If the experts that compiled Sky Sports’ Championship preview are to be believed, it’s going to be a tough season for Leeds United with the Whites predicted to finish 2010/11 in 19th place.

Perhaps it’s heart ruling mind, but I honestly believe Leeds United are much better than what Sky Sports predict. In fact, my own personal prediction is for a top half finish which, with a bit of luck and some strengthening in the right areas could be a play-off push come January.

Whilst pre-season friendlies can often be misleading when trying to gauge the strength of a squad, the 3-1 victories over Wolves and SFK Brann surely prove Leeds United are stronger than a 19th place finish?

The basis for Sky Sports prediction seems to revolve around the departure of Jermaine Beckford, and the fact that Leeds United haven’t replaced the invaluable goals he scored. As true as that may be (and I’m sure Billy Paynter would disagree), the rest of the team now seem to be scoring for fun. 11 goals in our last 3 friendly fixtures doesn’t suggest a team that’s void of ideas!

It would seem I’m not alone in believing Leeds are much stronger than Sky do. On the same website there’s a poll asking who the fans think will win the npower Championship. Unsurprisingly, Middlesbrough lead the way after investing heavily this summer, but in second place are Leeds United. Maybe the name distorts the voting, but that same name helps attract a better class of players and should see us finishing well above the 19th place mark.

For my own prediction this season, I’m going to remain optimistic and go with a 6th/7th place finish for Leeds. There’s 3-4 teams that are undoubtedly stronger than us, but after them comes a pool of about ten teams with little to choose between them. Leeds United should be in amongst the ten, but with the lure of Elland Road to entice the better loan players and some quality strength in January, we should have an advantage.

  • Auz

    On the other hand, we’re one of the choices in their “who will win” poll, and currently 2nd http://www.skysports.com/poll/results/0,19911,11687_141740,00.html

  • Kevin O’Connor

    I love how SkyBet have Leeds at 14/1 to win the title and have us down to finish 19th – but have Hull at 16/1 and a prediction of 4th!

    • TSS

      @kevio17 Odds alter according to how much money is placed on a team rather than the likelihood of it happening. That’s why Hull’s odds are better than ours – because no one cares about them!

  • Dirty Leeds Blog

    Let them keep thinking that, I can’t help thinking we’re going to surprise more than a few teams this year. Starting with Derby on Saturday!

  • Matt BB

    I’m sorry what a load of codswallop. I’m probably not as optimistic as I was when we got promoted but scraping 19th is way below what Leeds are capable of.

    One factor that might bear that out as correct is our wafer thin squad. Just seen Lees gone on loan to Bury – who’d have thought them wanting to borrow a defender off us! But that means funds free for wages.

  • Dje

    @mattbb

    Every little helps and all, but I doubt Lees is/was on much of a wage at Leeds.

    • Matt BB

      @djedjedje yeah well £1 is £1 too much for old ken..

  • cossie(LUFC)

    442 magazine have us finishing in 18th! (Boro winning with Forest going up with them)

  • henry vincent lewis

    I am with you Matt.
    The season has not begun and we Snoddy and Billy P injured, and they could be out for a month or more.
    Not to mention Paddy & Ben Parker.
    We have Mad Max and David Somma banned.
    It is vital we have a good start and we are down to the bones already.
    Our defence must perform and we must replace Jermaine with a speedy goalscorer.
    Top half finish would be good just now.

    • Matt BB

      @henryv it looks like 442 not rating us either, and perhaps thats down to things like size of squad, fact we’re only newly promoted etc.. We tend to start reasonably well and good news Snods is back for next month, but we are still lacking that WOW signing. What a message it would have sent out if we’d brought back Smithy, or signed Earnshaw.. but theres still a couple of days to go..

  • Dje

    Re: Sky’s predictions – Sky are good for transfer rumours because they are well-connected with the actual clubs and thus have a seal of officialdom to their speculation. Speculating on league positions isn’t the same kettle of fish, and they are only slightly more credible than an informed unbiased football follower who you might strike a conversation with in the train to work.

    I’d be more worried it the gypsy lady who badgers me in the street was troubled as to why the number 19 kept coming up when reading my palm, or if whilst on holiday in Greece, and trying to chat-up some local lass called Pythia, from Delphi, suddenly found that she transcended the language barrier to crone in a Yorkshire accent that she had a hunch on Leeds being in a relegation battle this season.

    Yeah, that’d be quite scary actually.

    • Matt BB

      I tend to agree there, if it appears on Sky Sports theres generally an element of truth to it, if it appears on betfair, someone peeled themsleves off the pub floor at 4am having drunk 8 special brews and realised they hadnt completed their assignment last night, followed by a quick trawl of the blogs, and a little bit of pixie dust…. kapow the latest rumour,
      @TSS you need to stop giving them credibility!

      • TSS

        @mattbb But, I enjoy the running banter with Betfair!

