Noel Whelan: Leeds United must prove early screen stars

Garry Monk.
Garry Monk.
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LEEDS United’s first game of the new season is on Sky and it doesn’t really surprise us does it?

They are carrying off where they finished last season.

But it’s a great game to have to start the season against QPR, who are a team I feel we can do really well against and get off to a really good start. That’s the main thing.

It’s going to be an early start, kicking off at 12 noon on a Sunday and it’s no different to what we had last season is it?

It’s not ideal, it wasn’t last season but let’s just hope that they are going to be a little bit more sensible about the changing of fixtures this year and have a little bit more consideration for the fans.

Once again we have got Fulham away on a Tuesday night and it’s ridiculous.

Surely they have got to have a little bit more common sense about the distances to games on a Tuesday night and for the fans who are going to go and watch the game.

We’ve also got Villa away on New Year’s Eve – what a great game to have.

The fans can enjoy it and it’s one of those delicious games that you look forward to, along with those against another of the relegated clubs, Newcastle United.

These are the games that you have got to go out there and get something out of it.

Newcastle are hot favourites to win the Championship and Burnley were well fancied last time.

With Burnley we knew they were going to be thereabouts but I think they had a little bit more character in their dressing room then Newcastle.

A lot of players there have come in to Newcastle believing they were going to be in the Premier league.

We will see if they have got the right attitude and appetite to play in the Championship because it’s a completely different kettle of fish.

We will soon see if they are trying to get out of the club and get another somewhere in the top flight or if they want to dig in and earn their money and get the club back to where it was.

You have got to look at the teams that have come down as favourites because they have still got the parachute payment so they can keep the players that they bought for the Premier League.

It gives them an advantage but, saying that, there’s no given right to getting promotion because you have come down. There will be a lot of teams with good squads who just didn’t quite make it last season going for it again.

We’ve got Fleetwood away in the League Cup and it’s a competition I’m sure which Garry Monk and the players will be going all out to win.

Momentum is massive, as it building confidence so I don’t think you can look at any game as a friendly.

Fleetwood is one of those games where everyone is going to say it’s a potential banana skin but you go about your business, you do your job right, you get the game won and you get into the next round.

Since last week, Aston Villa have signed Tommy Elphick, who we have lost out on and I think if we were interested we should have really gone for the jugular.

We seemed to want this player and if you want them then go and get them.

That’s what other teams are doing. They see the potential, they see the strength and are not slow in acting because other teams will be looking.

You’ve got to get in there first, sell the club to the player and then get him in the line, get him in the team.

I think Elphick and Cooper would have been a great partnership but you’ve got to act quickly.

Big clubs like Villa will not mess about. They want to streghten and get their team together as quickly as possible so that they have got every base covered come pre-season.

With Marcus Antonnson, I don’t know what’s been said to Garry Monk by the chairman.

I don’t know what restrictions he’s managing under, what money he has to play with. But if Antonnson has signed and the agreement is there that Monk has control of signings then surely the money has got to be available for him to carry out that job because we can’t afford to lose out on too many players that are in our price bracket.

Oxford United are saying they want £3m for Kemar Roofe. Is that too much? I think with just one good season behind him it probably is, yes.

When you have had one good season I guess you can demand a higher transfer fee but consistency is key. Anyone can have one good season but you have got to be doing it week-in, week-out and remembering that Chris Wood was £2m, it’s a lot to be paying for pretty much an unknown.

As for Ashley Fletcher, he has turned down the contract offer at Manchester United and coming to Leeds should be a no-brainer.

But Leeds have got show him that everything is in place and that the club is going in the right direction.

You have got to really sell it to him, and get him over the line as quickly as possible.

As for the Euros, I feel confident we will progress against Iceland.

The players like the bigger games and now that we have come to the nitty-gritty of the tournament this is where it all starts.

We have got a decent last 16 draw and there is more than enough quality in the England side to put this one to bed, progress to the next round and get one step closer to a final.