76 Or Bust For Leeds United

Piet BairdContributor IFebruary 23, 2009

Saturday was a good day at the office for Leeds United following a week of disappointment.

The sleeping Yorkshire giants had suffered successive defeats at the hands of Huddersfield and a woeful defeat at Hereford, but they picked themselves off the floor to beat struggling Cheltenham 2-0 thanks to a brace from Jonny Howson.

Other results also went Leeds' way, only Leicester and Peterborough of teams above Leeds were able to win their respective matches. All this leaves Leeds in eighth place with 14 games remaining.

They currently have 51 points, one point off the teams currently in the playoff positions.

In recent times the team finishing sixth in League One have accrued a points tally between 71 and 76. In that time only Hartlepool, in the 2004/5 season, has reached the playoffs having lost more than the 13 games that Leeds have already lost this season.

On that basis, it should be fair to assume that a further 25 points in the remaining 14 games would secure Leeds a Play-Off berth.

Of the teams currently above Leeds, they entertain Scunthorpe United, MK Dons and Stockport County at Elland Road and face testing trips to Oldham Athletic and Leicester City.

Of the games remaining there is an even split of seven at home and seven away from Elland Road. Traditional Promotion form is considered winning your home matches and drawing the away encounters which would reap the club a reward of 28 points.

Leeds certainly have the personnel to hit that kind of form, although their stuttering season to date may not suggest that kind of run is likely.

In spite of recent disappointments, the playoffs are not out of reach. Leeds will need to draw a line under what has passed before this season and treat the remaining games as a mini season within a season.

Captain Frazer Richardson (above) is due back from injury soon and if they can keep Jermaine Beckford on the pitch, avoiding the injuries and suspensions that have disrupted his season so far, Leeds do have a chance.

Beckford returns from a three-match suspension on Saturday as Leeds play host to playoff rivals Scunthorpe United.