LEEDS United head to Burton Albion on Boxing Day having clawed their way back into the Sky Bet Championship play-off places.

Saturday’s 1-0 win against Hull City in front of Elland Road’s biggest crowd of the season was their fifth victory in seven league games.

Pablo Hernandez cashed in on a howler by goalkeeper Allan McGregor to score the only goal just before the half-hour mark and send the Whites into the top six for the first time in two months.

Until that point the Tigers had dominated as Leeds continually surrendered possession.

The Spaniard’s winner was totally against the run of play as he pounced on a poor clearance by McGregor before calmly dinking the ball over the crestfallen Hull keeper.

United coach Thomas Christiansen admitted that his side were second best before being gifted their early Christmas present.

“We’ve reached one of our targets now. It feels nice to be back in the top six again. Our performance could have been better, but I suppose the only thing that matters are the three points,” he said.

“Looking at the table, I can’t have too many complaints. This was a very important victory for us. The players showed real character to get the result in the end.

“It’s not easy this division, and that showed here,, but we are in a good moment right now and we all have to take the positives. It’s another clean sheet and I have to be happy with that.”

Christiansen will be hoping that midfield mainspring Samuel Saiz will be available for Tuesday’s game at the Pirelli Stadium after sitting out Saturday’s game with a calf strain.

Leeds certainly missed his control and prompting against Hull, who could have been well ahead before Hernandez’s strike.

The much-criticised Felix Wieldwald, who enjoyed his eighth shut-out in 16 appearances, denied the visitors twice in an impressive opening spell for the Tigers in which they ran Leeds ragged.

Hull suffered more bad luck when defender Ondrej Mazuch went off with a hamstring injury shortly before his team-mate Jon Toral slapped a shot from distance against Wieldwald’s right-hand post.

There were fewer clear-cut opportunities after the break as the introduction of Eunan O’Kane helped stifle Hull’s openings.

In terms of game management, Leeds protected their lead well after a poor opening 45 minutes.

Hull have only won once in their last ten games and are just three points from the drop zone but new manager Nigel Adkins can see light at the end of the tunnel.

He said: “Overall we’ve probably created treble the amount of chances Leeds did, but they’ve won the game.

“The atmosphere and the crowd have lifted the home team here – it’s bound to.

“I’ve only been at the club a couple of weeks, but I’ve already seen plenty to be positive about.”