The Whites are hopeful of breaking the 17,525 record attendance, set by a May 2017 Merseyside derby, when their Under 23s host the young Citizens and ticket sales broke the 16,000 mark on Tuesday night.
With plenty of time left to purchase tickets and the likelihood of significant ‘walk ups’ on Friday, there’s a real chance Cresswell and co will be taking on the league leaders in front of an Elland Road audience nearing 20,000.
Cresswell’s father Richard played for and coached at the club, so the 19-year-old has grown up with full awareness of just how passionate the Leeds fanbase is.
That does not mean he and his team-mates should not appreciate it every time the fans turn out in droves for a 23s fixture to provide an atmosphere that is not found at most academy games.
“No one’s like Leeds,” said the center-half.
“No one brings fans like Leeds, you see it with the first team, home and away they’re always there. Even with the 23s, I remember the lads came back from Tottenham away and they were saying that the Leeds fans there were just singing away, so you’re not gonna get this anywhere else. I think for us as a group, we can take it in, you know, and just appreciate the support we’re getting, because I do not think we’re going to get it anywhere else. “
Having such sizable and vocal backing will be a boost for a team who have endured a difficult season. The needs of the first team have often left the 23s without their best and most established players, making results hard to come by and a relegation battle a reality. Cresswell expects the fans to play their part, just as he will.
“When we play at Elland Road, having the fans there is massive for us and will be on Friday night and it’ll really push the lads on,” said Cresswell.
“It’s an experience footballers have got to get at some point in their career. So if it comes for the 23s on a Friday night, so be it, but I think I can just help by guiding them through the game, making that platform from the back and letting the attacking players go, do what they want and get the crowd excited. “
The attendance figure is a matter for club officials, not players, to try and influence, so Cresswell’s focus between now and then will be the game itself, against the team six points clear at the top of the PL2 table. The Citizens are intent on finishing the job and securing the title, while Leeds themselves have a job to do with two games remaining.
“I think me and the lads are just treating it like a normal game,” said Cresswell.
“We’re not really focusing on the crowd, to be fair. Obviously it’s really important but we’re focused on our job and doing our job, right, so it’s just a normal game for us. If we can go in there with that mindset, I’m sure we’ll pull it off.
“Obviously it’s a massive game for not just the 23s but the whole Academy because obviously you want to stay in the PL2 Division One. No matter the performance, if we can get the three points on Friday, then job’s a good’un.”