Just four points from our opening five games is an outcome even the most pessimistic of Leeds United fans would have struggled to predict.

The loss of our player of the season capped what was a massively uninspiring transfer window off and we’re now left looking at the players who missed out on the Premier League’s 25 man squads praying the depth we so desperately require can be plucked from these outcasts.

There are some reasons to be hopeful mind. Adam Clayton and Tom Lees have burst onto the scene in style, Luciano Becchio is close to a return, Ramon Nunez is scoring for fun and had it not been for the worst discipline record in the division we’d probably be sitting a lot prettier than we currently are.

But how has the uninspiring transfer window and a faltering start to the campaign changed your predictions for 2011/12. We ran the same poll you’ll see below before the campaign kicked off with over 60% predicting a play-off finish or better. Do Leeds still have what it takes to be challenging come May?

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
  • Optimist

    We’d be in the play-off positions had it not been for the red cards so I’m still confident

  • I looked at this squad before the season and figured 10th-12th would be about fair. I haven’t seen anything to change my mind so far.

  • Mark

    The squad isnt big enough for a 46 game season, we cant keep a clean sheet and Graysons record operating in the loan market is really poor. First 11 is poorer without Gradel however it is still ok, however they will be flogged to death playing every game because of the limited back up options consequently we will see the usual Leeds disintegration kick in around January/February. More desperate last minute loans will come in in March (“to see us over the line”) and will guide us to a mid table finish at which point we will get the bates/grayson spin telling us team is improving and its been a good season, club making a profit, the squad will be improved in the summer, team well placed for next season etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc      

  • Henry V L

    We have to be optimistic or what’s the point?
    As we are, just now, we will struggle to make the playoffs.
    We have got rid of a lot of deadwood and  can/must bring players in of a better quality to replace them.
    There will be more players leaving so we must get it right this time.
    I am sure this is the No1 priority for Simon.
    He has money and he has had a good clear out, so he can build again.
    Do or die!!
    Nil desperandum!!!

  • Anonymous

    Mid – Table  
    Tiny squad and although I think Nunez will get goals I dont think he will dominate the midfeild like Gradel. Lot of preassure on Claytons shoulders

    • TSS

      Clayton’s performances have brought a lot of hype but he seems to be handling it well and enjoying his football. I do worry where we’d be left if he was injured. 

  • Sailfin

    Bates said that we would getback to the prem, but, it would be done brick by brick ! However, if you keep selling your best bricks it will soon come tumbling down !

  • Shakamoto Insurance

    The smart money is on Leeds to finish mid to bottom end of the table. 

    The squad is considerably weaker than at the end of last season. The loss of Johnson, Gradel, Lichaj and the injury to Somma and Becchio (though he is coming back hopefully) has hurt us. Only Schmeicel was replaced like for like. We’re having to rely on last season’s ‘squad depth’ and youth – Clayton, Nunez, Lees, and they’re doing a damn fine job, but if the likes of Clayton and Howson get injured then you’re relying on Brown and Zac Thompson.

    A lot of fans complained that our players tire out towards the end of the season. The only players who put in a full shift last season without getting burnt out were Jonny and Johnson.

    The bookies put 12 teams above us in terms of getting promoted. That’s about right I’d say.

    And this is the big problem – the other teams are STRONGER than last season and a lot of teams have spent well and really invested in giving themselves a chance to get promoted. We’ve dropped backwards.

    Even more worrying is that next season we will be weaker still. Do you really think that contract expiring/ambitious players are either going to stay or get new contracts from LUFC? The players to go include Howson, Nunez, Clayton, White, Snodgrass, Becchio. And I’d probably stick Grayson in that list as well.

    • TSS

      We’ve already began contract talks with Nunez according to Bates. Now the transfer window is closed I’m not too concerned about all that as this is the time of season where I’d expect those with less than a year remaining to be tied up. 

      • Shakamoto Insurance

        What are these contract talks you speak of? Are they the same talks that we had with Johnson and Kilkenny? :)

        We all know the story – Bates offers £5k a week. Nunez says £15k a week. Bates says no it’s £5k, conversation over. Bates then adds him to a list titled “Available for sale in January.” Bates then moans about agents killing the game on Yorkshire Radio and then another Championship team buy him either in Jan or at the end of the season.

        • TSS

          Those are the ones mate, yeah. I’m just covering that now actually. See next post. 

    • Shakamoto Insurance

      Losing players is part of the game BUT if we lose the inspirational and passionate Howson & Snodgrass, then I guarantee you that there won’t be a need for protests outside the ground. The protest will be clear for all to see when there’s 5,000 less fans at Elland Road and a 50% drop-off in LUTV subscriptions.

      And that’s exactly what the club will get if they lose those two.

