With the new season just a few days away, The Scratching Shed has rounded up a selection of Leeds United bloggers and asked them to stick their necks out by predicting the unpredictable – how will Leeds United fare this season?

Since the last time we did this there are an awful lot more Leeds United blogs out there so we’ve decided to split the predictions into two parts, the second will follow later this week.

Eamonn Dalton (Howson Is Now)
Prediction – Play-Offs   

Well, there we have it. We’ve just had an entire summer of Christmas Day-like anticipation, yet we’re about to eat our turkey, pull some crackers and sit down to watch It’s a Wonderful Life without ever having opened our presents. We’ve been looking at it for months, shaking the box, pleading with those in the know (our parents/twitter trolls) to tell us what’s inside, but nothing. We still know nothing. The present even disappeared there for a while, Santa threatened to take it back to Lapland/Monaco. But it’s here, it’s unopened, and it’s killing us.

As for the season, I have no clue. I think the first team is decent and probably good enough to push for the playoffs but there’s so many variables (+Takeover  / – Injuries) that could see us go either way. I’m going to say we get taken over, we finish 6th, and we win the playoffs. Sounds fun doesn’t it?

Dave Simpson (Author of The Last Champions & Blogger)
Prediction – Top 6 

New arrival: El Hadji Diouf

Judging from the first competitive game, against Shrewsbury in the Capital One Cup, the new-look Leeds are a team in Neil Warnock’s image: big characters who will fight for every ball until the final whistle. From Paddy Kenny forward the team has a much more solid-looking spine. There are parallels with what Howard Wilkinson did when he first came to Leeds – weeded out the also-rans and signed hard workers and proven winners. What we may lack – apart from a big striker and a winger – is flair and guile, a Gordon Strachan figure if you like. Sign one of the aforementioned and top six won’t be beyond us. Get the funds to sign all three and we’re going up.

Shane Chorley (LUFC White Knights)
Prediction – 4th 

What can our current squad achieve? On paper we look like we will be hard to beat throughout the season, although there will be a slight concern over where all the goals are going to come from. With the current squad as it looks today (El-Hadji Diouf being the last to join) I predict a 4th place finish. If Neil can get the last few pieces of the puzzle, I don’t see any reason why we cannot go all the way and finish top of the pile as champions. The next 1-2 signings are vital and need to be game changers whatever position they are drafted to fill.

Liam Kirby (Becchio Well Placed)
Prediction – 10th 

With the takeover still looming over the club, it’s hard to make a prediction without your heart over-ruling your head, saying ‘dare to dream’. But still, with four days to go until opening day, it’s hard to see any takeover having a startling effect on the club this season. The chances of bringing in the required ‘marquee’ signings between now and the close of the transfer window looks evermore unlikely as each day passes. Holding hopes on the turbulent January window doesn’t get the blood flowing, either. The lack of excitement, flair or width in the squad is at least met with a new found sense of reliability at the back, which should see is through many-a-game. Either end of the table shouldn’t worry about Leeds threatening their positions, though. A comfortable yet disappointing tenth placed finish seems likely, with an early flirtatious period towards the playoffs at the start of the season, until the lack of squad depth catches up with us. Still, the possibility of Bates’ departure could make this a season to remember regardless of finishing position.

Gary Cooper (Chairman of the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust)
Prediction – Automatic  

Challenging season ahead for Neil Warnock

I am taking a lot of optimism into this season, even with the squad we have now, after Saturday’s performance. We look to have uncovered another academy gem in young Byram on the wing; pace, power, looks to run his marker ragged, yes his game will develop as he matures and he is yet to perform against some of the tougher teams like the one we face in our season opener but he has promise and we like to see one of our own come through the ranks with as little fear as he has shown so far. The squad looks a little lopsided but I am confident Neil Warnock will get the money he needs to bring in one or two more just to give us that bit of class and edge we will need, oh and sign Ross McCormack up! I’d love to see a top two finish, I chose to dare to dream!

Kevin Markey (Leeds United MAD)
Prediction – Top 6

The current squad is a little threadbare so if we get any injuries/suspensions we could struggle but the players brought in so far look more than capable and I fancy at least a top 6 finish even without a takeover. With a takeover I fancy automatic as the manager, with his amazing track record,will certainly bring in the right players with the finance that should be made available for a more stronger, competitive squad.

Lee Hicken (Leeds Online)
Prediction – Mid-Table 

I think we may struggle this year. We could make a strong start with new signings wanting to impress but selling your captains and best players time and time again makes progression difficult. The squad is pretty thin and on paper lacks that flair player who can unlock the better defences. I have no doubt we will be defensively stronger with Pearce (surely he will be made captain?) and Kenny but the midfield looks poor to me, which is a real shame when not so long ago we would start with Gradel, Howson, Johnson, Kilkenny and Snoddy. I hope I am wrong, or hope that something major changes at Elland Road… fingers crossed on both or I think it may be mid-table at best this year.

