By Craig Scott

27th Dec, 2019 | 11:00am

'They're starting to stutter' - Darren Bent delivers verdict on Leeds promotion hopes

Darren Bent remains positive about the promotion hopes of Leeds United as the Yorkshire giants aim to finally secure a return to the Premier League.

Leeds are second in the Championship table, three points behind leaders West Brom and eight points ahead of third-placed Brentford after 24 games.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side have won just two points from their last three matches and although that form might cause a few punters to tip the Whites to collapse, Bent is adamant that they are still on course for promotion.

“No [I’m not worried],” said Bent on EFL on Quest on Thursday night. “I still think Leeds are one of the best sides in the division but unfortunately we’ve seen this before, it’s like a reoccurring theme.

“Last season they were arguably the best team in the division but didn’t go up.

“Again, they’ve started off this season so, so well but they’re starting to stutter a little bit when it comes to key times.

“It’s very difficult for them.”

A lot of people are going to point to the way Leeds United fell apart last season at this stage.

On Boxing Day last year, Leeds had just won their seventh game in a row and were top of the table, six points clear of third.

However the Yorkshire club’s form dipped massively and they ended up dropping out of the top two and being knocked out of the play-offs by Derby.

Will that happen again this season? Well, let’s not rule it out. But the team is definitely a lot better now than it was last term.

Injuries have remained an issue and Pablo Hernandez’s latest setback is a major blow for United.

But it’s not as if no other teams in the league will have injuries. West Brom, for example, have been without Grady Diangana for their last two games and have been held to draws on both occasions.

Leeds can definitely hang on to their top-two spot this season but they need to improve on their recent performances.

In other Leeds United news, Colin Murray has hailed this Leeds player for his performance against Preston on Boxing Day.