  • Tim Campbell

    I must say I have always been a glass is half full kind of guy, so with this in mind I’ve plumped for the play-offs for us this season. We have had a rotten rub of the green thus far and our luck is bound to turn sooner rather than later (get a decent referee lol). There will undoubtedly be some loan signings joining us, but the main body of the 1st team squad still looks very strong. The revelations so far must be lonergan, lees, clayton and nunez. These guys are playing up and beyond, and if we can get a decent LB in and becchio back we are up there with the best of them. PS another win over the scummers would be nice but I don’t want to sound greedy lol!!

  • Mike

    Have been impressed with Nunez and Clayton as most have – my worry is it’s a long season and we don’t have depth or quality in the squad to cope with suspensions, injuries, loss of form and general fatigue when playing twice a week. The defence still hasn’t been sorted and (as Ipswich shows) we’re incapable of shutting up shop. We seem to have been overtaken in spending power by so many clubs both in fees paid and contracts offered. There’s no doubt this division is a lot tougher than last season and we’re in a slightly weaker position squad wise. Whereas at the beginning of last season I would have settled for mid-table stability I then pushing on this season I fear we’re doing it in reverse.

  • from the bunker

    am not sure but i think the formation grayson plays and tactics to boot are are going to be more important than the personnel. its not gradels goals we will miss but his pace from midfield, I think some one else will like nunez could step up for the goals, but who fits in on the wing?

    my surprise prediction is going to get me some stick, but i think the defence could be our saviour of sorts. of the 5 who stated the last game, how many started a competitive match together before this season. Kisnorbo is finding his fitness and confidence still, white and lees will improve with experience too!. am not saying they will be a fortress but i can see the goals conceded column getting better and better.

    and watch out for the loan window too (isn’t this when we do our business any way)

    who knows what might come from all this, but i think triumph from adversity should be the leeds motto  

  • Gryff

    mid-table for me, but it could be play-offs if we get a decent run…

    We’ve not too bad a squad.

    Frustrating that we didn’t improve more, but last season our team would’ve been good enough for top-2 if we were consistent.

  • gerry

    We’ve had a lot of bad luck, coupled with a few mistakes inexperience makes.  I’ve looked again at the games we’ve played this season and honestly do not think that we’ve too much trouble making at least the play-offs with what I believe to be a better base squad than last year (though obviously needing strengthening).  I AM worried about contracts and lack of progress – I would like to see ALL of our remaining first team squad on a three year minimum tie up.  I think 442 and Andie Keough’s work rate has been a revelation, and I think he could play WITH Beccio – a proven goalscorer and improve off him.  He could also play with McCormack as we’ve seen, and I’m sure NUNEZ would score 20+ off him and with the service off the two youngsters who are also revelations (as well as CLAYTON of course).
    So, I’M FOR ever optimistic and putting down AUTOMATIC.

  • Col

    Didn’t realise Leeds fans were so optimistic!! Thought  it’d be a season of struggle & I’ve seen nothing so far to change my mind.

  • Mike Lord

    I’m confident in a good season providing Leeds can turn the recent displays into tangible results instead of honorable losses. Do that and we are in with a shout of promotion.

  • Shakamoto Insurance

    I’ve had time to think about it and to be fair, I think we have to wait until Christmas to see what Leeds are all about – then we’ll know how we will do. It’s all a bit of a hodge-podge at the moment. By Christmas, Grayson will have had a chance to try and sort it out. August & September is our pre-season. Not good, but that’s the way it is.

    The only thing I’d say is don’t rush Becchio. Keep him fit and bring him back slowly. He’s the ONLY chance we have of any promotion push. DO NOT play him against Palace. DEFINITELY DO NOT play him against Manchester United. Just get him ready and nicely warmed up for full team action in November/December. 

    Shit happens – if it means playing Paynter if Keogh or McCormack get injured, then so be it. Just don’t rush Becchio back. It’s not worth it.

    If you have a fully fit Becchio up front, with McCormack playing off him (and he SO needs a big man to play up front with), then we could have the most successful attacking partnership up-front in the Championship.

    And then…it’s catch-up time. If you win home games and get a point away, you’ll climb the league, and fast.

    Personally, I’m not confident, but that is Leeds United’s ONLY chance of promotion. Don’t rush Becchio back into action. His time will come but it will be in 2012, rather than 2011.

  • halifax white

    not very confident at all, it all depends if larry the lamb has the canines testies to front bates and demand we get someone decent in!! as for this emerg loan system dont agree wit it at all, 30 days for a player is not very consistant!! roll on january see where we are and spend some wonga!! another point does anyone apart from me think £38 for the east stand upper no consessions is another blatent rip off by master bates!!! i know its against the scum but come on!!!!!!

  • Andymidd

    I went to Doncaster in the Carling Cup with my lad, and I naturally wanted to go to the Man Utd game – but at category A prices I am making my own little stand and not bothering – far too expensive for a none event against a Man Utd reserve side – find another mug bates, I know you will.

    • LUFC Obiwan

      “Football without the fans is nothing” – Jock Stein.

  • Been

    I’m confident of a good season, get some cover on the back half and we’re right. There’s a problem if O’Brien is playing. Otherwise the midfield is good, Nunez must play & McCormack must put away more chances. Playoffs here we come!