Football: Leeds United beat Preston North End to close the gap on Norwich City | Norwich City – Eastern Daily Press

Football: Leeds United beat Preston North End to close the gap on Norwich City | Norwich City - Eastern Daily Press

Marcelo Bielsa looks to Sheffield United tomorrow as Leeds United go second

Patrick Bamfords classy brace reignited Leeds automatic promotion charge in the Sky Bet Championship.

Marcelo Bielsas side returned to second spot with a 2-0 win at 10-man Preston and now sit two points ahead of third-placed Sheffield United.

Most teams who play Leeds, I dont think they go toe-to-toe with them. Ive watched them about 20 times this tear and they blitz teams normally. We went toe-to-toe and I cant ask much more of the players.

Promotion battle is too tight to predict, says Sharp

The Blades travel to Birmingham on Wednesday, while leaders Norwich – who are five points clear of Leeds with a game in hand – host Reading.

Theyre probably the only team Ive paid a compliment to this season but I think theyre excellent and I enjoy watching them. Whatever you do against them theyve got an alternative.

Alex Neil holds hands up to Leeds Uniteds class after Deepdale defeat

The Blades head to Birmingham City tonight looking to steal a march on Leeds United in the two-way Yorkshire scrap for second place.

Pearson was dismissed while the match was goalless but Patrick Bamford came up with two goals to force the issue as Leeds followed up a strong first half by taking complete control in the second.

Leaders Norwich City, who play Reading tonight, have timed their dash for the line to perfection and are now odds-on to lift the title.

Neil admitted that Marcelo Bielsas Leeds were the only team Ive paid a compliment to this season at the end of a game which steered United back into the Championships top two.

But the White Rose tussle is proving much harder to call, a point underlined by possession of the second automatic promotion berth having changed hands a remarkable six times since the middle of last month.

The Scot was effusive in his praise of Bielsas players, admitting Preston were in trouble as soon as midfielder Ben Pearson was shown a 50th-minute red card.

Sheffield United: Chris Wilder showcases his new approach ahead of the visit to Birmingham City

This near constant chopping and changing at the top – until Norwichs recent surge in form, there had been 24 changes at the Championship summit this term – has been a new experience for Sharp with his last promotion from League One in 2016-17 seeing the Blades hit the front shortly before the turn of the year and eventually finish 14 points clear of the field.

But, as Wilder reminded on countless occasions during his latest pre-match interview, their position in the table is not an accurate reflection of the quality Monk can call upon. Marcelo Bielsas squad discovered a much when they were beaten at St Andrews over the weekend. That result, combined with Uniteds 1-0 win over Preston, saw Wilders men prepare for the contest in second ahead of Leeds trip to Deepdale tonight.

Chris Wilder delivers major Sheffield United injury update ahead of Birmingham clash

Likewise, Sharps promotion to the Premier League with Southampton in 2012 came at the end of a season where the south coast club had never been outside the top two.

I cant remember a promotion race swapping and changing like this one has in recent weeks, the United top scorer told The Yorkshire Post.

The reasoning behind the decision became clearer earlier today. Asked to comment on tomorrows opponents Birmingham City and their troubles with the English Football League, Wilder shrugged his shoulders and began talking about something else. Why risk making a tough game positively toxic by discussing politics? 

One plays the day before or at different times on the same day. That is something we cannot control. We just train well and make sure we play well.

Eleven days ago, this fixture promised to be an encounter between two of the Championships leading teams. After being handed a nine point deduction for breaching Profit and Sustainability regulations, City now enter it fighting for survival rather than play-off qualification.

Tonight completes an unusual quirk in the fixture list that has seen two promotion rivals face the same schedule in reverse.

“Hes a bright and intelligent man,”Wilder said, side-stepping the issue neatly and showering praise on Garry Monk. “Managers use whatever they can, be it people making outrageous comments or something happening to the team, to provoke a reaction and foster a siege mentality.

Wilders Blades will be hoping to prosper where Leeds United failed last Saturday, a strike from Che Adams proving enough to clinch a 1-0 victory for Birmingham City.

