Football before festivities for Leeds United defender Tom Lees

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Tom Lees and his team-mates were due to train on Christmas Day ahead of Leeds’ trip to Blackpool Tom Lees and his team-mates were due to train on Christmas Day ahead of Leeds’ trip to Blackpool

Tom Lees has no complaints at having to restrict his Christmas celebrations if it means Leeds United picking up more points.

Brian McDermott’s men are on a good run of form, with just one defeat in eight matches having lifted them to fifth in the Championship table.

But the busy festive programme can make or break a season and Lees accepts that preparation is the key – including having to train on Christmas Day.

“We are giving ourselves the best chance by doing it properly and hopefully that will reward us in terms of points,” said the defender ahead of Leeds’ televised match at Blackpool tomorrow evening.

“I’ve done both sides, so I know what it is like to play on Boxing Day without training on Christmas Day. But we’ve got a good balance here. We’ve had some time off but we prepared like we normally do.”

Leeds have back-to-back away games at Blackpool and then Nottingham Forest on Sunday, before returning to Elland Road against Blackburn on New Year’s Day.

A maximum haul would leave United sitting pretty heading into 2014, although Lees is expecting a tough test against a Blackpool side who are now down in tenth place after a promising start to the season but remain just three points behind Leeds.

He said: “They will be up for the game. Sky Sports will be there and the place will be packed.

“It’s always a bit of a party atmosphere, especially for the Leeds fans, so we need to try and give them something to cheer about on Boxing Day.”

The race to secure a play-off place is tight, with a clutch of clubs hovering just behind McDermott’s side.

But Lees, who scored a rare goal at Blackpool last season, said: “I think we have realistically given ourselves a chance.

“If we can get into mid-January in the position we are in now, coming out of the busy Christmas period, we will have a real chance. Then who knows what could happen?

“It is that consistency we are after and we are just starting to get that in the last few weeks. Now we have got to carry that on after the Christmas period.

“We are fully focused and preparing for every game to try and do that.”


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