'Terrible' - But why Leeds United peril can soon change and great striker shout: David Prutton

Leeds United's fans will have dreaded the results of last weekend, writes DAVID PRUTTON.
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We saw Leicester getting tonked by Fulham but then you look at the Everton score at Brighton and think what the hell? It was crazy really and then with Forest beating Southampton as well.

Leeds' game at Manchester City was seen as a bit of a free hit. Okay, it finished with relative jeopardy but Man City could and should have been out of sight by half time which would have painted a completely different picture.

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It all means Leeds United's position is now perilous. But Sam Allardyce has not shied away from it and he knows how vital three points against today's visitors Newcastle United would be. We are, though. looking at a Newcastle side who are in tremendous form really barring Sunday's defeat to Arsenal.

BLOW: For Leeds United's visitors Newcastle United in being without the injured Sean Longstaff, above, through injury for today's huge showdown against Sam Allardyce's Whites at Elland Road. Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images.BLOW: For Leeds United's visitors Newcastle United in being without the injured Sean Longstaff, above, through injury for today's huge showdown against Sam Allardyce's Whites at Elland Road. Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images.
BLOW: For Leeds United's visitors Newcastle United in being without the injured Sean Longstaff, above, through injury for today's huge showdown against Sam Allardyce's Whites at Elland Road. Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images.

They are now third in the table gunning for a Champions League spot and it's an unbelievable season for them considering they were looking for consolidation last year. It just means it's going to be really, really tough for Leeds.

The fact that the game is at Leeds and that it's Sam's first home game hopefully means that for the build-up and the 90-plus minutes that the trepidation can be parked a little bit but I totally understand fans nervousness coming into a game such as this.

Really, you can only quantify Big Sam's appointment and the timing of it when the season is finished. Because if Leeds get sod all from these final three games then it becomes even more of a moot point.

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It's hard to evaluate what we have seen under Sam so far and the City game because there was a huge gulf in class between City and Leeds and there should be. A team that cost nearly a billion quid to put together should be routinely pulling apart a team like Leeds.

But Leeds doggedly hung on in there although it could have been a lot different but for the post a couple of times. Then there was that brief spell towards the end where it looked like Leeds might get something out of it.

But I think Sam has led the way as we thought he would, very frank, very blunt in his assessment. There was a great interview I was listening to with Damien Delaney talking about when Sam went in at Crystal Palace and how he was very forthright and challenging and I presume he has done the same at Leeds.

He doesn't want a relegation on his CV even though the fingerprints of this go way back. But I think he's been as positive as he possibly can be without sounding unrealistic because that's the thing with Sam Allardyce, you will get realism because he knows exactly what the situation is and also how that comes across if you try and dress it up.

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Sam has said he wants Leeds to still be in with a chance of survival come the final game at home to Tottenham and obviously in an ideal world they would be safe by then. But I suppose the second worst option would be if you had your future in your own hands going into that final day and then obviously the last option is relying on other people regardless of what you do.

Now that Leeds are in the bottom three, when you have to take into account your own result and those around you, that's when the potential reality starts to hit home. But I wouldn't give up hope at all. Just as we saw Leicester are inconsistent, so are Everton.

They are not going to put five goals past teams every week and Forest as well given what we've seen for them over the course of the season. It was a helter skelter for them against Southampton but then you see that defeat away at Brentford.

All is not lost until it's mathematically impossible and without sounding too twee I always stand by that when it comes to making predictions with it. Until the maths is completely sewn up against you, you've got to retain hope.

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I could see Leeds beating Newcastle but I could also see them getting well beaten by them. Newcastle are a very good side. Sean Longstaff is out injured for them which is a blow for Newcastle and a glimmer of hope for Leeds.

I'm not for one second saying it's akin to Liverpool missing prime Steven Gerrard but he's a very good player. For Leeds, I think it will be a case of building on the positives that Sam saw against Manchester City and hoping that they can contain Newcastle.

It's a measure of how far these teams have come that I remember doing this as a Championship game up on the gantry with Leeds gunning for promotion and Newcastle just about sealing it. Now we have got a side all but looking to cement a Champions League place and Leeds looking to retain Premier League status.

It's that blink of an eye in being a fan that can go from something in the Championship to somebody in the Premier League and Leeds obviously don't want to be back in the Championship any time soon. But if they've got any hope for that then points need to be taken against these teams.

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It will be interesting to see what Sam goes with upfront. Rodrigo is the one who has scored the goals at times this season and it was a great finish from him to put Leeds back in contention at City.

But historically, until we got to this season, you couldn't really hang your hat on a Rodrigo performance and a goal. But I think it's akin to playing the players that are in form in this three-game 'mini season'. Rodrigo scored a goal at City, it was a well taken goal so why not start him? I think that's a great shout.

There's maybe a bit less pressure as well, a bit less negativity surrounding that given obviously the chances that Patrick Bamford has missed. I still maintain that a fully fit and top form Patrick Bamford is one of the first names on the team sheet but now it's about the players that are in form and who can produce this weekend and in the following two games.

Forest are at Chelsea today with Everton hosting City on Sunday and Leicester at home to Liverpool on Monday night. We are talking about some very good football teams here.

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But, in theory, if Leeds get their business done then they are out of the bottom three if results go their way come the end of the weekend.

It could all look very different come the end of the weekend and if that's how they find themselves on the end of the last day - above the bottom three - then it's job done. But they have got to concentrate on their bit and now they are in the territory of hoping that other people mess up.

That's where they find themselves and it's not by accident, nor can it can't be a surprise. They have been terrible all season and inconsistent all season which is why they find themselves in that position with less than a handful of games to go. They have got to do their job and then sit tight and see what happens in the other games and it will be the same for the next two games after that.

The potentially very small saving grace is that Leeds have teams in and around them with just as tough run ins. They are in the position now where they have got to do their business and then rely on others. That's the only way. It's a 38 game season that feels like it's going to boil down to the 38th game. If that's the way it goes, that's the way it goes. That's as brutal and as sliding doors as this league is.