Ryan Parrish from Leeds United blog, the Scratching Shed, gave us his ‘Opposition’s View’ ahead of this weekend’s trip to Elland Road.
After last season’s disappointment of missing out on a play-off place, most Leeds fans would be expecting to us to build on last seasons experience and go one better with the ultimate ambition of reaching the Premiership. Unfortunately this hasn’t been the case and it became pretty clear throughout pre-season that achieving promotion with this squad is very unrealistic.
Last season we were the league’s top scorers but the defence was our Achilles heal, often needing to score two or three goals to even get point, as seen in both games against Portsmouth and we just haven’t seemed to have learnt from our mistakes.
We let Bradley Johnson and Neil Kilkenny both leave on free transfers which was disappointing, aswell as the sales of Kasper Schmiecel and last season’s star man, Max Gradel.
Adam Clayton and Ross McCormack have both come into the team this year and have been outstanding so far, but I can’t help but feel that we are starting from scratch again this season, rather than building on the positives of last season. Personally, I believe that if we can sort our defence out, a top six finish is achievable, but if not, we are going to have to settle for mid-table.
Ross McCormack - currently The Championship’s top scorer with eight goals. The man is on fire at the minute and has been scoring goals for fun so far this season. He hardly got a look in last season but he has really shown his class this season and has more to offer than just scoring goals as his all round game is also superb. He’s formed a good partnership with Andy Keogh up front but the return of Luciano Becchio from injury could see a new strike partner for McCormack which is a mouthwatering prospect!
Adam Clayton – he spent most of last season out on loan but he has walked straight into our team, looking a class act in midfield. He always looks composed on the ball and his vision is exceptional. He carries a goal threat too, scoring against West Ham and Bristol and is not afraid to shoot from distance. His performances have caught the eye of several Premiership clubs so I just hope we can keep hold of him for years to come.
Andy Lonergan – we signed him from Preston for 200k in the summer and despite our defensive frailties, Lonergan has been outstanding in goal for us so far. His penalty heroics against Bristol City kept us in the game and he commands the area really well, something which we lacked last season from Kasper Schmeicel. He is definitely the signing of the summer for us.
Since the International break, we’ve taken seven points from a possible nine which is pleasing, but our performances have been far from convincing.
We scraped out late home wins against Crystal Palace and Bristol City and threw away a two-goal lead at Brighton to draw 3-3 last Friday. It’s fair to say that our defence cost us three-points at Brighton on Friday but we showed incredible spirit to grab a 92nd minute equaliser.
Out of the team that started Friday’s game only Robert Snodgrass and Jonny Howson were regulars last season so maybe it’s a case of the team needing time to gel.
Hopefully we can carry our good form into Saturday’s game, with this Leeds team there’s bound to be goals either way so I can see it being another high scoring affair. We are still looking for our first clean sheet of the season, so it would be nice to see one on Saturday although my head says we won’t! I’m predicting/praying for a 2-1 home win.