'Use it' - Advice for Leeds United man, hard Ipswich task and message for fans: David Prutton

It all depends on Ipswich Town now in Leeds United's automatic promotion bid, writes DAVID PRUTTON.
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Ipswich have sat there and kept their powder dry in not playing while everyone else has been cracking on of late.

Firstly, I thought Leeds were wonderfully clinical in Monday night's 4-3 win at Middlesbrough. Obviously there was a touch of fortune when it came to decisions - but that's why we love the Championship. But to a man, Leeds rode out the storm. There were question marks potentially about conceding goals but that's a chat for another day and it was just a joy to watch so I was thoroughly glad that was there.

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Now they have got to go to Loftus Road tonight and they have got to win against QPR, simple as that, because Ipswich are then in action on Saturday night at Hull City. If Leeds do lose then that says a fond farewell to Leicester who would consequently be promoted which would mean that Leeds are fighting for one spot so a win is absolutely imperative and a win against a team that is just about safe.

OPPORTUNITY: Not pressure, for Leeds United forward Joel Piroe, middle, upon injury to Patrick Bamford should the Whites no 9 miss out at QPR. Picture by David Davies/PA Wire.OPPORTUNITY: Not pressure, for Leeds United forward Joel Piroe, middle, upon injury to Patrick Bamford should the Whites no 9 miss out at QPR. Picture by David Davies/PA Wire.
OPPORTUNITY: Not pressure, for Leeds United forward Joel Piroe, middle, upon injury to Patrick Bamford should the Whites no 9 miss out at QPR. Picture by David Davies/PA Wire.

The maths are still just about in the balance for QPR but they should be okay and the work that manager Marti Cifuentes has done there since he has come in has been fantastic really so they should be safe by the end of the season. But Leeds can't rest as it's potentially the difference between finishing the season in glory a week on Saturday or needing the drama of the play-offs to get you back to where you think you belong.

To maintain those aspirations of automatic they've got to win. If they don't win then the maths does still stack for them, even if Ipswich then win at Hull. But that would put it firmly back in Ipswich's court and we all know that Ipswich have been wonderful. After only coming up last year as League One runners-up, if they climb over the line that's just a ridiculous season for them.

I still think Leeds can do it but I would dovetail that into tonight's game being an absolute must win, definitely. Any Ipswich slip up at Hull or Coventry puts it back in Leeds' hands if they beat QPR and Hull are fighting for their own potential play-off place.

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The maths also just about works for Coventry but they are nine points adrift of sixth place with three games to go and it would take Hull not to win again, Norwich not to win again and then you have got a ten goal difference swing between West Brom in fifth and Coventry in eighth.

Coventry against Hull on Wednesday night was a terrific game which swung either way. And then you have got to factor in Coventry's wonderful achievements in the FA Cup. I was gutted for them at the weekend in their semi-finals defeat on penalties to Manchester United but they gave it their absolute all. Maybe there's a sense of an emotional come down off the back of that.

But I think Hull away will be tough for Ipswich. They have got a very, very good manager in Liam Rosenior but going up against another very good manager in Kieran McKenna. They are eminently winnable games for Ipswich because we have seen Ipswich pull out some wonderful results, not just against teams that they should be beating but teams that are up there in the top half of the table.

They have also had this recent rest. Everyone else has been busy in action and Ipswich haven't and yet again they get to see the scores coming in over the weekend first, barring the Leicester one at Preston on Monday night.Leeds are apparently just about favourites to finish second with the bookmakers but the reason for that will be because they have done it before.

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Ipswich, of course, many moons ago climbed out of the Championship into the Premier League but it's been a different recent history for them. Leeds know how to get over the line so that's probably why they are marginally seen as favourites to get the second automatic promotion place. But it's still dependent on Ipswich not doing their job and if you are relying on that then that will bite you on the bum because they have done their job with bells on this year.

Team-news wise, Patrick Bamford is a major doubt for tonight's game due to a big bruise on his knee. But that means a potential opportunity for somebody else, not pressure on somebody else. It's an opportunity to get the goals that potentially get Leeds back into the Premier League at the first attempt. That's what it is.

It was a good goal that Patrick scored at Middlesbrough, well taken. He led the line well and was part of a very good attacking performance from Leeds United so he will be a miss. But we have seen Mateo Joseph do his stuff and we have seen Joel Piroe do his stuff and he is potentially chomping at the bit after not being as involved in this last third of the season as he would have liked to have been so there's your options.

We also know what Georginio Rutter can do. He seems to be stepping up at the right time again and he was another player that had a good game on Monday. There's plenty of options but that's what Leeds have got, strength in depth. They have got a great squad and they need to use it.

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My final message to Leeds United's fans would be do what you have always done. You have been there with bells on through thick and thin. That's not just the case over the course of the last couple of decades but through the ebbs and flows over the season.

Seeing them underneath the studio at Boro going absolutely bananas when the goals went in was just the most joyful thing you could possibly wish for in football, a large fan base being pleased by its very highly regarded players that have come through different tests this season.

Now it's the last couple of final tests and all they can do is do their thing. If the footballing gods are on their side then potentially it's theirs to go up in the automatics. And if not, you go again in the playoffs. That sounds a bit flippant. But now's the time to be professional, to be cold and calculating from the players' point of view. From the Leeds' fans point of view, it's just bring the noise, that's what it is.

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