A run of nine league wins in 11 matches has moved Leiria into contention for promotion from the second league for the first time since 2012.
After much change in personnel over the summer the side had stuggled to settle and sat in the relegation zone after four games. A very good run of form however has catipulted them up the league and they are now 4th, level on points with the promotion places.
One of the main causes of Leiria’s climb up the league has been forward Ricardo Pinho. The 29 year-old Brazilian was one of the few players to remain at the club after the mass exodus during the summer. Although Pinho was not a regular last season his patience has paid off as his recent rich vein of form coincides with the sides rise. Scoring 9 in his last 7 he now tops the leagues scoring charts and is attracting interest from leagues above. If Leiria can keep the forward fit and more importantly focused he can surely help them push for promotion.
While Pinho is clearly the man of the moment it has been the rest of the teams form which has helped to continue their latest six game winning run in the league. His strike partner Jose Postiga has chipped in with some important goals and while they may not be as decisive as Pinho’s, the defensive forward offers so much more. His tireless running will unsettle the opposing back line for others to profit.
Leiria have been defensively solid also keeping five clean sheets in their last nine league games. With so many players performing well it could be difficult to hold onto them with the transfer window approaching. The only blot on an otherwise clear record was the 3-0 away defeat to promotion rivals Olhanense. The then top of the league side were a class apart. Taking the lead in the early stages Leiria had no answers for the consistent attacks. Olhanense had their three goal lead by half time and, although Leiria’s tactical changes prevented further embarrassment, it wasn’t enough to trouble the opposition.
The next few fixtures become very difficult as Leiria face last years champions and table topping Sporting before facing their local rivals Académica. If however they can continue this fine run they will put themselves amongst the favourites for promotion.