Neil Redfearn says Leeds United are in for a tense and tight battle at home to Millwall tomorrow but the club’s head coach claims his eyes are fixed on the top half of the Championship after a midweek win over Reading.
Redfearn described the visit of Millwall as a chance to “put some distance between us and the bottom three” but insisted his side should be aiming to move into mid-table on the back of their recent form.
Tuesday night’s 2-0 win at Reading was Leeds’ third victory in six league games, a result which moved the club up to 17th in the Championship table.
The nature of a congested league is underlined by a five-point gap between Leeds and Millwall, the side who occupy 22nd position and the last of the relegation places, and United will climb further from harm’s way if they extend their dominance over the London club at Elland Road.
Millwall have recorded only one win in Leeds since 1988 and have failed to take anything from their last three appearances at Elland Road.
But Redfearn said a margin of three points to 12th should encourage his players to push for a top-half finish in the last 16 games, saying he wanted to “squeeze as much out of the season as we can.”
“The main issue is to stay in the division and get to the 50-point mark,” Redfearn said. “But if we can get there quickly then we need to squeeze as much out of this season as we can.
“There’s a long way to go and we’ve got to respect the division, respect the teams in it, but we can look up. Three points could take you to 12th and if you get on a run then you never know. You rule nothing out. There’s a lot of football to play and we’ve worked our socks off to get into a better position.
“Millwall will come here and fight. They’re fighting for their lives and they’re finding a bit of form. They had a great result at Birmingham and they’ve beaten Nottingham Forest away from home recently so they’ve got good players.
“The fact that it’s Millwall and we can put some distance between us and the bottom three adds more importance to it but we’ve got to take it as our next game. We’re playing with confidence and we’re at home. We want to continue our good form. That’s the importance of it.”
Leeds will have Rudy Austin and Gaetano Berardi available tomorrow after both players missed the win at Reading through illness.
Captain Liam Cooper is likely to be absent again with a hip problem, however, and Tommaso Bianchi is facing a long-term absence with a serious knee ligament injury.
Millwall kept their season alive with a 1-0 win at Birmingham City on Tuesday night and the 10 clubs between 13th and 22nd are separated by just seven points.
“It’ll be tight tomorrow and there won’t be much in it,” Redfearn said. “We’ll be working on the same premise as Millwall because that’s the way out of trouble.
“Every game recently has been tight with nothing in it. Millwall are going down the same lines. It might not be a great game but we’ve got to come out with the points.”