Leeds United diehards will love David Prutton's response to Sky Sports as air turned blue

David Prutton played more games for Southampton. Heck, the former midfielder's father-in-law is Brian O'Neil, who was a cult hero for the Saints in the '70s. However, the 42-year-old is also a proud member of the Leeds United 'family'.

"It will always be a tremendous privilege that I'm always continually thankful for," Prutton told Leeds Live ahead of his two former clubs facing off on Sunday for a place in the Premier League. "Going back there now with work, going back to watch games with my family, everyone is still lovely and very welcoming. Once you are part of the family there, you are in it for life."

Prutton, in his own words, was part of the 'band of waifs and strays' who last represented Leeds at Wembley in 2008. The Yorkshireman remains immensely proud that Leeds overcame a 15-point deduction as well as a first-leg defeat against Carlisle United to reach the League One play-off final that season, but the Whites were ultimately left stranded in the third-tier following a 1-0 loss against Doncaster Rovers under the arch.

READ MORE: Leeds United can end 'deathly quiet' nightmare to bank £140m FFP boost

READ MORE: Crysencio Summerville's true feelings about Leeds United as 'fighter' answers Jesse Marsch

"It felt like we were spent after Carlisle unfortunately," Prutton sighed. "Leeds fans turned up in their numbers as they always do. They were very noisy on the day at Wembley but, as a team, we couldn't replicate it. "

It was a familiar sinking feeling for so many watching on - just two years after Leeds suffered Championship play-off final heartbreak against Watford. Micky Walker, Doncaster's director of football, was among those who tried to offer some comforting words to Prutton, having played a part in his development, and empathised with how 'Wembley was no place for losers'.

Yet even getting back to the national stadium felt a long way off just a year previously for Prutton. The midfielder's hopes of doing so, and landing permanent move to Nottingham Forest, effectively went up in smoke after he was sent off in the 90th minute of a play-off semi-final against Yeovil Town, leaving his side to play half an hour of extra time with 10 men. Forest duly lost the game 5-2.

Memories were still fresh of Prutton pushing referee Alan Wiley during his time at Southampton in 2005, but Dennis Wise saw something of himself in his former team-mate and offered Prutton a trial at Leeds. "It was not only the club I needed but, potentially, the only club there," Prutton admitted.

Elland Road proved a sanctuary of sorts and it is worth noting that, even today, Prutton resides in Harrogate, where 'everyone is devoutly Leeds'. The club certainly left its mark.

"You don't walk into Leeds not understanding what history and heritage is," he said. "Whether it's Leeds in League One or a semi-final of the Champions League, it's huge.

"If you had said to me as a kid that you're going to get a chance to play for a club like that, just one game in that shirt would have done me. I was there for a prolonged period of time when we were in the doldrums and was part of keeping it afloat before other better players came in to get them back up into the proper places. You dream of playing for huge football clubs and Leeds United are a huge football club."

Prutton had seen the aforementioned Champions League nights from afar. The Hull native knew all about Wilko's army years before that and how the club was 'built on historical success and standing on the shoulders of giants'. The midfielder experienced the roar of Elland Road first-hand as an opposition player.

Prutton, in short, knew what it took and the man nicknamed 'Jesus' soon became a terrace favourite thanks to both his committed performances in the middle of the park and, of course, those flowing locks.

"I'm immensely proud of that," he said. "It was part of what that particular incarnation was like both football wise and from an aesthetic point of view.

"Working with Sky, they show bits and bobs like that all the time and I'm sat there staunchly proud of my shoulder-length hair. I'm like, 'F--- you lot!' I still think I looked the b-------, which probably says more about me than anything else."

After leaving Leeds, Prutton penned an open letter to the fans thanking them for their support and wrote of how proud he was to play a part in 'bridging the gap between an uncertain past and a no doubt glorious future'. There were some twists and turns to come - it is Leeds, after all - but the Whites finally got back to the Premier League after a 16-year absence in 2020.

Now, following last season's painful relegation, Leeds have the chance to bounce back once more on Sunday. So how does Prutton see it going as the broadcaster's two former clubs battle it out in the Championship play-off final at Wembley?

"I've put my neck on the line and said it will potentially be Leeds on penalties, but that's as far as I'll go," he smiled.