Sheffield Wednesday boss Garry Monk has claimed that Leeds United are “on the right course” to get promoted this season.
Monk faces his former side at Elland Road on Saturday, knowing that a victory would likely knock them off the top of the Championship.
The Whites are level on points with West Bromwich Albion, who travel to the Valley to face Charlton Athletic on the weekend.
Wednesday sit 13 points back from the top in eighth and have had a shaky festive period–not winning in the league since Boxing Day.
The reverse fixture ended in a goalless draw at Hillsborough, continuing Monk’s impressive record against the Whites.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post ahead of Saturday’s clash, the Owls boss addressed his record and the current state of the Leeds side.
He said: “Every match brings different methods of playing.
“I have come up against their manager’s team three times–this will be the fourth.
“Of course, they are a very good side, that’s why they are top of the league.
“I have said it all along, the ambition of that club is clear, they have invested in the last couple of seasons–in their players and their squad.
He added: “Last year, I said at the start, that was the year for them, now they have had another right go for it. They will be expecting (promotion) this year.
“Our job is to focus on ourselves, and respect the strengths they have, and put a game plan in place to try and beat them.
“I think they are very similar to what they were last year. I think they would say themselves, they felt they should have done it last year and probably learned from that experience.
“Their aim is to be promoted this year, and they are on the right course. But in the three games I have had against them, we have managed to do quite well result-wise.”
A win for Leeds would likely see them retain their place at the top of the table and could mean they open up a gap over the Baggies.
Should the Owls take all three points, however, Monk’s men could climb back into the top six and may move as high as fifth.
It looks set to be an enthralling clash between two Yorkshire rivals.
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It’s interesting to hear Monk addresses his record against his former club and their promotion credentials this season.
You feel he would take some real joy out of getting one over on Leeds, particularly at Elland Road and you wonder what sort of reception he is going to get from the fans.
Without Wednesday top scorer Steven Fletcher, however, it seems like it is going to be a very hard task for the Owls. For me, Leeds win this one.