By Wayne Veysey

29th Dec, 2016 | 10:12pm

Andy Townsend delivers verdict on Leeds after clash against Aston Villa

By Alex Stevens

Andy Townsend has claimed that Leeds are moving in the “right direction” in the wake of their 1-1 draw against Aston Villa on Thursday night.

Garry Monk’s side delivered an impressive display after soaking up the early pressure of the home side before taking the lead through a Pontus Jansson header.

Leeds, who also twice struck the crossbar through Jansson and Hadi Sacko, were on the verge of securing all three points when Liam Cooper conceded a penalty that was dispatched by Jonathan Kodjia.

Former Villa midfielder Townsend paid tribute to Monk’s resurgent team following the captivating Championship encounter.

“Leeds started the game slow and were second best,” said Townsend, as quoted by the BBC Sport website. “Once they came through that period I liked the way they controlled the game and moved forward in the second half.

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“He (Garry Monk) made two or three changes to the team but it didn’t disrupt the way they were playing. Had they gone 2-0 up Villa would have ended up with nothing.

“Leeds are a giant of a club in this league and are moving in the right direction.”

Leeds did not take the opportunity to climb to third in the table but still leapfrogged Huddersfield to secure fourth position.

Monk, who was appointed on a one-year contract during the summer, has made a huge impact at a club that stuttered to a 13th place finish last season.

Leeds have genuine ambitions of clinching a place in the play-offs, although automatic promotion is a more distant objective.

The Yorkshire giants are seven points behind second-placed Newcastle, who have a game in hand.

In other Leeds news, fans took to Twitter to pan the a 25-year-old in the wake of his performance against Villa.