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.