Andrew Butterwick (Travels Of A Leeds Fan)
Prediction – Top 6 

Predicting how the mighty whites will finish at the end of the season is just as difficult this time round as it’s been for the last ten years.  The league is just as tight as ever with a significant number of strong teams.  I think Neil Warnock has strengthened the team overall with his summer wheeler dealing although clearly Snoddy’s exit has made his task more challenging. I get the feeling the pre season training has been better than recent years where we have always seemed to suffer post Xmas with fitness and stay-ability.  So from my heart I think we can challenge for a top three position but my head thinks a strong play off push is there for the taking.  Whatever happens, it will be another rollercoaster season. Player of the season: Ross Mac (if he stays), Austin or David Norris.

  • sparkx

    wow a pretty mixed bag of opinions but most are blinded by their hearts and being overly optimistic… perfect way to start a season however, whilst I feel we may have a stronger core to the team we are still three signings from the playoffs… I hope I’m proved wrong or the three signings we need can be funded via a takeover or expensive loan deals (ala maynard)… if we can be there or there abouts come January and we can secure some funds the who knows! MOT

    • RC

      Think we need a CB and right winger but id be happy with just them 2 dont think we are in major need of a striker Mccormack Becchio Diouf and Varney would cover it. Also if somehow they aren’t available due to injuries suspensions etc i think the young lad Poleon could step up for the odd game possibly.

  • Keith

    I’ve a real feeling of optimism this season, Warnock has brought in players he trusts and have played in this league. The one thing we hoped for is a change at the top with bates leaving, that may happen as I write this positive noises from LUST suggest it could happen before the season starts. If so maybe a ‘wow’ signing could be made before the transfer window shuts. One think I ask is for fans to back whoever wears the white shirt be backed and Elland Road be made into a fortress where teams are frightened before they take the field. I believe in Warnock and he can take us up this season
    Keith M O T

    • tonyga

      with the team we have at present i think we could go automatic as long as we dont have any injuries, hate to say it but Diouf could be the difference we need right now!!

      • RC

        Very very true, completely agree. Diouf is hated by almost all football fans but no one can deny he has a hell of a lot of talent id probably go as far as to say he is the best winger or maybe second best behind Burke in the league, if he stays on the pitch for the full 90 minutes.

  • tonyga

    did Gary Cooper mention anything on radio Leeds on the sports hour earlier or have i been spun a load of BULL?

    • TSS

      Not much. Just said buyers remained confident of a positive conclusion.

  • DaSvensta

    Fair enough comments from all the above. Bar the odd mid table prediction most of you sound positive for next season even if we aren’t going to take the league by storm. I disagree with those who see our midfield as weak. Norris and austin just compliment the now solid spine of the team.

    With all the negative energy built up over recent days on the various forums as a direct result of the takeover collapse stories and should we boycott shouldnt we boycott arguments, how about some positive banter on the back of your positive predictions for next season and let’s hear everyones line ups for the team with the current squad?

    I’ll kick off with:
    Kenny

    Peltier
    Pearce (capt)
    Lees
    White

    Norris
    Austin
    Varney
    EHD!

    Mccormack
    Becchio

    Season prediction automatic if takeover goes thru soon otherwise will limp into playoff spot with another heartbreaking Wembley experience! Mot.

    • Jumblatts

      Kenney
      peltier lees pearce drury
      austin
      norris green
      Varney white
      mccormack
      like a 4 1 2 2 1 formation, with varney and white being attacking wingers, austin sitting in front of the defence and norris and green playing central mid

    • RC

      Kenny
      Peltier Lees Pearce White
      Norris Austin
      Varney Mccormack Diouf
      Becchio
      That’d be my lineup dropping mccormack behind gives him the chance to use his creativity more in my opinion :).

  • Matthew

    Considering how shit some of the better teams are doing in the Cup, has left me wondering if we could stand a chance at least. I mean, I had us down for losing against Wolves, or at the very most drawing. Now they struggled against Aldershot.
    Brighton losing heavily against Swindon, Huddersfield losing, lots of loses from teams I expected to be a challenge this season.
    Its confusing me when good teams are playing shit with these predictions.
    I’m going for top 6 too, likely 6th place.

    • TSS

      Wouldn’t read too much in to League Cup results, no one takes it seriously.

      • Matthew

        Pretty much all the Championship sides were playing their strongest sides and still losing against lower league opposition.

        • Matthew

          Case in point, Derby, Wolves, Brighton, Huddersfield, Millwall etc

          • Ron Galea

            Wolves have multiple injuries. I’m wrapped we have them first up.

        • TSS

          Happens all the time in the cup, the lesser teams beat the supposedly better ones because no one takes it seriously. Judge based on the first half dozen league results, not a one off worthless cup match.

