Bates excited by League One run-in

Outspoken Leeds United chairman Ken Bates says the fate of some of the top teams in League One - including Norwich - could be decided over the next few weeks.

Outspoken Leeds United chairman Ken Bates says the fate of some of the top teams in League One - including Norwich - could be decided over the next few weeks. And Bates insists that his fallen giants are as good as any team in the division.

Both teams are facing a hugely important spell in their seasons, with their sell-out Carrow Road date on March 27 seen by many as pivotal.

Before that, the Canaries have to travel to Huddersfield tomorrow and Swindon a week later, but Leeds have an equally difficult schedule.

Simon Grayson's men, who won 4-1 at Tranmere in midweek, face in-form Southampton tomorrow, a visit from Millwall on March 22, and a trip to Norwich before beginning April with a home game against Swindon. And Bates says he is relishing the run-in.

It's the March fixtures which Bates knows will have a major say on who goes up and he is expecting a nerve-jangling few weeks at Elland Road.

'Simon (Grayson) had said to me well before Tuesday night that we've just got to keep calm and hold our nerve, and he was right,' Bates said in an interview with Yorkshire Radio.

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'Tuesday's win puts us five points clear and improves our goal difference, which is worth another point. Brighton did us a favour on Monday when they got a result at Colchester, Swindon seem to be struggling a bit, Huddersfield have had a couple of bad results, and we should be looking forward to our remaining games with confidence.

'Every other club will have the same jitters at this stage of the season, but as Simon has always said, we're all in this together at Leeds and we will try to do it all together.

'The next few games will go some way to deciding both our fate and that of the three teams we play.

'We're as good as anybody, if not the best, but it takes two to tango.

'We've beaten Norwich and Southampton this season, but Millwall beat us there and Swindon, who still have to come here, also beat us, so we owe them one.'

Swindon Town, who host Norwich City a week tomorrow, have signed Liverpool full-back Stephen Darby on loan until the end of the season.

Darby, who skippered Liverpool's 2006 and 2007 FA Youth Cup-winning squads, made his debut in the Premier League against Spurs earlier this season.

The 21-year-old trained with Swindon's squad on Thursday morning and is expected to go into the squad for their clash against Brighton on Saturday.

Johnnie Jackson's loan spell at Charlton has been cut short after he was ruled out for six weeks with a torn hamstring.

The midfielder limped off during last weekend's win over Stockport and, after visiting a specialist, has now returned to parent club Notts County.

'It's worse than we first feared. It's disappointing news for Johnnie and us,' said Addicks boss Phil Parkinson. 'He's done very well for us in the short time he has been here, but his loan was due to end after the Millwall game anyway, and we'll move on.'