Leeds United namechecked by Championship boss as ‘testing month’ claim made

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Stoke City boss Alex Neil has been reflecting on his side's fixture list ahead of their October meeting with Leeds United

Alex Neil believes his Stoke City side need to pick up as many points as possible in the early part of the Championship season ahead of a ‘testing’ period in October when they will come up against Leeds United.

The Whites kick off their return to the second tier against Cardiff City as they continue their search for a new manager to lead them during the 46-game campaign.

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Leeds are among the favourites to be promoted next season, despite the uncertainty around their managerial position and what their squad might look like on the opening day of the campaign.

Neil feels his side need as much momentum as possible heading into October as they take on all three relegated Premier League clubs, with a midweek clash with Leeds awaiting on October 25.

He told Stoke Live: “It looks like a start where hopefully we can get our teeth into it. It only comes good if you pick up points and get them on the board. I think we’ve got a really sort of testing month of October.

"We play the three newly-relegated teams (Leeds, Leicester and Southampton) plus Sunderland and Middlesbrough, who were in the play-offs last year, so that’s all in one month. We start with a home game which is good and we end with home game, which is good. So all in all, I’m quite content.”

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Stoke finished last season in 16th, 16 points adrift of the play-off places and will be looking to strengthen their squad ahead of the upcoming campaign.

“Obviously we’ve got a lot of work to do between now and then to assemble the squad and get a team functioning and getting us ready,” Neil added.

“The strange thing is that we’ve got four games before the window ends so albeit, that first game will give us a flavour of where we are and what we’re looking like, but it’s certainly not going to be the end of what we do between now and the sort of end of August.”

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