The Play-Off Race: Are Leeds United Still In Contention? TSS February 22, 2012 Leeds United 25 Comments Neil Warnock takes over at Elland Road with the club currently in 10th position and five points outside the play-off places. With only 14 games remaining of the 2011/12 season, is it already too late for the new Leeds United manager to rescue the situation and give The Whites a fighting chance of a Premier League return? Mathematically speaking, it’s clearly possible. Two thirds of the way through the season, the race is still wide open as every club in the division continues to suffer from turbulent form. Here’s our final fourteen games, accompanied by each of the teams current position, points from the last six and position in the form table. Current Position Last 6 (Pts) Form (Rank) Portsmouth (A) 22 4 21 Southampton 2 9 9 Hull City (A) 8 11 7 Middlesbrough (A) 6 8 12 West Ham 1 13 6 Notts Forest 21 4 23 Millwall (A) 19 5 19 Watford 17 10 8 Reading (A) 4 15 1 Derby County 15 5 20 Peterborough 18 4 22 Blackpool (A) 7 13 5 Cardiff City (A) 5 7 15 Leicester City 13 7 14 Looking at that list of upcoming games, it could all be over in the next five. An easy enough start away to troubled Portsmouth is followed by a run of four tough fixtures, which includes the current top two at Elland Road and two away trips to local rivals. If Leeds United can escape that run of fixtures with anything close to a two points per game ratio (9+ total) then based on the current form of those in the play-off mix, we should still be in the running with three winnable fixtures to follow. Even if we make it that far and are still in contention, the struggle is far from over. Away trips to Reading, Blackpool and Cardiff City are fortunately broken up by relatively easy home games which The Whites will expect to win. But it’s unlikely that those home games alone would be enough, Leeds would still need to pick points up on their travels, and by this stage, the Blackpool and Cardiff fixtures could be a crucial battle for a play-off place. Far from easy then for Neil Warnock… Can Leeds United Still Make The Play-Offs? Yes No View Results Loading ... henrymouni It would be a miracle, the way we are playing. If Mr Warnock pulls it off it will be incredible. Exciting times, indeed! TimPM They will drop points, we just have to drop 3 less matches than them of 14. That’s a big ask, but it’s possible. What count is that we show spirit (like we did last match) and get a charge on to really prepare us for next season. xzlob It’s simple maths really, we need about 6 points more from next 14 than 4 out of 7 teams above us, almost 0.5 point per game – very difficult, but possible. badras we have got the hardest run in to the end of the season but anyone can win anyone in this league and if we can finally sure up our defence we should be able to make up the points needed i would say there is only 5th and 6th place possible to get as the top 4 teams are consistent but things could change fast with a few injuries here and there .roll on may get this season over with DrD 9 wins needed for top 6, 13 for top 2.. That means all 7 home games and Portsmouth and millwall away.. At least. Need to pick up points from remainder.. No chance if we continue to play the same way as last 10 games….win the next 5 and anything is possible.. Dream on. Get behind team, massive demo at home to Leicester if season wasted.. number1inyorkshire i will tell you in May if thats ok jimmyoneeye Cardiff and Milwall away are never happy hunting grounds, but win the 6 pointers at Boro, Blackpool and Hull and you never know. I say it more in hope than expectation though. number1inyorkshire suppose the answer is its not in our own hands ,which is what every manager wants, points wise it is still possible but i think this is a signing for next season ,Warnock that is .. he will give it a go though .. glad Bates wished Grayson well he was right in his observations about him number1inyorkshire sorry forgot to mention there was always only going to 1 outcome in the poll result from the ever optimistic when it suits us leeds fans .. course we can get up as champions .. TimPM @number1inyorkshire Well I think it’s only an outside chance to get into the playoffs. But the question is “can” we make it. Realistically, there’s a slim chance and it is mathematically possible. Now if he’d asked “do you think we will make it” that’d be interesting. Tyler75 The biggest advantage we’ve got is that we play all the teams above us; effectively doubling the value of a win, proper ‘6 pointers’. All will depend on how soon NW can get us playing the way he wants and playing to our strengths; critically if he can shore up the defence we’ve got a real chance as we’ve got more than enough firepower to win games. number1inyorkshire @Tyler75 you could say its one of the big disadvantages too ,we have to win them of course draws are no good .the top 2 are very good although southampton are on a slide at the mo mattbb1 the heart says yes, the head no… the teams below 3rd are all pretty inconsistent, but i think bates fluffed it by letting redfearn manage us as long as he did. Tyler75 All valid points Colin