By Harry Sykes

Alan Pardew has backed Leeds United to finish in the Championship top three this season.

The former Newcastle United, West Ham and Crystal Palace has been impressed by United’s strong start to the campaign.

Thomas Christiansen’s side stretched their league unbeaten run to seven matches, and nine in all competitions, as they beat Birmingham 2-0 at Elland Road on Tuesday night to climb to the top of the English second tier for the first time since Howard Wilkinson was manager in 1990.

Asked for his verdict on Leeds, Pardew told Sky Sports’s Football League programme on Tuesday night: “They look like a team that’s definitely going to be in the top three, in my opinion.”

Pardew ran the rule over Leeds after their comfortable win over 22nd-placed Birmingham lifted them above previous leaders Cardiff City, who were beaten 3-0 at Preston North End on Tuesday night.

Thomas Christiansen’s side have accumulated 17 points from seven league matches and have not conceded in their last six.

A top-three finish would not secure automatic promotion, as that is only for the teams who seal a position in the top two in the Championship.

It would mean Leeds being one of four sides competing in the end-of-season play-offs.

In other Leeds United transfer news, Alvin Martin has made an astonishing claim about Christiansen’s team that fans will love.

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