Hard to believe that it is now 12 years since Leeds United were relegated from the Premier League.

Since then they have continued to be blighted by a shocking succession of owners, leaving them repeatedly floundering as they try to make the journey back to the top division.

Historically, always a big rivalry with Leeds, certainly in my lifetime, both because of geography (only 90 miles down the road) and the fact we usually found ourselves in the same division, including visits to the second tier.

However, 2009/10 saw the two clubs miss each other, Newcastle spending a single season in the Championship whilst at the same time Leeds United finished runners-up behind Norwich in League One and were promoted.

The Yorkshire club are once again nowhere near heading back up, currently 17 points off the play-off places but relatively safe (nine points) in terms of potential relegation trouble.

Leeds United legend Eddie Gray though, is already looking ahead to next season and thinks they have to start planning for a promotion push now.

However, he has been looking at the teams that could potentially make up next season’s Championship and he sees problems ahead.

Gray thinks that a relatively big club like Aston Villa will be a challenge to finish ahead of – but when it comes to Newcastle and Sunderland, the Leeds United legend thinks that their potential presence would leave Leeds and the rest of the clubs fighting over just one promotion spot, due to the size of the clubs and their fanbases.

Eddie Gray talking to Leeds United TV:

“It will be tougher next season – it looks like Villa are coming down and they are a big club.

“We (Leeds United) think we are one of the biggest clubs, you look at Villa with thirty five thousand fans, then you look at the two north east clubs…Sunderland forty five thousand and Newcastle fifty five thousand.

Personally, I hope that the two north east clubs don’t come down as it would make it a little easier – as if they (Newcastle and Sunderland ) came down the rest of the clubs could be playing for one (promotion) place.”

“We have got to put proper plans in place now if we (Leeds United) are going to challenge for promotion (next season).”