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Copy from Football Unlimited of 06/03/2006.
Leeds's triumphalist fans are already converted - and now the rest of the Championship is beginning to believe it too. They are the hot team entering the final straight, attacking a once-formidable gap which has astonishingly shrunk to only six points. It is surely enough to make Sheffield United, blowing cold, shiver even more in their second place.
Kevin Blackwell's team have 10 games left to claim a promotion place without the purgatory of the play-offs - including the visit to Bramall Lane on April 18, which promises to be the reddest of red-blooded Yorkshire occasions. Leeds may have timed it just right but you sense that their manager would have preferred a 20-match programme to convert high possibility into a footballing certainty.
Leeds made light of awkward, hard-working Crystal Palace thanks to Blackwell's team following his instructions to the letter. He asked Shaun Derry to sweep in front of the back four - "a tweaking of the formation" - partly to restrict Andy Johnson. The former Palace midfielder relished the task.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 05/03/2006.
Nothing signifies a club's good health more than top-class players wanting to join them, and perhaps the turning point in Leeds' season came in January when Liam Miller decided to resist overtures from the Premiership to extend his loan from Manchester United. The Cork-born midfielder, who has been on loan at Elland Road since November last year, could have returned to Old Trafford in the transfer window, and had interest from other top-flight clubs. But he decided to stay and help Leeds' push for promotion, which took another leap forward when they beat Crystal Palace to overtake Watford in third place and move within six points of Sheffield United, with a game in hand.
The two sides meet in six weeks' time in what Leeds manager Kevin Blackwell - formerly assistant manager of the Blades - describes as a 'massive game', certainly one that could decide the second automatic promotion place behind Reading. After watching Miller drive his side on as they extended their unbeaten run to eight games, while at the same time effectively extinguishing Palace's fading hopes of automatic promotion, Blackwell was all smiles.