But the more realistic conclusion on this evidence is that neither side can hope for anything better than a place in the play-offs. This was a game in which two central defenders reigned supreme - the Leeds captain, Paul Butler, and the visitors' Claude Davis. It did not make for compelling viewing.
Neither goalkeeper made a save of real note all afternoon and the sole highlight came inside the first five minutes. David Healy headed a Gary Kelly corner home but the goal was promptly disallowed for pushing. That apart, most Leeds attacks went no further than Davis, Preston's often inelegant, yet effective centre-back. Quite why Leeds persevered in directing long, high balls in his vicinity was a mystery.
Preston were the more measured in possession, but rarely threatened because their support of Patrick Agyemang was sporadic. Leeds' best spell came just after the break but they were not helped by the miserable form of Healy, no longer the favoured son of Deepdale he once was to judge by the level of sledging directed at him by the away fans.
As Leeds faded, Preston finished the stronger team. Had they displayed such ambition earlier in the piece, they may have returned across the Pennines with all three points.