Leeds United v Birmingham City: Bumper crowd expected as buoyant Whites bid to reach the summit

Thomas Christiansen, the Leeds United head coach. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)
Thomas Christiansen, the Leeds United head coach. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)
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AS Elland Road prepares for its biggest midweek league crowd since Leeds United fell out of the top flight in 2004, Thomas Christiansen insists there will be no let-up from his side as top spot potentially beckons.

The 5-0 demolition of Burton Albion at the weekend lifted United up to second place in the Championship ahead of tonight’s visit of Harry Redknapp’s Birmingham City.

With leaders Cardiff City at Preston North End, three points for Leeds and anything but a win for Neil Warnock’s men will mean the Yorkshire club topping a division for the first time since being promoted from League One in 2010.

“This league is so competitive and dangerous that you cannot relax for a moment,” said Christiansen, ahead of a fixture that has seen ticket sales edge towards 31,000.

“I want the team to be alive but to be ambitious and to reach even higher and do better.”

Elland Road last hosted a 30,000-plus crowd for a midweek league match in April, 2004, when Everton were the visitors just a few weeks before relegation was confirmed.

Leeds United's Pablo Hernandez. (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

Leeds United's Pablo Hernandez. (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

It has been a long road back since then and there is no mistaking the excitement among fans about their team possibly reaching the summit of the second tier for the first time since May, 1990.

The main focus of Christiansen, however, is not on whether Leeds can leapfrog Cardiff tonight.

“We have only just started,” added the Dane after insisting there was no significance that can be attached to holding pole position in September.

“There is a lot of work to do and, of course, we can enjoy the moment we are having now with the team, the results and the performance but we need to work much more.

There is a lot of work to do and, of course, we can enjoy the moment we are having now with the team, the results and the performance but we need to work much more.

Thomas Christiansen

“We have to enjoy it but, again, we will have many games this season where things will not work out as we wanted and this is where we have to pull up the arms of the shirts and stay together.”

United, meanwhile, are lining up a deal to sign Japan international midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi in January.

The 21-year-old recently helped Japan clinch a place at next year’s World Cup finals, netting in the crucial 2-0 win over Australia.

Last six games: Leeds United DDWWWW, Birmingham City WDLLLL.

Referee: P Bankes (Merseyside).

Last time: Leeds United 1 Birmingham City 2; August 13, 2016; Championship.