Photo credit - @bergenwhites

Photo credit – @bergenwhites

Leeds strolled to victory against an extremely poor Slovenian side comprised of players from their third division.

Approximately 300 Whites fans attended the opening game of Leeds’ pre-season tour, with more expected to travel for the later fixtures. The venue for this fixture was Fazanerija City Stadium, a 3,700 capacity stadium in the small town of Murksa Sobota, population 12,000.

Leeds opened the scoring after 10 minutes when Matt Smith scored his third in two pre-season games with another header.

The Whites had a goal ruled out for offside and Aidy White struck the post before Leeds managed to double their lead with another header, Noel Hunt the scorer this time.

First half – Paddy Kenny, Lee Peltier, Tom Lees, Danny Pugh, Charlie Taylor, David Norris, Paul Green, Luke Murphy, Aidy White, Matt Smith, Noel Hunt

Second half – Alex Cairns, Zac Thompson, Ross Killock, Jason Pearce, Stephen Warnock, Michael Brown, Michael Tonge, Adam Drury, Ross McCormack, Luke Varney, Dominic Poleon.

With a 2-0 lead at half-time, Brian McDermott changed all eleven players once again. There were plenty of changes for the Slovenian side too, but Leeds once again came out on the front foot.

Despite the poor quality of the opposition, it wasn’t until the 66th minute that The Whites managed to extend their lead, with Dom Poleon continuing his impressive pre-season form.

Despite the Whites’ near-total domination it was to be the Slovenian XI who had the final word as Leeds conceded their first pre-season goal on 69 minutes.

An easy start to the Slovenian tour for Leeds United and a comfortable win, but the opposition will improve in quality over the next few days.

FT – Slovenian XI 1-3 Leeds United

  • Chareose

    Its starting to look as if our Irving is right, the older kids are starting to come through…..Taylor, White, Thompson, Poleon………… So the question is does BMC really need to strengthen ???

    Personally id be chuffed to bits if we started the season with Byram and Taylor as our full backs…. two homegrown kids :o) Why do we take so much pride in leeds youth players who make it ? its almost like theyve sprung from our own loins !

    I still think we lack natural width ! A winger of some kind would be nice even if its only as a game changer….

    White looks made for playing behind the strikers so in effect we have 5 players all in form vying for 3 positions, Smiths causing havoc at the moment so I think he will be the dark horse…. I predict he will be a Leeds first teamer by the end of the season…….Englands answer to Peter Crouch in 2 years…:o)

    For one the future is looking bright….and white

    • TSS

      McDermott was praising Poleon post-match too, seems very impressed with him.

      • Chareose

        Yes a hard decision for BMC, Smith & Hunt are banging them in, so is Poleon …………If anything im worried about Mccormack because hes got some serious competition now

        • TSS

          Think McCormack will play behind the two strikers personally, with Aidy White as his back-up. It’s clear from interviews that McD considers McCormack to be his key player, he’ll be in the starting XI every week in my opinion.

          • Chareose

            And how does Diouf fit into all this ?? Lets be honest hes our most naturally gifted player but where does he fit ?

          • TSS

            Certainly the most technically gifted (along with Byram, McCormack also coming close).

            I just can’t see Diouf being first team personally. He’ll be 33 in January, he’s not getting any younger. I’d consider him a squad player – a very good one. Nice to have depth in some areas.

          • Chareose

            My prediction based on the current squad ;

            Poleon – Smith
            White – Murphy – Green
            Taylor – Warnock – Lees – Byram

          • Gustavo Alvarez

            Mine is:

            Poleon – Hunt
            Tongue – Murphy – Green
            Warnock – Peltier – Lees – Byram

          • Irving08

            Gustavo – Murphy and Tongue would be doing the same job. BM will play White instead of Tongue if he goes with the shape of your team. Then he can play Smith, whose height will be invaluable at both ends, using Poleon as an impact sub.
            I would play Pearce in central defence – he’d be a candidate for captain too. (McCormack should not be captain, in my view; he will try to do even more from that position, when he plays there, than he does at present.)

