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LUFC First month review - Reasons for optimism

LUFC First month review - Reasons for optimism

The first month of the season is over and Leeds find themselves in a lowly nineteenth place but all things considered I am reasonably optimistic for the season ahead.

Before a ball was kicked this season there was plenty of doom and gloom amongst supporters after the lack of players coming into the club.

Following the poor performance and defeat at Southampton on the opening day, it was made even worse.

The following week, the home game with Middlesbrough became something of a farce with referee Anthony Taylor taking centre stage, sending three players off, two from Leeds.

I am fairly sure that without the sending off of two of Leeds key players in Max Gradel and Jonny Howson we would have come away with a minimum of a point rather than nothing.

Two games, two defeats and the worst start to the season for thirty years.

Despite the Middlesbrough defeat, many fans came away from Elland Road that day having seen enough to believe that Leeds had enough to be competitive again this season.

Leeds finally got points on the board with a comprehensive 4-1 home win over Hull City and this without Gradel and Howson through suspension.

West Ham away looked the toughest game in the first month of the season and after falling behind early on, fans feared the worst.

Leeds went on to dominate for long periods but had to rely on a last minute strike from Adam Clayton to rescue a point.

The month finished with a trip to Ipswich and after being in total control for the opening fourty-five minutes the referee again decided to take centre stage.

Andy D`Urso, we all remember him, not good enough to referee in the Premier League but able to constantly make mistakes in the Football League.

Aidy White is sent off in the opening three minutes despite being clearly fouled first and it turns the game on its head.

The month ends with four points from five games and a lowly nineteenth place.

I am still very optimistic that we can once again be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.

The huge plusses in the first month of the season have been the introductions of Adam Clayton, Tom Lees and Ramon Nunez. All three have come into the side and filled positions that most fans felt needed bolstering during the summer. After the departure of Kilkenny and Johnson in the summer, midfield needed a major boost and Clayton has been a revelation. The youngster didn`t get a sniff last season and as is the Grayson way, he sent the lad out on loan to gain some experience.

A big thankyou to Peterborough and MK Dons because he has come back a hugely talented midfield player. The game at West Ham last weekend epitomised is start to the season when he bossed the midfield against Scott Parker, Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan.

He reminds me of Lee Bowyer. He has a fantastic engine, up and down the pitch and he will chip in with a few goals.

Tom Lees is another lad who has spent the past two seasons out on loan. He finally got his chance when he came off the bench against Bradford in the Carling Cup and he has not looked back.

Not only is he a decent defender but he gets forward. He is a fantastic crosser of a ball and he will score goals. I can see him getting between five and ten goals this season, which for a defender is a huge bonus.

Ramon Nunez has finally got his chance this season, although he is still playing a bit part role. If we are to lose either Gradel or Snodgrass then I am sure we already have a ready-made replacement.

He is still having to be content with a place on the bench most games but he`s got his chance in the Carling Cup and in one Championship game and he`s netted five times.

Great to see Patrick Kisnorbo back although he still doesn`t look 100% fit but he`s slowly getting their and his experience is getting him through most games.

Shame the same cannot be said for Andy O`Brien who looks woefully short of full fitness and looks a shadow of the player we brought in on loan last season.

Ross McCormack is beginning to find the net on a regular basis (six goals in his last nine competitive games). Andy Keogh has joined on loan and looks a good player although I doubt he will score many goals.

The good news is that Luciano Becchio might be back by the time we play our next championship game and that will give Grayson more headaches in his team selections.

Because of Birmingham`s participation in Europe, we only have three games during September but we have two very winnable home games against Crystal Palace and Bristol City. I am really looking forward to seeing Clayton play Kilkenny off the park in the middle of the pitch against Bristol City especially. Our only away game comes at Brighton when we will come up against a couple of familiar faces in Casper Ankergren and Gus Poyet.

I am expecting Casper to have an inspired game and I really hope he gets a good reception from the travelling Leeds fans.

We are now closing in on the end of the transfer window. The big question will be, will anyone come in for Snodgrass of Gradel?

I think we will hang on to the pair, whilst I can see some of the deadwood like Alex Bruce, Federico Bessone and Billy Paynter moving on, even if it`s just on loan.

I hope that we will see some additions; the one area I feel we strongly need to fill is the left full back position.

Looking forward to September when I hope we will see us club the table. We also have the small matter of a Carling Cup Third round tie against our old adversaries from across the Pennines.

An unbeaten month and more bragging rights would be lovely.

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Date:Monday August 29 2011
Time: 9:09AM

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2 Middlesbrough 44 26 9 9 87 32
3 Brighton 44 24 15 5 87 30
4 Hull City 44 23 11 10 80 31
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6 Sheff Wed 44 18 17 9 71 19
7 Cardiff 44 17 16 11 67 8
8 Ipswich 44 16 15 13 63 0
9 Birmingham 44 16 13 15 61 4
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