A dangling carrot to launch back but refreshing confidence in Leeds United's promotion bid - David Prutton

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LEEDS UNITED will finally return to Championship action with next Sunday’s 12 noon kick-off at Cardiff City and that is a tough first game back.

Given the current climate of the country’s ongoing fight against coronavirus and the associated social distancing measures, there’s a lot of ulterior activity to take into account.

I have said before in this column that at some stage a footballer just wants to play football and get back to the straight-forward nature of playing a football match.

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But there is protocol in place and there are all sorts of matters to consider right down to even how the bench is going to look - how many staff are going to be on it and what are they going to be wearing and obviously the lack of a crowd.

FAST STARTERS: Adam Forshaw, right, is expecting Leeds United to come flying out of the traps when the Championship season finally resumes. Photo by Clint Hughes/PA Wire.FAST STARTERS: Adam Forshaw, right, is expecting Leeds United to come flying out of the traps when the Championship season finally resumes. Photo by Clint Hughes/PA Wire.
FAST STARTERS: Adam Forshaw, right, is expecting Leeds United to come flying out of the traps when the Championship season finally resumes. Photo by Clint Hughes/PA Wire.

We would have spoken about this fixture, Cardiff against Leeds, as a bit spicy and there being a bit of a banter between the two fans.

But that’s not going to be there now so that’s another thing that’s different and then there’s the travel side of it and I honestly don’t know what will happen with that.

You would think that they would go down the day before.

Without taking COVID-19 into consideration, that is exactly what you would be looking to do.

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Leeds will want to hit the ground running, they have had a prolonged period of inactivity but they have probably been boosted by going back and training pretty damn hard when it comes to working for Marcelo Bielsa.

They will want to get this nine game mini-season kicked off in exactly the way they would want and preparation is vital.

But performance on the actual day trumps all that.

When you are booking parties of football teams and coaches et cetera it is not always straightforward for whoever is in charge of logistics and let’s be honest this makes it even less straightforward with regard to how they are going to handle the next month or six weeks.

Leeds midfielder Adam Forshaw certainly declared his confidence this week by saying that promotion was a ‘formality’ and that United would ‘romp it.’

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I suppose if you are an ardent, anti-Leeds supporter you would class that as a bit of arrogance and a bit of a carrot for other teams to try and throw back at him.

But if you are a Leeds fan I think it’s a very welcome and refreshing boost of inner confidence.

Forshaw is talking in very certain terms there in a period of intense uncertainty.

Patrick Bamford then played down Forshaw’s comments a bit speaking on Radio 5 Live, saying Adam had “maybe got a little bit carried away” and you know what Patrick is like.

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He’s a bit more reserved shall we say and a bit more balanced.

He’s a calm and sensible voice of reason and that’s not to say that Forshaw isn’t or that he has said something daft.

I think a bit of confidence is great but if you are a Cardiff player or supporter you will be saying ‘let’s see you romp it then and let’s see how you fare against us in the first game back.’

But confidence in all of the many shapes and forms that it takes helps teams become successful and success for Leeds is promotion so if confidence equals promotion then Leeds will look back on that and say ‘thanks very much Adam.’

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Do I think will Leeds romp it? When we have seen Leeds at their very best over the last full season and second elongated season they have at times blown teams away.

I think Leeds fans would take efficiency and effectiveness over entertainment which is obviously entertainment they are going to have to take in from afar if that gets them promotion.

I have done different podcasts and chats with different pundits and pundits that I know and then ones that I have not worked with so much before.

Everyone I have had the pleasure of chatting to seems adamant that Leeds and West Brom are going to do it automatically and that appears to be the general consensus.

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But the absolutely beautiful thing about football and the beautiful agony about it is that we can all sit here and say ‘yes we will do it’ but it still takes a monumental effort between now and the last game of the season for them to actually get it done.

Then it becomes past tense, ‘we got promoted’, not ‘we are going to get promoted, we hope to get promoted or we are going to romp it.’

You want to be able to turn around and say ‘yes we romped it, yes we got to where we needed to get and yes we got at the end of that season promoted to the Premier League.’

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