Exclusive: Former Leeds United Star Highlights Automatic Promotion Target

Former Leeds United right-back Danny Mills has outlined his desire for his old club to secure automatic promotion at the end of the season instead of going up through the play-offs, which would secure an immediate return to the Premier League.

After a shaky start to the season which saw the Whites win just two of their opening seven matches, Daniel Farke’s side have really turned around their form as the season has gone on, and go into their last 12 matches in the automatic promotion places on goal difference off the back off an impressive nine-game winning streak in the Championship.

Speaking to The Real EFL in an exclusive interview, via 888 Sport, Mills indicated that with their strong squad, it was inevitable that Leeds would end up towards the top end of the table.

“It was a difficult start for them, but now they’ve put themselves right in the mix.

“Leicester, Southampton and Leeds have the strongest squads and more often than not, the team with the better players end up top of the league.”

Mills made over 100 appearances for The Whites in his illustrious career and was part of the 2001 side that reached the UEFA Champions League semi-final. Having been in the same similar sort of position as a player, the 46-year-old was keen to add that automatic promotion must be the aim for Daniel Farke’s side to avoid the lottery of trying to gain promotion through the playoffs.

“You don’t want to be in the playoffs because it’s jeopardy, one bad decision could cost you.

“If you can get promoted with a few games to go and finish second, that’s the best feeling on the planet.”

Leeds United head to Premier League giants Chelsea this evening for their fifth round FA Cup tie and whilst nothing is expected of them, with the hosts being clear favourites, causing an upset would add a very impressive cup quarter-final to a brilliant season.

Focusing on the league campaign, however, Farke’s men have a very favourable run of fixtures in the coming weeks, with the West Yorkshire derby against Huddersfield Town taking place this Saturday at lunchtime live on Sky Sports which is followed by matches against Stoke City, Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday, all of whom are fighting to stave off relegation.

Farke’s men will be hoping that those fixtures can see them pull away from Ipswich Town who are hot on their tails in the race to finish second and Mills further highlighted the importance of making the most of favourable fixtures, with The Tractor Boys also hitting form at the right time, having won their last four matches.

“It’s going to be tight from now until the end of the season.

“Ipswich dropping out of the top 2 has lifted the pressure off them and now they can go back to playing with a bit more freedom.”

So overall, a massive few weeks are on the horizon for sleeping giants Leeds United, who will be desperate to secure an immediate promotion back to the Premier League in their final 12 matches. Nevertheless, as Mills says, they really should be looking to secure their place in next season’s top flight automatically, without the stress and lottery of the playoffs.

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