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Leeds go top of Championship by hammering O'Neill's Stoke

Leeds are on the verge of ending their 16-year absence from the top flight as they move six points clear of the play-off spots with four to play.

Image: Mike Egerton

LEEDS UNITED OPENED up a valuable six-point gap between them and third-place Brentford while moving back to the top of the Championship with a 5-0 thrashing of Stoke City.

Stoke’s first half resistence at Elland Road was ended by Tommy Smith’s rash challenge on Helder Costa and Mateusz Klich coolly converted from the penalty spot to open the floodgates.

Leeds went 2-0 up early in the second half when Stuart Dallas picked out Costa in the box and the Portuguese converted from close range.

Skipper Liam Cooper scored the third just before the hour mark and Pablo Hernandez smashed home in style 18 minutes from time.

Patrick Bamford wrapped up a dominant display in stoppage time as Leeds showed no signs of the end-of-season nerves that have derailed previous promotion bids.

Stoke on the other hand could find themselves in the third tier next season just two years on from their relegation from the Premier League.

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leeds-united-v-stoke-city-sky-bet-championship-elland-road Source: Mike Egerton

Michael O’Neill’s men are just one point above the bottom three with just two points separating Hull in 22nd from Middlesbrough in 18th.

Those at the bottom could be handed a lifeline, though, as a 12-point penalty for Wigan for going into administration would drop the Latics from 15th to second bottom.

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