Former Leeds United boss Simon Grayson on Whites' top-two bid in Championship and future of Crysencio Summerville and Archie Gray

FORMER LEEDS United manager Simon Grayson believes that the timing of the last international break in March has firmly worked against his former club amid a tense four-way fight for automatic promotion from the Championship to the Premier League.

Leeds have endured an untimely and worrying dip in form and results and head into Monday’s tricky looking game at in-form Middlesbrough on the back of a disappointing run of one win in their past five matches.

In mitigation, promotion rivals Ipswich Town and Leicester City have also displayed patchy form in a top-twice race which still looks like going right down to the wire.

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Speaking to Betway, Grayson, who led his boyhood club to promotion from the third tier in 2009-10, said: “It's been a good season so far for Leeds United and looking at 2024 it’s been a great year until last weekend.

Former Leeds United manager Simon Grayson. Image: Lewis Storey/Getty ImagesFormer Leeds United manager Simon Grayson. Image: Lewis Storey/Getty Images
Former Leeds United manager Simon Grayson. Image: Lewis Storey/Getty Images

"The wins that they have had since the turn of the year and the way that they played has been outstanding.

"One point to mention is the international break came at the wrong time for Leeds as the momentum up until then had been brilliant. To show the quality in the squad, most of the team were on international duty and then once the squad came back together, they haven’t been at that same level.

"In recent weeks, all three teams have slipped up and no one wants to move ahead and get promoted automatically. It's probably going to go right down to the last game, if not that far, maybe the second to last game when Leicester have that game in hand against Southampton.

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"I went to the Leeds game against Blackburn and it was a game Leeds should have won, but you've got teams fighting for their lives at the bottom end of the table, which is just as fascinating as the top end. You cannot predict anything.”

Leeds’ fates this season could will determine whether recently-named Championship player of the year Crysencio Summerville remains at Elland Road beyond the summer.

His team-mate Archie Gray has also been named as the young player of the year in the second half and while Grayson is confident that the latter will remain at the club, come what may at the end of the season, he says the situation with Summerville is likely to be more fluid.

Grayson added: "Crysencio Summerville has been great this season for Leeds United and I think if they got to the Premier League, I don't think there's going to be any issues with keeping him because he can fulfil his ambition of playing in the Premier League with a really big football club.

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"If for whatever reason they don't, then Leeds, through their own choice, but maybe choice of the player, will lose some of the better players through the financial restraints and also the ambitions of the club.

"But he's got to finish the season off in a real positive manner. He struggled in the last couple of games purely because teams are worried about his threat of what he can do. Sometimes he's got two or three players around him all the time. But that's the mark of the level of quality that he's brought to the EFL with Leeds all season.

"Moving to Archie Gray, I would be really, really surprised, regardless of what league Leeds are in next year, if Archie leaves. He's only just turned 20, signed a new contract and is having a good first season. I just think that he needs another year or so before thinking about any possible move as this is his breakthrough season.

"I’d advise him to spend another season at Leeds, he's loved by the club and he won't be in a great rush to leave because, again, he could be a player that can fulfil his ambitions by being a Leeds United player for many, many years, like his uncle, his dad, and his grandad.”

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