LEEDS BOSS NEIL Warnock believes his side have “nothing to lose and everything to gain” ahead of their npower Championship clash with Millwall.
The Whites boss was teetering on the brink of leaving the Elland Road club less than two weeks ago following a midweek defeat at Middlesbrough, which left Leeds eight points adrift of the play-offs, and his promise of promotion to the Barclays Premier League looking increasingly unlikely.
However, a win over Blackpool and draw against Blackburn has since seen Leeds move into ninth and close the gap on sixth-placed Brighton to six points.
Warnock admits the loss at Boro marked something of a turning point, and he still thinks a play-off place is within reach.
He told the Yorkshire Post: “We all knew the situation we were in. Everyone could see the pressure I was under, the players knew it, and we could have thrown it all in. I could have thrown it in.
“From the players point of view, I don’t think they wanted to go through more nights like (Middlesbrough) either and in a strange way that period lifted a bit of the pressure. It was a case of: ‘What the hell. Let’s play freely and see what we can do’.
“In the performances against Blackpool and Blackburn last week, I couldn’t see any nerves or anxiety at all. Other teams will be feeling it more than us. We’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain.
“We need points from the game against Millwall and we need points from the games at Leicester and Palace. That’s how it is for us now.
“But there’s a huge incentive for the players because if we manage that, we’ll go into the last 10 games with a shout.”
Leicester are one of the teams Warnock is hoping to displace in the top six, but they will be looking to consolidate their position away at Ipswich.
The Foxes, currently fourth, ended their four-game run without a win in a 3-0 victory over Blackburn on Tuesday.
Leicester midfielder Andy King, who scored a late goal against Rovers, thinks that performance will spur them on in their pursuit of a return to the top flight.
“For Tuesday’s game to go as well as it did gives us real confidence and a spring in our step going into the weekend,” King told the Leicester Mercury.
“It was massively important to get back into the mix for that race for second spot, and to end the bad run we had been on.
“We played outstandingly well, especially in the first half. That was the best we have played for a while.
“You could see the boys weren’t short of confidence, the way we were playing it around. It was a big win.
“It shows the team spirit that we haven’t let recent results affect us, we didn’t drop our heads and we knew if we kept playing the way we can and stick together, then the wins would start coming again.”
Derby face Crystal Palace tonight while struggling Wolves will bid to climb out of the bottom three at home to Watford. Tomorrow sees Boro take on leaders Cardiff, Hull play Birmingham, bottom side Peterborough are at Blackburn, Brighton host Huddersfield and Barnsley take on Bolton.
Also tomorrow, Blackpool welcome Bristol City to Bloomfield Road, Charlton host Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday take on Nottingham Forest in the late kick-off.