Leeds United: A good start is vital but relegation isn’t a threat

Ross McCormack. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
Ross McCormack. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
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The new Championship season gets under way in seven days’ time and as for Leeds United’s prospects, I think that they will be safe, but I don’t think they will be up there at top end either.

I reckon they will finish where they probably ended up last season and I’d back them to do that, but with maybe trying to push to get to the top 10.

For me, it’s got the feel of a transitional season for Leeds. But they will definitely be seeking and will maybe need a decent start.

It’s a new regime at Leeds and when that is the case, it’s forever important when you have a new chairman, manager, coach, backroom staff or whatever that you get off to a good start to settle things down.

Everybody at the club and also the fans will be anxious for that and for some encouragement early on.

Looking at Leeds, while goalscoring is a key area given the exit of Ross McCormack, so is the defence, you have got to say.

Managers will always look at stats andsee when a side is weak and such things as times that teams gave goals away and Leeds need to improve in that aspect too.

Home form will be massively important for Leeds too.

It should never really be a problem given such a passionate crowd at Elland Road, but unfortunately the expectation at home has maybe got too much for some of them a little.

With such a good crowd there in terms of support and numbers, they expect Leeds to do well and Leeds have fallen below that in terms of hitting that level for a few years.

A lot of these questions about home form, the defence and so on will be answered in the first month or so of the new season.

Let’s just see how Leeds start first before making quick judgements.

For me, you have got to say they have got a really tough-looking opener against Millwall at the New Den.

I don’t think anybody in the Championship would have wanted that to be their starting game!

Yes, I’d say you want to play Millwall away pretty early on. But I would not say that you would want it for your first game of the season away.

Certainly the manager as well, because you never get anything from a game down at Millwall unless you are very lucky usually!

I suppose some would say there’s an argument for getting it out of the way early on. You might get something and it could be a good time to face them in terms of catching them early and they also struggled a bit last season and the one before.

With it being their first home game of the season, they will be desperate to win and impress. But with it being their first game in front of their fans, they might just have a few teething problems, so it might be a chance to nick a draw or a win for Leeds.

After that, it’s Middlesbrough at home in their first match of the season at Elland Road and then Brighton and Hove Albion a few days later, so that constitutes a tough start for me.

Looking at the division, there will be some good teams in there, with the relegated teams all having the parachute payments, obviously, with the likes of Norwich and Cardiff likely to be strong.

Look at the way Fulham could also go out and buy Ross McCormack for such a big fee.

Then there’s the likes of Derby, who just missed out last year after losing the play-off final against QPR at Wembley and Nottingham Forest, who have underachieved a little bit.

And then there’s lots of others such as Wigan, Ipswich and Watford – and there’s Bolton and Blackburn to consider too.

There are loads of big teams in there.

As for the strugglers, in terms of looking at the teams who might be down there, Blackpool might be one who will maybe slip out and Rotherham might be another who go straight back down and those two are the only ones who leap out at me and make me say that they could struggling. But in this division, you just never know.

I actually think Brentford will be all right and think they will have a bit more about them than maybe Blackpool and Rotherham will have.

Looking at the division, there’re a lot of big teams and it’s such a tough division to predict and probably the toughest I can remember for a few years, certainly.

It’s a division where teams have to turn up on the day and your attitude and application have just got to always be spot on or you will get definitely turned over.

Matthew Pennington.

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