Date: 11th January 2017 at 8:00pm
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Leeds United are often regarded as ‘the sleeping giant’ of the English game, following their failure to appear in the top-flight since 2004.

This season there is real belief across their fan-base that 2017 could finally be the year they return to the promise land.

Currently sitting fifth in the Sky Bet Championship, Leeds are bang in-form- picking up 13 points from their last five games, and are looking like a team more than capable of promotion.

Key to their success so far this season has been patience with head coach Garry Monk.

It has been three years since Massimo Cellino took control of the Elland Road club, and he has worked his way through seven head coaches in this time.

Monk is looking comfortable with his surroundings and has put together one of the best Leeds teams of recent times, despite struggling during the early part of the season.

Cellino’s patience with his head coach at the start of the season is paying off and credit has to go to the owner, but more so Monk.

Following his sacking from Swansea last season, Monk took time away from management to study the game. His first transfer window saw him bring in players he had watched in this time: Luke Ayling, Kemar Roofe, Hadi Sacko and cult-hero Pontus Jansson.

The summer also saw Kyle Bartley and Pablo Hernandez arrive, players Monk had managed and played with during his time in Wales. The former Swansea defender also brought in his trusted coaching team of Pep Clotet and James Beattie.

The appointment of the latter, as first-team coach is looking like a stroke of genius. Beattie, a powerful centre forward in his playing days, has improved Chris Wood’s playing style.

Wood, who has scored 16 goals across all competitions this season, looks a lot sharper in front of goal.

Earlier this week, Cellino sold a 50% stake in the club to fellow Italian Andrea Radrizzani, and the new co-owner was quick to support his head coach, he told the club’s website:

“I am very impressed with the job Garry Monk has done this season and I will do all I can to support him and the team.”

Radrizzani must maintain faith with Monk, who has shown this season what a fine coach he is, and back him during the January transfer window.

As there is no doubt that the current Leeds team need strengthening if they are to maintain this play-off push.

It has been a long time since there has been so much optimism around Elland Road and with seemingly the right man in the dugout, 2017 could be the year Leeds United return.