Leeds United's character impresses Chris Wilder after they bounce back to 'steamroller' the Championship

Chris Wilder is looking forward to the return of Yorkshire derbies to the Premier League after being impressed at how “giant of a football club” Leeds United responded to missing out on promotion to his Sheffield United side last season.

The Whites are heading back to the top-flight after 16 years away, where they will join the Blades who ended their own 12-year exile last summer, and have gone on from strength to strength since.

In 2018-19 Leeds, Sheffield United and Norwich City were involved in an epic three-way battle for automatic promotion, with the latter two coming out on top. As often happens in that situation, the side which missed out were unable to win the play-offs, and the disappointment at Elland Road was huge.

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But Wilder, whose Blades side are now pushing to qualify for Europe, has been impressed with the character Leeds have shown to bounce back. They are a point away from being crowned champions, and will only need that if Brentford win their final two matches.

YORKSHIRE RIVALS: Leeds United's Marcelo Bielsa and Sheffield United's Chris Wilder will lock horns again in next season's Premier League

“It's brilliant,” said Wilder. “It's a huge football club, an absolutely giant football club.

“Congratulations to Marcelo (Bielsa, Leeds's coach) and (captain) Liam Cooper and all his players.

“We had a tremendous tussle with them last year, the three clubs, and it went right the way down to the wire so to recover in the manner they've done and steamroller the division as they have done and to be looking to get 90 points is a great achievement.

“There's a load of pressure on that football club and the players have really stood up to the challenge, especially after what happened last year, so they're due an enormous amount of credit.”

The two sides have not met in the top-flight since a 2-2 draw at Bramall Lane in March 1994.

The rivalry between the clubs was intense in the Championship, and will hopefully help to drive the standards of both up again next season.

As a Yorkshireman, Wilder appreciates what Leeds and their supporters will bring to a division which has not hosted them since 2004.

“I'm really looking forward to both games against Leeds United,” he said.

“It's a giant of a football club and I don't think people recognise that as much as they possibly should do. They are definitely in the top 10 of English football clubs in history, fanbase and power.

“Everybody in the game does recognise that, so congratulations to everyone at Leeds United.”

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