Leeds United manager Neil Warnock has already spoken to the club’s owners about his possible successor after watching his side’s play-off hopes dealt a huge blow by West Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town.
Terriers midfielder Neil Danns volleyed home his first goal for the club in the 54th minute and although Leeds substitute Aidy White headed home with his first touch soon after, James Vaughan held his nerve to slide home an 86th-minute winner for the visitors, who triumphed 2-1.
A first home defeat for Leeds since early February following three straight draws leaves them four points adrift of the npower Championship play-offs with eight games remaining and Warnock admitted today’s loss felt “like a fatal defeat”.
“Realistically we’re running out of games and (the owners) GFH know my situation, I speak to them on a regular basis,” the 64-year-old said.
“Once we’re out of contention for the Premier League they know I won’t be having another year in the Championship.
“They’ve got to look after themselves really. We’ve spoken about my successor, about people coming in if mathematically it’s impossible to get into the play-offs.
“I’d like to think that I’d have an input on that because the job we’ve done over the last 12 months, the staff and I, I think is fantastic.
“Yes I’m frustrated because we just lack that bit of quality, a bit of midfield creativity and a bit of pace.
“We’ve sorted everything else out, but haven’t been able to sort that out and it catches up with you.”
On today’s defeat, Warnock added: “I’m obviously disappointed, but I can’t fault the players, they put everything in.
“We’ve had so many opportunities now over the last six to eight weeks to be 10 or 12 points better off.
“The problem is we’re always chasing the points to get back in there. It almost felt like a fatal defeat today because of the points situation.
“I’d love to come in and blame the players, but they’re a great bunch, they couldn’t give me more.”
Leeds hit the woodwork twice, through Luke Varney’s first-half header and Rudy Austin’s 25-yard volley in the second period, but Huddersfield match-winner Vaughan also hit the crossbar just before the break with a header.
Huddersfield manager Mark Robins described his side’s performance as “brilliant” and said the return from a long-term hamstring injury of former Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford had given his squad a big boost.
It was Robins’ third win since he replaced Simon Grayson as boss last month and lifted the club eight points clear of the relegation zone with eight games remaining.
Beckford was back on the bench and made his first appearance since January in the second half.
“I thought it was brilliant,” said Robins.
“It was a typical derby game. The referee set his stall out early doors because he booked a couple of players and I thought there might not be 11 players left on the pitch.
“We grew into the game. We were resolute in the first half, got ourselves in front and conceded a really poor goal from our perspective because we started to drop (deep) and there was no pressure on the ball.
“But we kept our heads and although we were pegged back we were still in the game and although they were throwing bodies forward we dealt with it well.”