        • Matt BB

          @TSS Surely they have a board with players names on – a la a game of Twister, and a spinning selector device… oh ok yes they provide banter – but have any of their rumours axctually come true?

          • TSS

            @mattbb

            No, of course not! Hence my continued amusement.

  • Si

    What a load of old tosh….

    With the addition of Watt, a striker a la Becks and a Midfield ball winner we will finish in the top 8 – i think we will suprise many this season – why? – Because we are playing without the pressure we played with during the second half of last season and the first half of last season showed exactly what this group of players can do when not under pressure…. 6th for me!!

  • Max.

    I think Leeds are very difficult to call this season, and so is much of the rest of this division (which in turn makes it very difficult to place Leeds in the final table). Very few clubs have invested, and the ones that have, have not by and large invested in sure-fire bets. Most of the clubs in the top half last season have lost players; the clubs coming down (and several others such as Crystal Palace and Cardiff) have troubles of their own which they need to stabilise. A couple of other clubs will hit similar problems this season.

    I think Forest and maybe Leicester will do well; Scunthorpe (unless they spend the Hooper fee on a few good players) badly. That’s about it.

    Also, most of the teams haven’t finished constructing their final squads yet.

  • Max.

    > Also, most of the teams haven’t finished constructing their final squads yet.

    And while I was typing that, Leeds announced that they’ve signed Watt on a season-long loan.

  • henry vincent lewis

    Great news Max!
    It will be interesting to see where he plays?
    I agree that not many clubs have invested much but the majority already have a squad of Championship players.
    We do not yet, but we are getting there!!!!
    Cannot wait for the big kick off!

  • derrick

    I dont mind skysports prediction to be honest.
    What i do know is that we will not finish 19th or below.Ok we did limp across the line last season, but this is i different kettle of fish.Our players on there day can hold there home against anyone in this league. For sure it is going to be a lot tuffer than last season but to be honest apart from the Bury game i have been impressed so far. Yes light in midfield but the system we are playing looks quite good at the moment.I will be happy just to stay up, but i also think we are capeable of a top six finish.Well i dont know about you but i cant wait for kick off after 5-6 years of hell things will be better much better. So come on Leeds prove them all wrong and make all us Leeds fans happy.

  • mike howell

    Who cares what anyone else thinks, lets get behind our glorious club LEEDS UNITED and MARCH ON TOGETHER. Bring them on.

  • Raph

    19th…thats a laugh. I strongley believe we have a good enough squad (when fit & improving now) to compete with anyone in the league even mighty middlesbrough (yeah realy mighty) there in same league as us for a reason

  • Chareose

    or are we all lookiong through 3D enhanced rose tinted specticles……?

  • Graham Hugill

    19th is ridiculous.

  • Colin

    Errr, Sky maybe right?

    Leeds have:

    an inexperienced GK
    a defence with no pace
    no proven strikers at Championship level
    a number of injuries and suspensions from day one
    bought freebies/non wanted players

    Leeds have not:

    spent any ‘real cash’ on new players
    not replaced Beckford – who is scoring for Everton in pre-season
    gone a season for some time without a massive dip in form

    19th is probably right.

    Summary: Leeds are an ex-3rd division team with the addition of average (at best) Championship players.

    • timm

      Blimey Colin! Sounds like you’re not far off reaching for the shotgun! It’s also a team that comprehensively beat Man Utd at old toilet & matched them in every department. It’s also a team that has looked comfortable against opposition from higher leagues. We had players queuing up to score v Wolves, & whilst it’s true that this was ‘only’ a friendly, the look on Mick McCarthys face should have told you that this was a competetive match were we outthought & outplayed them. We’ve made some great signings so far & rumoured to be getting in young Caulker on loan from Spurs. Over 30,000 expected on saturday, a talented young manager. i prefer to see a half full glass myself.

  • White to the core

    Although my heart says we are better than 19th. The fact is we should have brought in more quality than we have. We need to build for the future and unfortunately that means spending money or getting decent premier league bosmans. I cant ever see old grey beard the spending challenged pirate forking out more than dinner money on players. Its got him by for last few years and so why change. Many on here predicted him spending with his war chest if we got promoted and that there was no need to spend in division one. A man in his late 70’s is not going to be looking far in the future. And unfortunately just being LEEDS UNITED isnt going to be enough to take us on to the next level. We need a chairman with vision and ambition who will invest in youth, the acadamy, our training ground and stadium back and buy (a foreign word alien to the bates regime) players fit to wear the leeds shirt and invest in the future. A future in the premier league. Im sick of people viewing us as a feeder club with no ambition and fans living in the past. We are better than that! The sad thing is some us are so battle weary now we would settle for a place anywhere other than the relegation places. Bates lethargy is rubbing off on us and he’s wearing us down. Lets stand up and be counted. Without us there is no leeds. Its the communities club, not some jolly roger waving old codgers play thing!

