Anyone not paying close attention to the Championship promotion race at the moment would be forgiven for thinking — based on media coverage — that Leeds United is a club in disarray.
According to The Guardian, Leeds have spent 32 weeks in the automatic promotion places this year but seem poised to miss out on the top two after a late slip-up.
Leeds have lost their last two matches in agonising fashion, falling to lowly Wigan Athletic and then succumbing to a 2-0 loss against Brentford on Easter Monday.
For sure, the Whites have lost momentum, but one crucial play-off statistic should ease supporters’ concerns.
With the play-offs beckoning for Leeds, their most likely final league position will be third. And those teams that finish third in the Championship fare the best when achieving promotion from the play-offs.
According to stats compiled by Sky Sports back in 2016, 39.5% of clubs who finish in the top play-off place across the Football League gained promotion through the play-offs.
And in the Championship alone, since the play-offs began in 1987, 11 clubs who finished third were promoted to the top flight — more than any other final league position.
Most recently, Fulham finished third in 2017/18 and triumphed over Aston Villa at Wembley in last season’s play-off final.
In the end, although Leeds have lost momentum at a crucial time, the club nevertheless has history on their side in their bid for promotion.
Their likely third-place finish will prepare them adequately for a play-off push that could end up delivering them a precious spot in the Premier League.