Sharp has spoken to Adams, alongside whom he played for a season at Bramall Lane, since the weekend. The duo texted each other on Saturday and then met the following night at the Football League awards night, both having been named in the Championship team of the year.

Also present in the capital on Sunday were Leeds duo Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips. It seems, though, talk of the ongoing scrap for promotion was off the menu.

I always had faith that I could play at a higher level but its taken a lot of hard work to get here. And yeah, I got some rough treatment – although I still get that now playing with Birmingham!

They didnt want to speak about football for some reason, said Sharp with a smile. Even though it was a football awards.

When I first got to Sheffield United, I thought I would be going into the development team or something. I didnt realise Id be straight in with the first-team squad. It was amazing.

Coops is a very good mate. He is just as professional as I am and looking forward to the challenge ahead.

Adams scored his 22nd goal of the season on Saturday as the Blues beat Leeds, allowing United to re-take second spot after triumphing over Preston at Deepdale.

Patrick Bamford double sends Leeds back into Championship top two

They have got a good chance, we have got a good chance. I have said all along, May the best team win. Hopefully that is us.

I learnt so much from training with guys like Billy Sharp. He taught me a lot about the dedication you need to succeed at this level.

Preston road closures confirmed ahead of North Ends must win clash against Leeds United

There have been times in my career when things have felt good. But this season has been a little bit more special. Top end of the Championship, playing for my home-town club as captain and playing week-in, week-out.

Leeds have seen their form take on an inconsistent nature in recent weeks and Bielsa feels that against Preston his side reached the level they have previously hit this term. "For a long time we are playing better. "Maybe the QPR game we didn’t show our level. "After this game we showed a positive performance. Birmingham we went down in performance, especially in the last 30 minutes. "The team played like we had all season." Taking all three points from the trip to Deepdale means Leeds have now moved up to second in the Championship table and into an automatic promotion spot.  

Once the unusual double-header for the Uniteds of Sheffield and Leeds is brought to an end tonight attention will turn to the weekend and a pair of home games for the promotion hopefuls.

Follow @insidefutbol Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has admitted that he wants Kemar Roofe to get back to full fitness as soon as possible, despite Patrick Bamford firing the Whites to victory at Preston North End. Bamford, starting up top, scored both Leeds' goals in a 2-0 win over Alex Neil's men, who were reduced to ten men following the sending off of Ben Pearson when the scores were 0-0.

The Blades host Millwall at 3pm after which lifelong fan Sharp will be in the unusual position of cheering on Steel City rivals Wednesday at Elland Road in the tea-time kick-off.

Roofe, who has recovered from injury, was brought on in stoppage time to replace Bamford and Bielsa has admitted he wants two fully fit strikers heading into the final games of the season. The Leeds boss told his post-match press conference: "To have all the strikers at a good level [is important].  

This always looked to be a big week, he said about both his current and past employers tackling three games in eight days. We came off the pitch against Brentford (last month), having got an amazing three points after being down to 10 men for so long.

Buzzing, Get in! – Plenty of Leeds United fans react to surprise inclusion in starting XI ahead of Preston clash

It was a crucial win. That set us up nicely to go and beat Leeds (the following Saturday). That turned things a little bit with people saying, Leeds have gone.

But we have had the same thing said about us. We have come through that and fought back. They put the pressure on us last week by beating Millwall as we lost.

Ipswich statement on Leeds United allocation as Peter Ridsdale give update on Preston ticketing issues

Then it turned around last weekend when we beat Preston. We just need to focus on ourselves, keep trying to perform to the standards we have done. We are confident we can get the result at Birmingham.

Stop toying with our emotions – These Leeds fans react to important Phil Hay player update

Jack OConnell remains a doubt with the calf injury that kept the central defender out at Deepdale.

Last six games: Birmingham City LLLLLW Sheffield United DWWWLW. Referee: D Bond (Lancashire). Last time: Birmingham City 2 Sheffield United 1; April 21, 2018; Championship.

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