By Alex Stevens
Leeds are nailed on for a play-off spot this season, according to Andy Hinchcliffe.
The Sky Sports pundit and Championship expert is convinced Garry Monk’s side will finish in the top six and that the promotion places are “set in stone”.
Fifth-placed Leeds and sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday face one another in a clash of the Yorkshire titans on Saturday, with the two clubs separated by only goal difference.
There is a six-point gap between the duo and seventh-placed Fulham, who have a match in hand on the two well-supported northern clubs.
Hinchcliffe, who commentates on Championship matches for Sky Sports, is convinced that the gap is too big to bridge, even though there are 13 matches of the campaign remaining.
“The play-off positions look set in stone now,” ex-Everton defender Hinchcliffe told the Sky Sports website. “Fulham could play a part maybe, they can close the gap on Sheffield Wednesday.
“The Leeds v Wednesday game is about saying, ‘If we win this one, we are pretty much guaranteed to be in the play-offs.’
“They won’t completely relax but they will be able to budget through to the end of the season and give some players a rest.
“I think it’s very important both teams go for the win in this game. It could put some distance between themselves and Fulham because Norwich, Derby and Barnsley look out of the picture now.
“So it’s a very important game – not in terms of chasing the top two – but in cementing a play-off place.”
Leeds have a haul of 58 points from 33 matches after taking four points from their two games last week against Ipswich and Bristol City.
It helped the team get their promotion bid back on track after consecutive defeats at the hands of Huddersfield and Cardiff.