Gary Neville thinks Leeds United could potentially get relegated from the Premier League next season if Elland Road remains empty with no fans.
The Yorkshire club are back in the top flight for the first time since 2014 after winning the Championship title last term and are looking to impress.
Marcelo Bielsa will take the Whites to Anfield for their opening fixture this weekend when they take on Premier League champions Liverpool.
But for any newly-promoted team to survive their first season they usually have to rely on their home form in front of their own fans.
But without a return date for spectators to be allowed inside stadiums amid the ongoing situation with the coronavirus pandemic, Leeds may suffer.
Many are tipping Bielsa to mastermind his team a comfortable Premier League finish but former Manchester United defender Neville does not go along with those views.
And he reckons their survival could depend on whether fans are allowed back inside Elland Road or not before the end of the season.
He said: “I don’t think they will go down but it will be a much bigger challenge for them without that crowd.
"I don’t think Leeds will go down, actually Leeds have a chance of going down if the fans don’t come back.
“If the fans come in the stadium I think they’ll stay up."
Neville has witnessed first hand how hostile Elland Road can be when he has visited with the Red Devils.
He added: “People ask about the most ferocious atmosphere you’ve played in.
“There is no doubt Anfield was the biggest test but when you went to Elland Road it was the most hostile, without a shadow of a doubt."
After 16 years of waiting, the Leeds faithful will be desperate to witness first hand their team in the Premier League.
But a lot will depend on when it is deemed safer for large crowds to return to sporting events.
At the moment there are some hopes that a smaller number could be allowed in from October, but nothing has yet to be confirmed.
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