What Leeds United should hoover up with attack change and Archie Gray argument: David Prutton

Leeds United have put themselves in an incredible position chasing an immediate Premier League return, writes DAVID PRUTTON.
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Their form in 2024 so far has been wonderful. They were probably rewarded for resilience and had more than a bit of luck last Friday with regards to the profligacy of Leicester City and the fact that they should have had a goal which was incorrectly ruled out. And then they went and made a great account of themselves down at Stamford Bridge in Wednesday night's 3-2 defeat in the FA Cup.

It's been a really positive week off the back of a positive new year and first couple of months and the gauntlet that they've picked up and cracked on has been just a joy to watch really.

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Victory at Huddersfield Town today would create a new club record of ten league games in a row and it's an ideal game given the opposition and where they find themselves. Huddersfield have got a new boss but Leeds' approach and ability to see the opposition off should really come to the fore.

YOUNG STARS: Archie Gray, left, with Mateo Joseph, centre, after Joseph's opening Leeds United goal at Chelsea, set up by winger Jaidon Anthony, right. Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.YOUNG STARS: Archie Gray, left, with Mateo Joseph, centre, after Joseph's opening Leeds United goal at Chelsea, set up by winger Jaidon Anthony, right. Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.
YOUNG STARS: Archie Gray, left, with Mateo Joseph, centre, after Joseph's opening Leeds United goal at Chelsea, set up by winger Jaidon Anthony, right. Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.

I will be intrigued to see what kind of team Daniel Farke picks because there is a real rhythm to the way that they are playing at the moment But absolutely, if you are going to go for a record then Huddersfield are the perfect side to go up against.

There will be a nice bit of bite to them given the proximity and it should be a good game. Leeds should have too much. A team that is second in the division at the kind of pace that they are going should be able to put a team to the sword that has been in a relegation battle for the duration of the season.

But as Daniel says, off the back of each and every game it is just the next game which is the most important and he will pay this as much attention and give this as much gravitas as he would the Chelsea game and the Leicester game before it. Leeds cut the gap to Leicester to six points with last Friday night's 3-1 win against them and Leeds have absolutely got a chance to win the division.

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But the other side of it is and you have got to mention them in despatches is that so have Ipswich. They are level on points with Leeds on a fraction of the budget with a set of players that were in League One last season as opposed to a set of players that were in the Premier League.

Six points is absolutely surmountable and I think it leaves not only second spot but the top spot wide open too. From us covering it and looking at it that is a wonderful thing. Leeds have got to keep themselves honest. Southampton have had a dodgy week but knowing Russell Martin like I do he will be absolutely hell bent on putting that right.

There will be changes afoot between now and then and I will be intrigued to see what that final top two looks like. We are now heading towards single digit games in a season in which Leeds have started slowly but my God have they gone through the gears and they deservedly sit in second.

Leeds actually will be in two single digit games this time next week as today's clash at Huddersfield is followed by Tuesday night's hosting of Stoke City and next Friday night's Yorkshire derby against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.

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As a run of three games, these are absolutely games where they should be hoovering up all three points a game, even though we talk about the up and down nature of the Championship and how unpredictable it is. The fact that they are keeping up that type of pace and the fact that they are being pushed all the way by Ipswich and will be getting pushed all the way by Southampton means that they have got to keep themselves honest.

And all those three teams that they are playing have got fights on their hands of their own for their own good. They are all obviously at the wrong end of the table. We've seen the form that Wednesday are in and Stoke need to put something right and quickly because under Schuey they have been in freefall in these last few weeks. The three games are by no means easy but all absolutely winnable.

Two Leeds youngsters grabbed the headlines at Chelsea in Archie Gray and Mateo Joseph. Archie is obviously naturally a midfielder but if he is to move there permanently from right back then he has got to be better than what Leeds have got in midfield at the moment and the midfield seems to be playing relatively well.

Archie has been tremendous with what he's been asked to do. I think it's really good for his football and development. I think it's a very positive sign. I was speaking to Paul Heckingbottom the other week on the Friday game and he was talking about him playing in that particular position. But he's affecting games at full-back. He affected that game on Friday and showed what he can do against Premier League opposition in the week.

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As a younger player, there is a bit of patience - patience, first and foremost to get into the team. After that it's about being able to be in the team in what you would call your preferred position. But it's doing wonderfully well so far and it's more strings to his bow. Obviously there is a caveat to that that you become a jack of all and master of none.

But what I've seen from him at full-back is ability on the ball, an engine to get up and down and pace across the ground for someone who is not 'quick' at first sight. But he is deceptively quick across the ground. He plays in a really mature way, plus he strikes me as relatively tough, which you need to be if you're going to assert yourself in midfield and assert yourself in a team.

Young striker Mateo Joseph scored twice at Chelsea and if you score two goals then you are laying down a marker. It keeps the older players on the toes, which I think is a really good thing. And in the game against Leicester, Leeds were able to bring players like Connor Roberts, Dan James and Patrick Bamford which is real strength in depth, particularly for this level.

If you then chuck Mateo in there with the confidence of scoring goals then you've got another wonderful option. That front four which seemed pretty nailed down has now grown into a front six/seven which Daniel can pick from which bodes well for attacking options between now then the season. Plus the confidence that comes from having a young player and the effervescence that comes from having a young player is just inherently a bonus.

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I fancy Leeds to do it this year and they got used to Premier League games during three years back in the top flight. But you can't get too comfortable with Premier League fixtures because it can bite you on the bum which is what it has done.

Wednesday's clash at Chelsea was a reminder of the very recent history, whereas we've seen Leeds in cup competitions in the past when they weren't in the Premier League and were spoken about as a historical football club but without that recent Premier League experience.

That was well and truly put to bed under Marcelo Bielsa and games like Wednesday night's at Stamford Bridge are the carrot to get back there - wonderful stadiums and packed houses. There are those fierce rivalries between themselves and Manchester United and Liverpool so that's what the carrot is.

I think there's been a pleasing appreciation and enjoyment of the Championship. What I kind of experienced when I was there in League One, yes, it was quaint and novel. But if you spend more than one season there then people start to get very impatient which is absolutely right.