'Fill your boots': Rosy outlook for Leeds United and star as good as any to step up to plate - David Prutton

Leeds United must ensure they follow up their excellent work at West Ham with more of the same against Newcastle United today.

By David Prutton
Saturday, 22nd January 2022, 4:45 am

It’s imperative they do so as it’s important to take points off teams that could potentially do you some serious harm which is exactly where Leeds and Newcastle find each other.

Leeds have got to make sure that all three points are not surrendered and that defeat is avoided at all costs.

Every game will feel like Leeds United’s biggest for some time until they are properly clear of trouble.

CAPITAL GAINS: Hat-trick hero Jack Harrison, centre, walks off with the match ball after his fine Leeds United treble in last weekend's 3-2 victory against West Ham at the London Stadium. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images.

The Whites have got games in hand and when you look at the teams above them, everybody is waxing lyrical about a team such as Brentford - but Leeds are only one point behind them having played two games less.

Aside from the rivalries that are renewed when playing somebody like Manchester United, however, games such as today’s contest against the Magpies are potentially the biggest ones in a season as you are facing another side that is also duking it out for safety.

There is also the narrative with regard to where Newcastle now find themselves after the club’s takeover. None of that will be lost on Leeds United’s fans who will want to see that their club does need that vast amount of wealth to make sure they are competitive in the Premier League.

It’s up to Leeds to show that and Marcelo Bielsa’s side certainly showed that in Sunday’s 3-2 victory at West Ham.

That now sets a standard across the board for the players that played so well at the London Stadium.

One game is too early to say that ‘Leeds United are back’ as it were.

But they will be ‘back’ if they put a run of form together that mirrors not just the performance at West Ham but also the result which is absolutely paramount.

As players and as a squad, Leeds have moved mountains to get the club back to where the fans feel they belong.

But across the board there has not been that consistency of performance nor consistency of fitness where players can do it week in, week out.

Jack Harrison is a prime example of that.

I remember watching him at New York City FC and if you would have told me that he was going to become an established Premier League player at Leeds, I possibly would not have seen it.

But there has been development under Bielsa and he has shown a commitment and dedication to his game.

With someone like Jack, we are still talking about players that are still finding their feet consistently in the Premier League.

But a game such as last weekend’s showed everything that’s good about his game and Leeds fans want more of it.

That’s not casting aspersions on what he has done this season.

It’s just that, as a collective, Leeds have set very high standards for themselves which they haven’t always scaled this season.

But last weekend goes to show that if the performance comes at the right time then they will find themselves safe at the end of the season.

Leeds will come up against their former No 9 today in Chris Wood and time will tell whether his move from Burnley to Newcastle for the money involved was the right move or whether he is a very well remunerated player in the Championship next season.

But for this game he needs a hostile reception from Leeds and he needs to be well marshalled.

Whoever is up against him defensively knows they are going to be in for a physical battle so they will have to get their head around that straight away.

But this is a chance for Leeds to show what they can do to a team in and around them that is also fighting for survival.

Unfortunately, United’s present-day No 9 Patrick Bamford has suffered a fresh injury setback which is a big blow.

But you have to find replacements, such is the immediate nature of football clubs, squads and first XIs.

You have to find people that can step in and a record signing like Rodrigo who is now back from injury himself is as good as anybody you would like to think.

It’s frustrating that Patrick will not be available but an injury always opens the door for someone else and you have got the record signing ready to go now.

Fill your boots and show us what you can do.

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