This is a big weekend for Leeds United’s season. It’s early days and you can’t read too much into the Championship table yet but we’re heading into back-to-back home games now and that’s a chance to make a real statement of intent.
There’s no question at all that we’ve had a good start. We’re unbeaten after five games and if you look at the Championship as a whole, there aren’t many other teams who can say the same.
But I’m sure our head coach would be the first to say that it’s only a start.
Take four or six points from Brentford and Ipswich Town and we’ll be talking about some serious momentum behind us. That would turn a good start into a great start and it would leave us right in the mix of the top six.
As I say, it’s important not to read too much into league positions but I promise you that by the end of this month, every club will be fixated on the table. I always think that if you’re in decent fettle when you get to the end of September – 10 games in, something like that – then you’ve laid a platform for a good year. And more importantly, you’ll have given the supporters a shot in the arm.
I sense real positivity among our fans at the moment and the win at Derby County before the international break fired us all up. That’s what good teams do – they go to a difficult venue like that, turn up properly and do the business. It was a big result and it’s set things up nicely for the second month of the term.
What’s important now is that we get into these two home matches in exactly the same way. I was critical of the display against Sheffield Wednesday a few weeks ago but only because I want to see the players going for the jugular from the off at Elland Road.
That match fell at the end of a busy period and I understand that but it’s still true that the team didn’t attack Wednesday with enough energy or intensity, certainly not until the last half-hour.
Most of Uwe Rosler’s squad have had two clear weeks to draw breath and prepare so something tells me that tomorrow’s clash with Brentford will be different. I’m hopeful that we’ll get right into them and lift the crowd straight away. That’s so vital at Elland Road. It’s the thing that makes life very difficult for the opposition.
Over the past two or three years we’ve had a bad habit of playing on the back foot at home.
We’ve let other sides have their fun and that’s not the way it should be at Leeds. No matter how tough a time we’re having as a club, Elland Road should always be an intimidating venue to visit. There were too many times when our team failed to lift the fans and everything went flat.
The good thing now is that Brentford and Ipswich will see these matches as very tough fixtures. It pains me to say it but at times in the last few seasons I’d have been looking forward to playing Leeds. There was no aura about us and no fear factor. For a while now I reckon that teams have fancied their chances against us.
As it is, the first month of the season has given us a more dangerous reputation. We were well worth the victory at Derby and we never really looked like losing any of our league matches.
Obviously it was disappointing to get pegged back by late goals against Burnley and Bristol City but the fact that we should have won both games is a positive thing. Quite often when you nick late results yourselves, it papers over the cracks of poor performances.
The bottom line is that this Leeds side is in healthy shape after a good month and a good transfer window. You can always wish for one more signing and I’d have liked to have seen another centre-back come in but a club has to walk before it can run. We’re walking at the moment but do the business in the next two matches and we really will be up and running.
This for me is a crucial stage of the campaign.