By Max Parsons

6th Nov, 2021 | 6:10am

Mark Jackson challenges Leeds United U23s players to earn three points v 'world-renowned' Man United academy

Leeds United U23s coach Mark Jackson has challenged his players to go into their Premier League 2 clash with Manchester United fearlessly expecting a win.

The development side’s coach was speaking ahead of their fixture with the Whites’ famous old foes on Saturday. Jackson’s men head into the tie in poor form, having failed to win in any of their previous five Premier League 2 matches. Man Utd, on the other hand, have won their last three.

And, speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Jackson challenged his players to go out and produce the kind of performance that will see them return home with a much-needed win against formidable opposition.

“We’re in a moment where we’re not in a great run of form,” he explained. “We’ve got to have the mindset where we come together and come back across the Pennines with three points.

“That’s what I have challenged them to do. It isn’t win at all cost – we know that. There’s a certain way we want to play,” he continued.

“But we have to go with a mindset that whoever is in the group or squad and in the dressing room or on the bus going across that we need three points. We need a spark and that has to start on Saturday.”

No better time

If it’s a spark you’re after, then a famous old rivalry between two heated enemies should be the perfect catalyst.

Of course, at U23 level, the stakes and tensions aren’t as high and there aren’t tens of thousands of passionate supporters either spurring you on or hurling abuse at you.

This is, still, Leeds against Manchester United. It’s fierce.

And, as a Leeds fan, Jackson will surely be relaying the gravity of the fixture – even if it is in the development league.

The Whites are in need of a result against their rivals. A worrying spell of form currently places them eighth in the Premier League 2 although, with a couple of sides below them picking up results of late, the fear of slipping down further the table should be dawning on them.

If ever there’s an occasion to produce that ‘spark’ and upset a major force, it’s against a rival, however. A trip to Manchester United provides Leeds U23 with the perfect opportunity to get their campaign back up and running.

In other Leeds United news, Patrick Bamford has given an update on his ankle injury.