By support

20th Dec, 2016 | 7:52pm

Garry Monk: This is where Leeds are compared to what I expected

By Matt Farr

Leeds manager Garry Monk believes his side are ahead of schedule in their bid to seal promotion to the Premier League.

Monk’s side head into Christmas in fifth-place in the Championship, with just two defeats from their last ten league games.

Only Newcastle and Brighton – who are first and second in the league – have accumulated more points than Leeds over the last 16 games.

Since arriving at Elland Road in the summer, Monk has transformed the club from last season’s mid-table obscurity to genuine promotion candidates, a surprise feat that continues to draw the plaudits.

Monk has had to cope with a large number of absentees to injury this season, including lead goalscorer Chris Wood, and midfield playmaker duo Pablo Hernandez and Eunan O’Kane.

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But the former Swansea boss admitted that while he is happy with the club’s progress so far this season, the club is striving to improve.

He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “I think we are ahead of schedule.

“You are trying to cram everything in in a short space but I would say this young group has had to deal with a lot in in a short space and they are fighting through it.

“You will get ups and downs but I guess we probably are ahead of schedule but I guess you would rather that than not be.

“We are in a good way and we want to get better and that’s good as well. There’s a lot of improvements to go and we’re going to keep working as hard as we can on all them.”

Kyle Bartley’s last-gasp header gave Leeds a win over Brentford last time out, and they now turn their attention to their Boxing Day clash with 11th-placed Preston.

A win would see them tighten their grip on a play-off place, as well as closing the gap on league pacemakers Newcastle and Brighton to seven points.

In other Leeds news, this Premier League defender is in-line for a January move to Elland Road.