Leeds United are edging closer to a Premier League return having started the current Championship season well and remained in the playoff zone for most of the campaign.
At the moment and after 23 league games, the Garry Monk-led side are in 5th place, having won 13 games, drawn 2 and lost 8.
Another excellent run of form in 2017 when the last 22 games of the campaign will be played would see them finish in top 6 no doubt, but that won’t come easy with many other clubs also hoping to clinch one of the spots for a shot at Premier League promotion.
These 3 fixtures could just have a big say on Leeds United campaign for the second half of the season.
Leeds vs Derby – January 13
This early-2017 clash will determine Leeds’ resolute as far as holding on to a spot in the playoff zone goes.
Derby County are just 2 points behind Leeds and 1 point off the playoffs. A win over the Peacocks at Elland Road in some few matchdays from now will see them displace Leeds and climb up to the zone.
That happening will definitely mount a lot of pressure on Leeds, and trigger-happy Cellino could be readying some sack letters afterwards.
Derby won the first meeting between both sides in October, and have lost just 6 games. Having shipped just 15 thus far highlights their defensive capabilities and why they have kept 14 clean sheets thus far.
Leeds have one of their most important matches of their lives that day, and its result could go a long way in determining if they get that promotion or not.
Leeds vs Brighton – March 18
Another match that could shape Leeds season is the one against the current Championship leaders.
Brighton are unplayable on their day, and have lost just twice thus far. They strolled to a 2-nil victory at their home earlier this month and also boast of an impressive record on the road.
Elland Road or not, Leeds chances of winning this game are as slim as they come, but if Monk manages to pull this off and unsettles such a big side, the inspiration and belief it will give the club’s players and fans would be very huge.
They are just 8 points off the automatic qualifications spot and such victory would take them closer to it.
This isn’t necessarily a must-win for the one-time giants of English football, but it’s one they mustn’t lose either.
Newcastle vs Leeds – April 15
This is a big match going by history, and Newcastle boast of the upper hand having won 25 of the 42 meetings between both onetime English football powerhouses.
The Magpies won their last clash in November, scoring a goal in each half to hand Leeds a defeat right at the Elland Road. The Saint James’ Park isn’t that much of a stronghold considering Newcastle have lost 4 games there already this term, however, the time of this imminent battle is very crucial for both teams.
Only 4 games will be left after the clash, and the result will sure have the biggest impact on what would happen to both teams’ campaigns eventually.
Leeds can’t afford to lose at this point when they are very much likely to be either hanging on to a playoff spot or hoping to clinch one. A defeat and it could all be over.