'It's no secret' - Exclusive: BBC pundit makes big claim about Leeds fans

Leeds United fans need and deserve Premier League football because they bring an “unreal” and “immense” dimension to the English game, according to Noel Whelan.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former United striker hailed the contribution the club’s supporters have made to this season’s Championship, during which the team have battled for automatic promotion.

Leeds slipped to a shock 2-1 home defeat to Wigan Athletic yesterday but are still third and level on points with second-placed Sheffield United with three games of the campaign remaining.

A crowd of 34,758 was in attendance at Elland Road, with near sell-outs a regular feature of the season for Leeds, whose supporters also fill the grounds for every away match they attend.

“They are unreal,” BBC pundit Whelan said. “At home matches, the sound generated has been immense, you can’t underestimate what a big role that has to play.

“Away from home, if you give Leeds a ticket allocation they take it up every match. We have taken over other clubs’ stadiums with the following we bring.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“The Premier League needs Leeds and the Premier League clubs want Leeds. It’s no secret. The fans create a great atmosphere home and away, and that deserves top level football.”

Leeds are next in action on Monday when they travel to Brentford for the 5.15pm live televised clash in west London.

Brentford are 15th in the Championship and safely in mid-table.

In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that the club have set their sights on signing two Liverpool players who have dazzled this season.