Callum Dent, a Leeds United fan gives us his thoughts of the spectre of Leeds United on the Championship this season.
As the season starts with a defeat (away to Southampton), it seems Leeds United’s chances of emulating last term’s seventh place finish could be hard.
After missing out on the play-offs by just a matter of points, the Whites’ recruitment drive during the summer hasn’t exactly gone to plan as they prepare for another season of Championship football.
Three players have arrived at Elland Road, two of them goalkeepers, while three have departed, including two of the club’s influential midfielders on free transfers. Losing players is always part and parcel of football but not replacing them is criminal, especially in the competitive nature of the second tier of English football.
Bradley Johnson, the hustler in the United midfield, has joined Premier League newboys Norwich, while Kilkenny, after a long dispute over a new contract, signed for Championship rivals Bristol City on a three-year deal.
United have brought in the experienced Michael Brown, but many people suggest his best days are behind him. Brown will offer bite and presence in the middle of the park and give Jonny Howson more freedom to attack, but will he get about the field as well as Johnson did or pick a pass like Australian Kilkenny? Probably not.
The fact Blackburn midfielder Keith Andrews has rejected a loan move to Elland Road suggests the club are trying to attract Premier League players, while Sammy Clingan, Keith Southern and former Leeds player Alan Smith have all been mentioned.
Those looking to place a free bet on the Championship should note that Leeds have strengthened their goal keeping ranks with Paul Rachukba and Andy Lonergan arriving from Blackpool and Preston respectively. Kasper Schmeichel was somewhat farmed out to Leicester after manager Simon Grayson failed to rate his first season in Leeds’ goal.
It’s not all doom and gloom though for Leeds as Paddy Kisnorbo makes his long-awaited return to the side after struggling with injury. The big Australian failed to feature last season but, after starting pre-season, looks set to shore up a leaky defence that showed signs of cracking all the way through last season.
Ben Parker could also strengthen the defence by filling the vacant left-back spot if he stays free from injuries. What Leeds have done, is keep their key wingers that were pivotal to their success last season. In Robert Snodgrass and Max Gradel, they have attacking players with Premier League class that can change the game with one act of brilliance.
It does promise to be a testing time at Leeds this season but it was last campaign and, after finishing a highly-respectable seventh place in their first season back in the Championship, there are reasons to be cheerful so don’t completely rule out Grayson’s men when placing your free bets.