LEEDS United, Reading and Sheffield Wednesday face a nervous run-in towards the SkyBet Championship play-offs as Fulham continue to close the gap on the trio of promotion contenders.

As the in-form Cottagers stormed to a 3-1 victory at leaders Newcastle United, the fourth-placed Whites dropped two precious home points after struggling to a 0-0 draw against Queens Park Rangers at Elland Road.

That reduced United’s advantage over seventh-placed Fulham to six points but Reading and Wednesday are also sweating after defeats at Preston and Aston Villa respectively.

If Fulham win their game in hand tomorrow against Blackburn Rovers, they will leap-frog the Owls into a play-off slot just three points behind Leeds.

Manager Garry Monk is confident his side will bounce back from this weekend’s sub-standard display but it doesn’t get any easier for Leeds whose next match is a home battle against second-placed Brighton on Saturday evening.

“There are no excuses from us. We didn’t do enough to win the game,” he said. “We were below the standards, especially at Elland Road, of what we usually set.

“The positives are that we kept a clean sheet and we got a point. Other teams around us lost and this is another useful point,” Monk added.

It could have been worse for Leeds as the free-running Conor Washington drew a fine save from Rob Green, who was making his 600th League appearance, as Rangers set the early pace.

Leeds failed to register a shot on target as top scorer Chris Wood was snuffed out by what was effectively a back five.

With United’s midfield moving the ball too slowly, the visitors had plenty of time to drop back and deny the home side any space.

In contrast, the London side broke with pace to keep central defenders Kyle Bartley and Pontus Jansson at full stretch.

Rangers boss Ian Holloway said: “We carved out the better chances. Our game-plan was to counter and take the game to them. We applied ourselves brilliantly against one the best teams in this league.”

Luke Ayling picked up a booking which rules him out of the next two crucial games against Brighton and play-off rivals Reading on April 1.

For those two games Gaetano Beradi is expected to switch flanks to right-back with Charlie Taylor returning on the left hand side of the defence.

That problem looks fairly easy to solve but the trickier task for Monk is to get his midfield functioning properly.

With Pablo Hernandez going through a bad spell, and little coming from out-wide, Leeds have struggled to find a creative spark. It promises to be a hair-raising ride in the battle for the play-off slots.