It's only mid-September, but already the dreaded ‘R’ word is being bandied about.

It was mostly from the mouths of gloating Leeds United supporters as their team eased to a comprehensive victory in the Elland Road rain.

But it’s painfully clear that Town need a big improvement if they are to stave off relegation back to League I for a third successive season.

It’s still early in the Chris Powell reign.

But just one point from nine is a pretty dismal return from his first three matches at the helm.

And how Town could do with a win when Millwall come to the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday.

The goals and a late shot against the outside of a post aside, there was little in the way of all-out entertainment for the home fans in a bumper 29,131 crowd.

 

Rather than putting Town under sustained pressure, Leeds – who had right-back Gaetano Berardi red carded in the 73rd minute, by which time the game was well beyond reach – played a patient, probing type of game.

And they did it pretty well to record a third win in four under the caretaker managership of Neil Redfearn, who is set to be replaced by Slovenian Darko Milanic.

Powell restored Jonathan Hogg to midfield after five games out with a calf injury.

The former Watford man played alongside Conor Coady and Jacob Butterfield in a 4-3-3 system.

But Town were too often second-best in midfield, with Rudy Austin a driving force in white.

Leeds’ diamond, with Dane Casper Sloth at the tip, was sharp.

So too were powerful frontmen Mirco Antenucci and Souleymane Doukara.

They got a goal apiece after Austin had opened the scoring in the 19th minute.

Joel Lynch’s attempted clearance up the field instead of into touch rebounded into the path of the Jamaican, who drilled a rising shot past Alex Smithies.

Town’s best period of the game came as they tried to respond.

Harry Bunn, playing alongside Nahki Wells and Sean Scannell up front, was busy, but couldn’t quite find the decisive touch.

Leeds United (3) v Huddersfield Town (0) - Harry Bunn shot.
Leeds United (3) v Huddersfield Town (0) - Harry Bunn shot.
 

Yet again, really meaningful chances for Powell’s side were too few and far between.

And Italian Antenucci’s goal in first-half stoppage time, fired in after centre-back Giuseppe Bellusci chipped against the bar, was obviously a major setback for Town.

Any next goal was going to be crucial, and after some huffing and puffing from the visitors – Mark Hudson twice headed wide in the early stages of the second half – it came in the 69th minute from the boot of Senegalese star Doukara, who beat Smithies with a low effort after being teed up by the impressive and energetic Austin.

Such was Leeds’ dominance, the loss of Swiss full-back Berardi after a second bookable offence (he fouled Bunn after bringing down Jack Robinson for his first yellow in the first half) was barely noticed.

And the defeat would have been heavier still had Smithies not managed to deflect Antenucci’s late shot against the woodwork.

Bunn’s performance was the only real plus for Town, whose skipper Lee Peltier played at right-back after his stint in midfield and endured a fairly torrid return to his old stomping ground.

Wells, who badly needs some better service, was unable to force his way into the game, and Scannell was seldom able to pose Leeds any danger.

While the home side moved up to 11th in the Championship, Town remained in the bottom three, and even with 38 games to put things right, the warning signs are there.