and its going to be really tough but the only consistent thing about this year’s Championship is its inconsistency. Personally I think West Ham & Birmingham will get automatic promotion- as they should with Premier League squads and wages and in the case of West Ham, significant outlay on new players. All the play-off places are up for grabs e.g. I’d have said a few weeks ago that Cardiff were nailed on for a play-off place but they have slipped badly recently. Where you point out experienced Managers who know their squads backwards, you could alternately see a long trudge of a season and jaded players and this is where nerves start to kick in. Warnock is coming in late but brings fresh ideas to galvanise a squad in need of a lift and it will be like starting the season again – this may well work to our advantage. There’s no doubt we’ve got the talent to win games against anybody in this league. As a club we don’t do play-offs but if we get there with momentum behind us – who knows ? jimmyoneeye @mattbb1 If Bates wanted Warnock though, didnt he have to wait until after Warnock had sorted out his payoff from QPR? TimPM @jimmyoneeye @mattbb1 Yes, they’ve not been model decisions. Though looking to the future I think we can afford to be optimistic. If Warnock is backed then we’ll do well, if he isn’t then the Board will have a lot more trouble on their hands, so it’s in the interests of the Board that Warnock is successful! Tyler75 Very wise – we are Leeds fans after all and disappointment is etched into our collective DNA ! However I’d argue that in Snods, Ross, Becchio & Clayts we’ve got enough goals and quality in our side to win games – its keeping them out the other end that will decide whether we make a charge for the play-ofs or not. Masingashin If we do make the play-off and if we do get promoted the squad will need a major overhaul. Too many of the best players have gone. Does anyone think Ken will cough up? Live in hope not expectation TimPM @Tyler75 @Colin What nonsense! We had a team that more than matched my favourites for the title, Birmingham. We’ve a team (minus Gradel & Howson) that easily matched West Ham with a disappointing final result, and we’ve a team that played respectably against Arsenal. Form, given the new manager and mentality etc. means next to nothing, while goal difference is better than Brightons, and only two less than Hull and Middlesbro. If we pick up 6-8 points on these teams then it stands to reason we’ll have a better goal difference than all 3. It’s all in our hands. If our team performs as well as it can then we’ve a group of players who should fear no-one in this division. It’s unlikely we’ll get there but do the lads some credit! On another note: last 6 seasons we’d’ve needed 75 points thrice, 74 points once and 70 points twice. That means we need between 22 and 27 points from a possible 42. We could get that in 7 wins, 1 draws, and 6 defeats or 9 wins 0 draws, and 5 defeats. It’s draws that could do us over. If we go for it we stand a good chance because it doesn’t matter if we lose 5 of 14 matches according to previous results. But if we start drawing instead it’s almost as bad as a loss in the long-run! henrymouni @TimPM @Tyler75 @Colin There are e few big ‘IFs’ in there Tim:- If you can dream – and not make dreams your master; If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools: Then, you will be a Leeds United supporter, my friend! TimPM @henrymouni @TimPM @Tyler75 @Colin Haha, indeed! The key is that the rest of the season is one big “if”. It’s all in our own hands, and it’s a massive task, but it’s something we shouldn’t write off yet and something hopefully the players can enjoy chasing now that people admit that realistically it’s unlikely. And if the players enjoy chasing something, maybe it’ll help them bond into the new way of working for next season? henrymouni @TimPM @Tyler75 @Colin Very true Tim. What a change in all of us since NW has arrived. I was so low about the whole club, but now we can hope again. Before NW it felt like the team, Simon, and the fans were lost, with no sense that we could ever improve. Now, even KB sounds excited!!! Come on the boys. HampshireWhite @Colin HampshireWhite @Colin My head tells me you’re right, and the loss of Delph & Townsend weakens our midfield, however when did Leeds fans ever follow logic so: 1. Every year a team seems to come from mid-table with a strong run and make the play-offs in top form with momentum. We’re usually the ones who’ve been in the play-offs for a long time losing form at just the wrong moment – we’re in the perfect position to be the team with a run. 2. A new manager has a pick me up effect that doesn’t usually last too long, but if it gets us wins in the tough March games that could provide vitral momentum (and take points off key rivals). 3. Becchio has started scoring again after a long period recovering from injury – given NW’s love of a direct approach to a big striker, the timimg couldn’t be better. 4. Somma may be fit for the run-in as ‘super-sub’. Keep believing. MOT henrymouni @HampshireWhite @Colin Good points, but you forgot to mention our defence? We need a miracle there.