By support

12th Jan, 2017 | 1:55pm

Hernandez explains why Leeds clash v Derby is most important game of season

By Harvey Byrne

Leeds attacker Pablo Hernandez has labelled his side’s next league match against Derby as the “most important game of the season.”

The Yorkshire giants are currently sat in fifth place in England’s second tier with seven points separating them from Newcastle in the automatic spots.

Meanwhile, Steve McClaren’s Rams are currently trailing Leeds by five points in seventh and will be keen to pick up all three points at Elland Road.

However, Spaniard Hernandez has highlighted the importance for Leeds in creating a gap over seventh and believes the match is the club’s most important due to it being the next scheduled fixture.

“It will be a difficult game, we know this because we lost 1-0 when we last played against Derby and they are a strong team,” told Hernandez to the official Leeds website.

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“We are focused on the next game and this is the most important game of the season because it is the next one.

“Currently I think we are in a good moment and we can get the win, we want to open a gap between us and Derby.

“It is important for us to open a gap between us and seventh, because you can play more calmly on the pitch which is a benefit to us, knowing that gap is there.

“Newcastle and Brighton are strong teams and it won’t be easy to catch them, but I think it is a mistake to think they are already guaranteed promotion.

“We all want to try and get to the Premier League this season, but we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves and we just need to take it game by game.

“It is not an easy challenge for us, but I think we have a chance if we keep continuing in the positive way we have been and I would be very happy if I could help the club achieve this and play in the Premier League with Leeds United.”

Hernandez has recently agreed a permanent switch to Leeds after initially joining Garry Monk’s side on a six-month loan deal from Qatari outfit Al-Arabi.

The experienced player agreed a contract taking him up until the end of the season, but the club do have the option to extend it by a further 12 months.

The former Swansea man will now be eager to continue impressing with three goals and three assists from his 18 appearances this season.

His first appearance after signing permanently could come against Derby on Friday evening and a win could lift his side up to third.

However, a defeat will see his side on the brink of falling out of the play-offs and could see them move down to sixth place.

The exciting encounter will be shown live on Sky Sports 1 for the 7.45pm kick off.

In other Leeds news, Garry Monk has expressed his annoyance ahead of the clash against Derby.

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