Championship round-up: Leeds win at Preston to move up to second – SkySports

Championship round-up: Leeds win at Preston to move up to second - SkySports

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.

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.

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.

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.

Patrick Bamford double sends Leeds back into Championship top two

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.

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.

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

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.

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? 

Exclusive: Pundit fears for Leeds after Massive injury update ahead of Preston clash

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

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.

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.

“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.

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.

United have proven extremely effective themselves in recent weeks, going 10 matches unbeaten and keeping seven consecutive clean sheets until losing to Bristol City last month. The shut-out in Lancashire nearly pleased Wilder as much as David McGoldricks first-half goal.

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.

Middlesbrough move up to seventh after ending their six-match losing streak with a 2-0 win at struggling Bolton. Wanderers manager Phil Parkinson confirmed the players and management are still owed their March wages by chairman and owner Ken Anderson. We have not been paid and theres no news on that, he said. The scenario hasnt been addressed. People wont keep coming into work without the wages. People are finding it difficult to keep the club functioning properly. The lads and the staff are low.

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

Bristol City were 3-0 up within 19 minutes against fellow play-off contenders West Brom and held on despite a second-half scare. Josh Brownhill, Andreas Weimann and Jack Hunt put Lee Johnsons side in charge but it was a nervy finale after Dwight Gayle and Jay Rodriguez pulled the score back to 3-2. The first 20 minutes were as good as it gets from us, said Johnson. I just wish the lads had let me enjoy it for the rest of the game. Instead, we gave away two disappointing goals.

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

Sheffield Wednesday kept their own play-off hopes alive with a resounding 3-0 victory over Nottingham Forest. A Marco Matias double and George Boyds goal leaves Wednesday four points behind sixth-placed Aston Villa. Unfortunately games are running out but weve still got a bit to play for and who knows? said the Wednesday manager, Steve Bruce.

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.

The Blades can go back above Leeds with a victory at St Andrews but Bielsa said he was undecided on whether to watch the match. I am more interested in the result than the game, he said. We have five more games and we want five more wins. We are playing well as a group and are coping with the pressure.

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.

Derby remain outside the top six after slipping to a 2-0 defeat at Blackburn, Joe Rothwell and Bradley Dack ending Rovers run of three successive defeats. If you drop your standards in this league, if a lot of your players are not at their best, its hard to win games, said the Rams manager, Frank Lampard.

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.

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.

The post-season message Kalvin Phillips is ready to send former Leeds United team-mate Billy Sharp

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.

It swung the game dramatically in the visitors favour as they made their numerical advantage count to move two points clear of Sheffield United, and within five points of the Canaries, having now played one more game.

Preston star makes somewhat controversial Leeds United claim

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.

Former Norwich City loan player Patrick Bamford hit a second-half double as Leeds moved back into the automatic promotion places in the Sky Bet Championship with a 2-0 win at Preston.

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.

The Blades will be aiming to reclaim second spot on Wednesday evening when they travel to a Birmingham side who are still not save from relegation after being deducted nine points.

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.

Pearson was sent off for the third time this season after bringing down Bamford when he was the last man four minutes after the restart.

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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