By Ian Waterhouse
Summer is finally hotting up, Okay not the weather but forget about that because the new Championship season gets under way this weekend.
Leeds United start their 2016/17 campaign with an away day trip too an unpredictable Queens Park Rangers side on Sunday in front of the Sky cameras. Both clubs will be hoping for improved fortunes after rather anonymous campaigns last time out.
QPR finished 12th whilst Leeds finished one place behind them in 13th with the two clubs separated by just one point. However, a lot has happened since the season ended and there is a vibrant feeling around Elland Road that this year ‘could’ be different.
Yes, we have been here before (every season in fact) and considering the last three seasons have equated into two 15th places and a 13th place finish, it is fair to assume that optimism must surely be taken with a pinch of salt.
Amid rumours of a Chinese Consortium take over, Flamboyant Italian Massimo Cellino is still in charge and has appointed a man with Premier League know how in ex Swansea Manager Garry Monk. How he deals with the harsh realities of a brutal 46 game Championship season is yet to be seen, but the appointment is viewed as a positive among the terraces.
Although sacked manager Steve Evans did not do an awful lot wrong, there is a feeling that Monk, is more than capable of taking the club back to the big time with some much needed stability and positive press.
As is the norm with the playing squad there are changes, and perhaps this is where an element of the optimism comes from. Despite the loss of Lewis Cook to Bournemouth (there are always some casualties unfortunately) Leeds have made some very sensible and exciting purchases.
Most ambitious and forward thinking of all these must be the signing of Kemar Roofe from Oxford United. The 23 year old fired in an impressive 22 goals for Oxford last season and was the star of League two during Oxford’s promotion campaign.
Rob Green is an experienced and useful signing as cover for Marco Silvestri (who has little in the way of competition for his position) and the loan signing of Kyle Bartley adds an element of stability and option to the defence.
Remarkably it is now 12 years since Leeds were last in the top flight and after recent poor campaigns surely things can only get better.
The talking will have to be done on the pitch, but the talking off it has given us reason to believe that this season could see a push for the play offs, realistically out-right promotion could be a step to far but I am sure most Leeds fans will agree, we just want a campaign to get excited about.
Transfers so far
- Marcus Antonsson Kalmar FF Undisclosed
- Kyle Bartley Swansea City Loan
- Robert Green Unassigned Free
- Kemar Roofe Oxford United Undisclosed
- Lewis Cook Bournemouth Undisclose
- Casper Sloth Aalborg BK Undisclosed