  • timm

    The club showed real ambition with the early signing of Schmeichel, they beat off premiership clubs to sign him & reportedly have bettered the 15k a week he was on at Notts Co. At that early stage of the close season the club would’ve been fairly confident of off-loading Sheehan, Robinson, Michalik & Kandol, & therefore freeing up 40k a week which is the approx combined wages of these four players. Im certain that if it weren’t for these players (or 3 of them anyway) refusing to budge, we’d have seen a big money signing. Regarding Hooper, he was massively overpriced & only Celtic were daft enough & rich enough to throw that kind of money at him. The player himself took the easy option instead of making a step up like Beckford. I hope people on here don’t start going on about how great he’d have been for us if they see him banging them in every week up there. As someone who goes to Ibrox Park regularly i can honestly say that i can’t remember the SPL being as poor as it is just now.

  • dont bother reading half the replys in this thread, leeds fans are the most depressive fans in the league , if we dont spend money were doomed . lol. between 9th and 5th for me ,good additions to squad even freebies (oh my god they must be shit then) and a good young manager . glass half full for me .

    • timm

      Good lad Sean.

  • Max.

    19th is probably too low, but the Championship is so difficult to predict this season, with weak teams coming down from the Premiership (on record low points), decent teams coming up and numerous teams (including Leeds, but not only Leeds) either cash-restricted or in genuine trouble. So there’s a very wide range of teams which are difficult to predict. Leeds squad seems OK (to me), probably short in attack, but with the capability to score goals in midfield. Becchio was more effective than Beckford, within Grayson’s system, in the last part of last season; but Paynter is a risk and Grella and Somma are very much unproven. Leeds are going to have a tough time in the first few weeks with Gradel, Snodgrass, Kisnorbo and Somma unavailable (that’s before any further injuries kick in as well). Most of the papers are predicting mid table – could be top 6 or could be lower than mid table; right now I would expect anything apart from top 2 or bottom 3.

  • White to the core

    Ive said numerous times about the financial implications of not offloading the 4outlaws, but im telling you now Bates will never make a big money signing! As far ar graysons concerned he can only do the best with what hes got. Hes a great young manager but no miracle worker. We need to find 30 odd goals from somewhere, like you im a Becchio fan but even if he scores 30 we going to be about 18 goals short of what we managed last year. I agree players especially good strikers are overpriced but like it or not thats the going rate and ambitious chairman (with the money grey beards pocketed along with his broken promises) will pay that. There is only so far you can get on a shoestring budget and its a fact 9 times out of ten you get what you pay for ,the odd time you strike lucky. You dont tell the fans theirs a war chest ready to be spent in championship , unless its just before the next seasons season tickets go on sale. Im amazed that some sad sapplings still have faith in the coniving old git. I will be cheering us on from the east stand every match, whoever wears the shirt. But my faith in Bates disappeared long before the waste of space arrived at elland rd. I will repeat my main point you will only get so far on a shoestring budget and i think we’ve reached that point. The future of our club in all departments need investment. He would have bought a lot of faith if he had kept his word and bought back Thorpe arch. I could go on!

    • timm

      Since you seem to like mentioning shoes, here’s one for you, don’t run before you can walk. There must be no more boom & bust ever again at this club. we’ll find our feet (shoes again!) in this league & Grayson will know by xmas whether or not he needs to strengthen. I predict a takeover within 18 months but let’s be careful what we wish for. Our friends in Manchester & Liverpool would give anything to have a club that has no debt, shows a profit at the end of the year, & is run by someone who actually ventures out to meet the fans now & again. Don’t get me wrong, i can’t stand the bloke, but as we found out to our cost, it could be a hell of a lot worse.

      • White to the core

        Shoe(nooz) you lose. No ones talking about spending on a Risdale sized scale. Since you are happy with whats in the pot , enjoy the meal. Just dont complain when it tastes destinctly sour a la batés. Me i would rather see some of the millions we have, spent on the club. In all areas!

  • henry vincent lewis

    I still think that Simon is waiting to pounce with Premiership reserves.
    Young (lower wages) and exciting.
    Isaid it months ago and I still feel it was his intention all along.
    The big clubs in the Premiership have their first team squads loaded with big money foreigners but they have many a good lad who needs competitive games.
    We could not interest them in Div 1, but the Championship is different.
    We are Leeds United!!
    We have Sanchez and I expect a few more.
    That will do for me.
    Midfield and defence, and speedy striker!

  • timm

    We’re not football managers, so for all we know, Grayson could’ve got his man when he signed Paynter? Regarding ambitous managers being willing to pay top money for strikers, you won’t find a more ambitious chairman in the game than Steve Gibson at Boro, but even he walked away from Hooper when the price was quoted, as did Mike Ashley. Boro & Newcastle are far far wealthier than we are.

  • Anthony Lewis

    They love Man United at Sky don’t they? I think they couldn’t be more wrong. There are a lot of sides in the championship who have weaker squads including many who were already there. I think we’ll finish around about 10th or 11th.

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