ONE of the few shafts of light in Leeds United’s painful Premier League campaign has been the breakthrough of Joe Gelhardt.

The 20-year-old striker conjured up a stunning piece of skill to set up Pascal Struijk’s late point-saving header against Brighton on Sunday to ensure the Whites’ relegation battle will go down to the last day.

His quick feet and composure to flick the ball over defender Lewis Dunk before delivering the perfect cross for the equaliser was outstanding.

“It was a very special play,” said Leeds coach Jesse March. “Really incredible. Joffy (Gelhardt) has that ability and he grew into the game more and more. Obviously where we are, we need him and it’s great to see him have a confident performance, especially as the game goes on.”

It seems strange that the youngster has only made four league starts in a season when Leeds have struggled to fill the void up front created by the absence of the injury-stricken Patrick Bamford.

Gelhardt is a player who makes things happen, yet has been largely confined to the bench while United persisted for weeks in playing Dan James, an out-and-out winger, as the focal point of attack – a prolonged experiment that failed.

As Gelhardt’s stock rises, so record signing Rodrigo’s continues on a downward spiral. He endured a torrid match against Brighton and but for the lack of options on the bench would surely have been taken off.

The £27m Spaniard, like James, has also struggled when asked to play as a striker, and has not fared too well as a playmaker either but seems likely to keep his place at Brentford on Sunday (4pm).

“The point shifts the pressure a bit,” Marsch said after the tense 1-1 battle with Brighton. “This is a psychological battle we are in. We are going to invest everything we have in this last match.”

That point Leeds gained saw them inch out of the relegation zone above Burnley who lost 1-0 to a controversial Harry Kane penalty at Tottenham. Despite the result, Burnley looked a lot calmer at Spurs than Leeds did at a frenetic Elland Road and their fate remains currently in their control.

The Clarets play their game in hand over United on Thursday when they travel to Aston Villa (8pm) and defeat against Steven Gerrard’s men would mean Leeds would stay up if they match Burnley’s result at home to Newcastle on Sunday.

A midweek Burnley draw would shove Leeds back below the dreaded dotted line on goal difference and demands United do better the Lancashire club’s final-day result.

Should Burnley win at Villa Park, Leeds would need to win at Brentford and rely on a Newcastle victory.

Everton, considered safe before Sunday’s 2-3 home defeat to Brentford, are wrestling with suspensions and injuries ahead of their encounter with Crystal Palace on Thursday night (7.45pm). Victory at Goodison Park would see the Toffees safe, but another defeat or draw would mean that Frank Lampard’s men may need something from their final game at top-four chasing Arsenal.