Leeds United boss Paul Heckingbottom has this warning for squad ahead of Sunderland visit
Sunderland may be languishing in the Championship drop zone but Paul Heckingbottom has warned his Leeds United players to be wary of the threat posed by the 'dangerous' Black Cats.
The two sides meet at Elland Road on Saturday afternoon (KO 3pm), with Sunderland eight points adrift.
Only six games remain and it would take a minor miracle for Sunderland, who have only won six games all season, to stay up.
But Heckingbottom - twice linked with the manager’s job at Sunderland before Simon Grayson and then Chris Coleman were appointed - has warned his players not to underestimate Sunderland.
The Whites have little to play for over the remaining fixtures following a run of just two wins this calendar year, Leeds in 13th are 10 points adrift of the play-offs.
Heckingbottom watched his side fall to a 2-0 defeat at Fulham on Tuesday, while Sunderland head into the game on the back of the 3-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.
"We need to be clinical in front of goal but that’s no different to any other game," said Heckingbottom.
"We know they have good players in the side. They find themselves near the bottom of the league but on their day they are a really dangerous team.
"We’re expecting to take the same approach as the Bolton and Fulham games and we want the three points.
"They’re down there because they’ve not produced as often as they can.
"But the approach we had the other night [at Fulham] is what we want going forward. A no fear approach and to express yourselves. The players have to believe."
Coleman, meanwhile, says representing Sunderland AFC football club should be motivation enough for his struggling players.
"We’re going to play at Elland Road, great place to play football," said Coleman.
"Leeds United are a great football club and we’ll be taking loads of supporters there because this club means a lot to so many people no matter where we are.
"We’re representing this football club and that’s the motivation everybody needs, you’ve got to go out and do your job.
"Now, across the season, we haven’t done that enough and we haven’t done it well enough, that’s why we are where we are, full stop. But, I think we’ve set a little target and can we replicate the last two performances?
"The fans who were there clapped the lads off because they saw that they were giving what they’ve got and that’s what we’ve got to do, give what we’ve got from the first whistle to the last and we’ll see where we are at the end of it."