By support

22nd Dec, 2016 | 12:58pm

Alan Smith: I have been blown away by this Leeds key man

By Will Butcher

Alan Smith has lauded the work manager Garry Monk has done at Leeds as they sit in a lofty fifth position in the Championship.

Monk’s side are eyeing a return to the top flight for the first time since their relegation in 2004, as they collapsed to the third tier of English football due to financial difficulties.

Speaking on Sky Sports’ Premier League Daily Show on Thursday, former Arsenal striker Smith claimed Leeds were “sleeping giants” and that he is delighted to see Monk performing well as manager of the Yorkshire side.

“Monk has brought in an element of stability at Elland Road and imprinted what he wants,” Smith said. “There’s less interference from the owner.

“It has been chaotic at Leeds, but I’m pleased for him. It would be fantastic to have Leeds back in to the top flight, they’re a sleeping giant. They would be a welcome addition to the Premier League.”

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Monk has seen his side win four of their last five Championship games as they continue to launch an assault on the summit of England’s second tier.

Despite a poor start to the season, the former Swansea boss has masterminded a turn around in fortunes as the former Champions League side now sit just two points away from third.

Leeds next face Simon Grayson’s Preston on Boxing Day, as they go head to head with their former manager at Deepdale.

Three points against Preston would see Monk’s side leapfrog Huddersfield and Reading if their playoff rivals lose on December 26.

In other Leeds news, this 23-year-old ace could be tempted to sign a new contract at Elland Road despite rejecting talks earlier in the season.