By Alex Stevens
Nigel Clough has insisted Leeds United can reach a higher level in the next two seasons after their 2017 promotion dream was left hanging by a thread.
Burton manager Clough believes Garry Monk’s youthful side will continue to improve and are destined for big things in the near future.
The experienced lower-league boss delivered his judgement after his side defeated Leeds 2-1 at the Pirelli Stadium in the Championship on Saturday.
Second-half strikes from Marvin Sordell and Michael Kightly left United’s promotion bid out of their hands for the first time this season while, at the same time, virtually safeguarding Burton’s second-tier status for next season.
Despite the major blow to Leeds’ hopes of competing in next season’s Premier League, Clough insisted Monk’s side were already far exceeding this season’s expectations after five consecutive finishes of between 13th and 15th heading into this season.
“Nobody thought Leeds would be anywhere in with a chance of the play-offs this season,” Clough said, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“[Monk] said this week he was ahead of schedule and maybe in a year’s time they expect them to be in this sort of position.
“But he’s taken them from being a bottom half team to challenging for the play-offs and I think there’s a lot more to come from them in the next couple of seasons.”
Clough’s words will provide some comfort for Leeds supporters as they come to terms with the consecutive defeats that have done such damage to their play-offs hopes.
It appears that the Yorkshire giants will now have to win the final two matches of their league campaign to have any chance of securing a top-six finish.
They will also be reliant upon other sides slipping up over the next two weekends to have any chance of ending the club’s 13-year spell in the lower leagues.
In other Leeds United transfer news, it can be exclusively revealed that the club registered a new signing last month.