Do not let Leeds United fans try to fool you - matches with Sheffield Wednesday matter

Action from the clash between Wednesday and Leeds earlier this season
Action from the clash between Wednesday and Leeds earlier this season
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Leeds United supporters may claim Sheffield Wednesday are insignificant when it comes to their list of rivals but we know better than that.

Plenty of us know Leeds fans that will be desperate for their side to beat the Owls on Saturday - and not just for precious points in the battle for a top six finish.

It means plenty. It presents an opportunity to bolster claims they are the biggest club in Yorkshire and we all know how much they like that status.

Texts and social media posts will have been flying back and forth throughout the week, particularly after Wednesday slipped to defeat on Tuesday night.

It is a rivalry that has grown in significance during the two sides' collective exile from the top flight. Rivalries with the top clubs in the country diminish when actual meetings are few and far between.

So the fact both clubs have genuine ambitions to end that exile come May only adds further importance - and fire - to Saturday's clash at Elland Road.

Despite what you think of Leeds, and what they think of Wednesday, it is heartening to find the two in their respective positions. These are two grand clubs, whom plenty would suggest belong in the top flight.

For so long have both pined for a Premier League return, or at least longed for a successful season.

Leeds are following in Wednesday's footsteps from last season as one of the Championship's unexpected contenders. Wednesday are looking to finish what they started last term.

Clashes between the two sides over the last few years have been cagey, nervy and lacking in real quality, particularly at Elland Road. So many times has the desire to not lose been greater than the urge to win.

It should not be that way this time.

Leeds are a different prospect because of the strength they have shown this season. Long tipped to drop away, they have kept marching on under Garry Monk.

The strength and success has helped to reinvigorate Elland Road. The belief is back in West Yorkshire and that makes the stadium an intimidating place to visit once again.

This will arguably be the biggest game between the two clubs in 17 years, since the final few agonising weeks of Wednesday's last season in the Premier League.

The Owls, managed by Peter Shreeves, welcomed Leeds to Hillsborough on April 30, 2000, with victory vital if they were to have any chance of avoiding the drop.

Back to back wins over Wimbledon and Chelsea had boosted their hopes but progress was halted by a 2-0 defeat to Sunderland at Hillsborough.

So they headed into the Yorkshire derby five points adrift of safety with four games remaining.

Leeds on the other hand had more lofty ambitions. Sitting in fifth, second spot - behind runaway leaders Manchester United - was still in reach, as was a place in the Champions League.

Plenty at stake then as the two sides met, in front of the Sky cameras as they will on Saturday.

But, in typical fashion during a season to forget, Wednesday slumped. A 3-0 defeat came after a mix of poor defending from the Owls and some cracking finishing from Leeds, which started less than a minute in courtesy of David Hopkin.

The win for Leeds helped them on their way to Champions League qualification and edged Wednesday closer to the drop.

A 4-1 defeat at Coventry City the following week left them needing a win at Arsenal in the penultimate game. Despite a valiant effort, and leading 3-1 with 13 minutes to go, Wednesday were held to a 3-3 draw which saw them tumble into the second tier.

Thankfully on this occasion, Wednesday are chasing points for much more positive reasons.

Defeat to Brentford in midweek has added greater emphasis to taking something from this derby clash.

Had they won on Tuesday, they would have carried a nine point lead over seventh place into this weekend.

The fact the cushion could be down to three points by the end of the weekend means the heat is back on Carlos Carvalhal's side.

A draw would not be the end of the world but a win would do wonders for both sides.

Leeds' once strong positioning in the top six has weakened following a run of one win in four.

It should be a cracker.

This is a big game, and finally for all the right reasons.

And don't let Leeds fans claim it is all about the points.