the table since beating Millwall earlier this month and have eight games left to stay there.

A number of Leeds stars have been away on international duty over the past week or so but will start to trickle back into Thorp Arch as preparations step up for the final weeks of the campaign. In the meantime, the YEP has rounded up some of the latest stories to come out of Elland Road.

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Bate U-turn mooted

Leeds are reportedly weighing up whether to offer Lewis Bate a fresh contract amid his impressive form at MK Dons. Football Insider reports that club figures have been seriously impressed with the 21-year-old since joining the League Two outfit on loan in January.

Bate's current contract is set to expire this summer and the midfielder was widely expected to leave as a free agent. But regular football has seemingly alerted Leeds, who could make a sensational U-turn.

Since joining in a £1.5million move from Chelsea in 2021, Bate has only made five senior appearances for Leeds but has racked up 15 appearances already at MK Dons, who are chasing automatic promotion. The technical midfielder is making a great impression at Stadium MK and could now be rewarded.

Premier League eyes on youngster

Ollie Pickles has been tipped as the next Leeds academy star and is already thought to be attracting 'admiring glances' from top Premier League clubs. talkSPORT reports that Newcastle United and Tottenham are both keeping tabs on the 16-year-old.

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Pickles has caught plenty of attention as part of the Leeds under-18s squad that has progressed into the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup, where they will face Millwall on April 4. Figures inside Elland Road are thought to see him as the next star of the academy line, following Archie Gray and Manchester City-bound Finley Gorman.

Admired for his calmness in possession and long-range passing ability, midfielder Pickles has been likened to much-loved Leeds academy graduate Kalvin Phillips. He has played 14 times for the under-18s this season, developing two years above his age.