By Frank McAvennie

24th Dec, 2020 | 1:00pm

Exclusive: Leeds harmed by no fans at Elland Road

The absence of fans inside Elland Road is a huge handicap for Leeds United in their fight to stay in the Premier League this season, says Frank McAvennie. 

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Aston Villa and West Ham man suggested that the lack of the famously intense atmosphere at Elland Road will be a hindrance to Leeds in their fight to beat the drop.

Leeds currently sit relatively comfortably in 14th place, seven points above the relegation zone, having won hearts and minds with their attacking playing style.

However there have been warning signs too – they have conceded the most goals in the division, including six against arch-rivals Manchester United on Sunday.

But Marcelo Bielsa has said he will not “abandon ingenuity” in their first season back in the top-flight in 16 years.

McAvennie was full of praise for Leeds but, like most of the nation, has picked up on the worrying dichotomy in Bielsa’s side’s performances: “They’re good to watch. They’re entertaining. They either all out or they get battered, don’t they?”

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Speaking to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, McAvennie recalled his experience of playing at Elland Road and went on to explain how the club’s situation will not be aided by the enforced nonattendance of fans…

“It was a great stadium to go to, the atmosphere was brilliant.

“The home support is a great advantage for them but obviously not at the moment.

“It’s a shame they’ve not seen the team back in the Premier League.

“It would be a shame if they come up and play a season in the Premier League with no fans and go straight back down. They’ve got to stay in the Premier League, at least for another year.”

With fans only allowed into sporting events in Tier 2 regions in the UK, the Leeds faithful will be praying for their district to leave Tier 3 when the government review coronavirus restrictions on 30 December.

The last chance time they got to see their team in the flesh was in March, a 2-0 win against Huddersfield Town.

In other news, Leeds have reportedly made a decision regarding the future of £15million winger.