Leeds United 3 Sheffield Wednesday 0: Cresswell thrives on family rivalry

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The Independent Football

However, if Leeds can achieve this season's objective she might enjoy a consolation prize. Because if Leeds are to secure an automatic return to the Premiership it may well be at Sheffield United's expense. "The distance between us hasn't changed over the last few weeks and they must be looking over their shoulders and thinking, 'Will they not go away?'" said the Leeds manager, Kevin Blackwell.

The gap between the Blades in second place and Leeds in third is eight points but Blackwell's team, who go to Bramall Lane in April, have a game in hand. The byword at Elland Road these days is "positivity", and the former Wednesday player Cresswell is keen to embrace it, especially when it comes to the idea of overtaking his former club's arch Sheffield rivals.

"It is certainly our aim," he said, after raising his tally to six goals in 11 starts for Leeds . "As we are winning games so are they, but we will push them all the way and I think it will get closer.

"I went to two play-off finals with Preston and lost both and I'd rather not have to take on a third, so I'm hoping United will slip up."

There is extra motivation, too, for Blackwell in having Neil Warnock's team in his sights, given the harsh words said when he quit as Warnock's senior coach to move to Elland Road. The satisfaction of putting one over his former employer could be a potent bonus.

And it would also satisfy his present employer, Ken Bates, who celebrated his first year as chairman on Saturday. The bitter irony for Wednesday, still burdened with debts of £27m after resisting a Bates takeover at Hillsborough, is that it might have been they rather than Leeds who are looking upwards now.

Sturrock's building blocks do not sit too badly but he needs to add many more layers to catch Blackwell, as was illustrated plainly enough here as Wednesday, working to a defensive plan, kept things even for almost 70 minutes but had no answer once Paul Butler had headed Leeds in front.

Switching to attack once they had gone behind only left them vulnerable to further punishment which Cresswell, heading in a corner, then sliding in a low cross, ruthlessly applied.

Goals: Butler (69) 1-0; Cresswell (82) 2-0; Cresswell (90) 3-0.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Sullivan; Kelly, Butler, Gregan, Crainey; Miller (Walton, 83), Douglas, Derry, Lewis; Cresswell, Blake (Healy, 62). Substitutes not used: Bennett (gk), Pugh, Einarsson.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-3-3): Weaver; Simek, Coughlan, Wood, Gilbert; Brunt, Whelan (Partridge, 76), O'Brien, Hills; Burton, Tudgay (Corr, 76). Substitutes not used: Lucas (gk), Bullen, Collins.

Referee: D Gallagher (Oxfordshire).

Booked: Leeds United Gregan; Sheffield Wednesday Gilbert, Simek.

Man of the match: Cresswell.

Attendance: 27,843.