Promotion master Neil Warnock gives verdict on Leeds United’s Premier League hopes

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Leicester City are 1-0 up against Ipswich Town in the Championship promotion showdown at the time of writing

Neil Warnock believes Leeds United are “strong enough” to make an instant Premier League return.

The former Whites manager knows what it takes to earn promotion, boasting the record in English football with eight. His 1,626 games as a professional coach are also unrivalled, with Warnock's last stint in the dugout at Huddersfield Town earlier this season.

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Daniel Farke’s men are currently five points behind the leading pack in the automatic promotion places. Leicester City and Ipswich Town are facing off tonight, with Leeds’ clash against Norwich at Elland Road tomorrow providing a chance to close the gap.

A recent upturn in form has also cemented the Whites’ play-off status - for now - should they miss out on the top two. Three wins on the bounce means Leeds have a 12-point cushion on Hull City in seventh.

Another side relegated last season, Southampton, are also enjoying a resurgence. The Saints are unbeaten since September and jumped into the top two with a 3-1 away win at Swansea City on Saturday.

Speaking ahead of Leicester vs Ipswich, ex-Whites boss Warnock backed the three sides who dropped to the Championship as favourites for promotion. The 75-year-old also urged the Tractor Boys not to be too disheartened should they lose at the league leaders tonight.

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“It’s a big game but it’s not going to define Ipswich’s season,” Warnock said. “I think Leicester are going to be up there anyway, without a shadow of a doubt. They’ve got two teams that could be in the top half.

The three teams that came down are all strong enough, Southampton, Leeds and Leicester. So Ipswich are punching above their weight a little bit. I think they have to try and enjoy it. They’re going to have to defend for their lives tonight and put bodies on the line.”

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