By Harvey Byrne

Rafa Benitez has labelled Leeds as a “good” team and named them as a contender for promotion to the Premier League.

Benitez’ Newcastle side are sat atop of England’s second tier, one point clear of Brighton.

However, nine points separate the Magpies from third placed Reading and many are tipping both the Magpies and Seagulls for automatic promotion at this early stage.

Burton manager Nigel Clough would appear to be one of these people and he told of how the top two sides are destined for Premier League football next season.

But, Benitez himself disagrees with the view and named Leeds alongside Derby, Reading and Huddersfield as possible challengers for his Toon squad.

“I understand what he says but I don’t agree totally with him,” said Benitez, as quoted by the Chronicle.

“I don’t agree totally because I don’t think there are only two outstanding teams. Also there are Leeds and Derby who are good teams.

“Reading are doing really well. Huddersfield Town are doing really well.

“So when you talk about six points difference, or nine points difference, it’s not massive.

“As I have said so many times before, we have seven games in April. So you have to be sure that you keep being consistent because the other teams are still winning and it’s still a long race until the end of the season.”

Leeds are currently occupying fifth place in the Championship table with 11 points separating them from Newcastle.

However, given that the Yorkshire giants have earned nine points in their last four games, the Magpies will still be wary of the in form side.

Leeds now have two tricky away clashes coming in the next 10 days with Preston and Aston Villa trips scheduled and they will be eager to leave the Christmas period unscathed.

Meanwhile, Newcastle have two home encounters with Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest travelling to the north east.

In other Leeds news, fans have urged the club to sign this Premier League attacker.