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.