        • Matthew – It’s not worth a player busting a gut or going into a 50/50 with a player from a lower league side for fear of injury. No point taking a risk of getting injured before the start of the season. To be honest, it was more like a pre-season game for the Champ clubs. Against Shrewsbury, it felt like a pre-season game to me.
          No-one in the Championship or lower will win the Capital One Cup. Whether we get knocked out in Round 2 or Round 4, we’re going to get knocked out at some point.

  • leedsusa

    With strong backing from the fans a top six for sure. Start pissing and moaning, mid table

    • Chareose

      very true, morale in the stadium will make or break us……….we need the takeover to happen regardless of the transfer cash. Without it and morale and togetherness will be hit and so will our results

      • RC

        Agreed thats what i am dreading just before the wolves game if it comes out it has collapsed again Elland Road will be a very unpleasant place to visit even for us Leeds fans.

  • badras

    Lee Hicken doesn’t have a clue saying the midfield looks weak ,is he serious . austin looks a real star and think he will open teams up all season which will make others around him look top players as well ,i think diouf will prove to be a top signing this season and im glad we brought him in ,i agree we need a few more players flair and speed. i think we will see these signings before the wolves game .im gonna say top 4 atleast

    • Chareose

      How can we judge Austin without him playing in a big game ? Norris, Pearce, Kenny were all good signings though

  • Yorkshirian

    In considering where we will finish, it’s sensible to notice this season will be one of the most competitive in years. Half the division have good chances of winning it outright. I think around 8th would be par. :(

  • yeboah63

    we look dodgy at the start of games if we get lucky and survive that period then the sewer rat will be key We could make the play offs or automatic but we need a good start from a tough first 5 fixtures

  • mrbigwheels

    If this takeover doesn’t go through by friday we will be open to further speculation.
    We have no cash, are seen as needy and unstable at the front, so it’s all about goals scored, surely. Everton have backed off Ross but other interest in him won’t go away. Warnock hopes to tie him down before Wolves. Hope he does. Interesting that none of the above bloggers actually refer to Becchio and his role in the squad to achieve their prediction. I believe other clubs may value him better than said bloggers and we’ll all be talking about him soon. Warnock has certainly got a challenge on his hands, Bates and all.

    • RC

      Why the sudden need for strikers last season Becchio and Mccormack were more than good enough add that to Diouf and Varney both of whom have played upfront at the highest level that can be called up if needed. I’d much rather see a winger now that Snodgrass has left personally. But it isnt all about goals id take winning most of our games 1-0 if it meant promotion. But with Rodolph Austin and Norris in centre mid they both have very decent goalscoring records for CM’s, I am very optimistic about the season ahead to be honest.

      • mrbigwheels

        Ok you’ve covered the striker situation in your opinion… The point I’m making is… Step back a little. Warnock needs a classy winger. Warnock needs cash. You say goals will come from existing cover and Becchio/McCormack are more than good enough. That’s assuming they are both up front. We are vulnerable to offers for either of these players from other clubs. Ross hasn’t signed yet. Becchio is well admired. One of them could be sold. I’m predicting a PL bid for the latter… If we were playing chess , it’s the only move, (imo).

  • Michael Lazarou

    Let’s be honest with our selfs we got vertually anew team that they have to get to know how one and ather game and then after that they need to gel together that would at least take 10-15 games, so I don’t expect our team to be anywhere near the top for the first 10-20 matches , so I think wil be playing catch up to get in to the top six and I’d don’t think we have enough about us in attacking or taking the game to the openents so unless we can get 2-3 quality attacking players in we will fall short of challenging for promotion

  • Chareose

    5th with the current squad, As Gary said we may have some contributions from Byram and Poleon this season but I do think we are lacking a really quality winger and whether we can sign one will be the difference between 5th and automatic promotion.
    I think Byram will get his chance because there is no guarentee that Peltier will be the hit Warnocks hoping for (he failed at Leicester). Lees and Pearce will do a job and so will Norris. Not sure how Austin and Green will pan out

    • RC

      Agree with your post as a whole but how exactly did Peltier fail at Leicester? he played in like 44 of there 46 championship games last season if he failed there i doubt they would have picked him so often.

      • Chareose

        yes he was so successful there they wanted to sell him

  • deano

    hahaha i prefer todays edition of the sun newspaper who have predicted Leeds Utd to finish 1st

  • I bet the bloggers were optimistic at the start of last season as well. I know I was. We finished 14th. I think that the team we had at the start of last season (including Gradel, Howson & Snodgrass) was stronger than our current lineup.

    • TSS

      I went for 6th/7th last season which was exactly where we were before Grayson was fired and Howson was sold. I also made that prediction before Gradel was sold.

    • RC

      Agree but Diouf is quality if NW can keep him in check and can replace snodgrass in my opinion, many may disagree but thats just my opinion. Also they were all attacking player and although Snodgrass and Max both worked there socks off defensively too, the overall team were much worse defensively. Which means we are much more likely to win now in my opinion now, even if it is just 1-0 i’d take them all season :). I’m slightly optimistic but still this is Leeds United we never do anything the easy way.