LUKE VARNEY admits Leeds United’s away form has to dramatically improve if the club are to gatecrash the play-offs.
Last weekend’s home defeat to Cardiff City, which ended a six-game winning run in the league at Elland Road, means United sit six points adrift of the top six.
However, with a further five points separating sixth-placed Middlesbrough from the team immediately above them in the table, Crystal Palace, mid-table Leeds have plenty to do if this season is not to fizzle out in a similar manner to last term.
If such a fate is to be avoided, Varney appreciates the Yorkshire club’s current travails on the road – they have lost six of their last seven games in the league – cannot continue.
“We have to sort out our away form,” admitted the striker to the Yorkshire Post ahead of today’s trip to relegation-threatened Wolverhampton Wanderers.
“And if we can do that then it will go a long way towards getting us going. At home, we have been doing well and (before the Cardiff defeat) showed promotion standard form over the previous couple of months.
“We have beaten some good teams, too. But then the problem has been backing that up with an away performance.
“I think we are in a promising position and are poised to make our move. I am sure the gaffer would rather we had a few more points, but we are all confident that we can make a challenge.
“The big plus for us is the gaffer’s experience. He has been in this situation so many times in the past that he’ll know just what buttons to press. That could be a massive advantage if we can get ourselves up to the play-off places.”
Adding to United’s frustration during the current struggles away from home is that they are clearly capable of turning it on away from Elland Road.
The club’s 4-2 win at Huddersfield in December, for instance, was a comprehensive triumph, while Neil Warnock’s side also performed admirably in knocking Birmingham City out of the FA Cup at St Andrews in last month’s third-round replay.
Varney added: “That win against Birmingham was a big one and showed what we can do. It shows how important it was that the manager was still talking about it in the press a couple of weeks later. To come back from 1-0 down like we did was special.”
Steve Morison could come in for United after a thigh injury. Stephen Warnock is also in contention for a starting berth in the first of three away games inside a week with Tuesday bringing a trip to Middlesbrough before Leeds head to Eastlands for an FA Cup fifth-round tie with Manchester City.