Leeds United boss Brian McDermott admits he is desperate to start planning for next season after his side finished their campaign with a 1-1 draw at home to Derby County.
Matt Smith’s equaliser five minutes into the second half means United concluded a disappointing campaign with ten points out of 15 since the club’s ownership was sorted out to finish 15th in the table.
McDermott’s future as manager remains to be confirmed but he is upbeat and said: “I have to talk to the owner and take things from there.
“I am itching to start planning and preparing for next season. It drives you on when you see nearly 30,000 supporters in the ground. They don’t give up and the Leeds United manager won’t give up.”
Simon Dawkins fired a much-changed Derby side into an early lead as they warmed up for the Champ-ionship play-offs but Leeds dominated the second half, resulting in Smith’s goal from Ross McCormack’s assist.
McDermott said: “Since things have settled down our record equates to 92 points over a season.
“We played some really good stuff against Derby, who are the team to beat in the play-offs.
“There are a lot of reasons for where we finished and they are not excuses.
“We are not where we want to be yet. We just need a stable environment and, with the new ownership situation, these are exciting times for Leeds United.”
After their poor start, Leeds had two penalty claims rejected. Michael Tonge argued that Richard Keogh handled his 20 yard shot as the interval approached and Smith claimed he was impeded as he ran through the penalty box two minutes after scoring.
Elsewhere, Danny Ward came off the bench to score a second-half hat-trick as Huddersfield capitalised on an abject Watford performance to end the season on a high with a 4-1 victory.
After a goalless first half, Joe Lolley fired the visitors in front within a minute of the restart and they never looked back from that point.
Ward, who had been a first-half replacement for the injured Nakhi Wells, went on to score three times – twice as a result of errors from Hornets keeper Jonathan Bond – before Troy Deeney netted a consolation penalty.
Reading surrendered the final play-off place to Brigh-ton in dramatic fashion after the Royals could only draw 2-2 at home with Burnley.
Although they battled back from a half-time deficit to get a point against already-promoted Burnley, Brigh-ton’s last-gasp 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest lifted them over Reading and into the play-off semi-finals.
Kieran Trippier diverted a Jobi McAnuff cross into his own net but Burnley struck twice through Scott Arfield and Danny Ings to lead 2-1 at half-time.
Garath McCleary fired in a superb equaliser but that proved not to be enough.