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Monday 20 February 2017

Monk hopes Leeds crowd in full voice for Rams tie

Garry Monk
Garry Monk

Leeds head coach Garry Monk hopes the Elland Road feelgood factor can give his side the edge tonight against Sky Bet Championship promotion rivals Derby.

Monk has steered Leeds into the play-off places in his first season in charge, while the arrival of the club's new joint owner Andrea Radrizzani has led to a growing sense of optimism among supporters.

"We are enjoying our football at Elland Road and the crowd are enjoying it," Monk said.

"The vocal support has been tremendous. It really spurs on the players and we want that to continue."

Leeds, bidding for a fifth straight win and clean sheet at home, would open up an eight-point gap between themselves and seventh-placed Derby with victory.

But Monk could be forced to start with right-back Luke Ayling in central defence as Pontus Jansson is suspended and Liam Cooper is struggling with a knee injury sustained in Monday's FA Cup win at Cambridge. Left-back Charlie Taylor remains sidelined by an Achilles problem.

Monk is also wary of the threat posed by Steve McClaren's Derby, who have climbed to within two points of the top six on the back of eight wins and one defeat in their last 11 league games. "Every game we play is a big game and every game is a challenge," Monk said.

Derby boss McClaren could hand a debut to new signing David Nugent, signed from Middlesbrough on Tuesday for an undisclosed fee.

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