          • TSS

            Tongue will give the opposition a good licking I bet…

          • Irving08

            Only if they were tied down.

          • TSS

            We’re so heavy in midfield, it’s hard to say. But I think Austin or Green at the bottom of the diamond and McCormack at top (if he plays that way). No idea on the wings, I don’t think he’ll play White out wide or he’d be using him there pre-season.

            Smith and Hunt are more likely to be starting strikers I think. Poleon will get more game time but he’s still a bit too green to be starting every game.

            You have to think Murphy would be starting XI, but he’s not going to displace McCormack at tip of diamond and he’s no DM, so where he plays, I have no idea.

            Any further additions are going to be wide players (IMO) and it’ll change everyone’s thinking, but I don’t see White or Green as wingers because McDermott plays to the strengths of his players and won’t slot them in positions they don’t work in. He showed that last season and has been doing so in pre-season as well.

            I agree with Gustavo on defence. I don’t think that’ll change unless we sign someone like Wabara and Byram is shifted forwards, but I’m not keen on that idea personally. I’d rather Wabara play LB and Byram stay at RB. Pacey full-backs can be deadly, people always want to shift them forwards but that’s the wrong thing to do, especially when they defend as well as Byram does. It’s better to have them at full-back so they can burst out of defence on the counter.

          • Irving08

            White is a better left back than Warnock. The latter woud not have been able to contain Lennon, outpace Bale going towards his own goal (not theirs) nor keep Oxlade Chamberlain quiet – White did all these things. And he is less one footed. We didn’t need Warnock when he came and we don’t need him now if it means White doesn’t start. Of Warnock senior’s players only Kenny, Green and Pearce (with a height reservation) cut it for me – Austin possibly in reserve, if he can be taught how to position himself on the football field and to pass a ball accurately.

          • nick

            Everybody is guessing as if we only have the first eleven, I doubt that BM ever has a first eleven in mind, rather he has a hungry squad he can rotate for the right occasion. What he’ll be doing is finding who he wants and where the players will be most effective as a team.

          • Irving08

            Bet you a pint of Pavilion Ale that White starts.

          • TSS

            You couldn’t pay me to go in the Pavilion, I’ve tasted the beer inside Elland Road at HT, I wouldn’t subject myself to more of it!

          • Irving08

            Have to get Number One on the case ! Boddington’s is rubbish, I agree.

        • Irving08

          Yes, he is a worry – the problem with McCormack is where to play him. He was at his most effective playing of Keogh (I hope Morsions isn’t !). TSS sees him as the man in the hole – perhaps, I am less sure: He has shown a tendency to do slightly too much in that position, and I would be a bit bothered by his capacity to chase back, when an attack breaks down (which is a White strong point, of course.) I hope BM can solve the McCormack question since he has abundant skills, from which we can benefit. I used to think of him as ‘Son of George’, for McClusky too had those skills that we once identified with the Scotish footballer, but he never really came off at Leeds. Fingers crossed that this one does in 2013-14.

          • TSS

            Yeah, he is an awkward one to place, but he’s also a natural fit for McDermott’s keeping-the-ball-on-the-deck style.

            But it’s not like he struggles in any attacking position. He scored 20 goals in Grayson’s final season when we were passing the ball about, a season where he was played mostly as a striker, but he’s also one of our most creative players when working around the edge of the area.

            Too many players in this team who we can’t pin positions down for because Warnock moved them about so much and played so many out-of-position.

            – Peltier for example was excellent at CB, useless at full-back.

            – Ross was less effective on the wing, excellent at ST the season before.

            – Green was excellent at DM for McDermott, something we didn’t see much of under Warnock because he was switched between wing and CM.

            – Diouf I’d always considered an AM/Winger but I’m not convinced Paddy Kenny is supposed to be a goalkeeper at this moment in time. I bet he’s a 40 goal per year striker who Warnock played out-of-position for so long, we all forgot.

            I doubt we’d all be struggling so much with Aidy White if it hadn’t been for Warnock’s time at ER. He’s heading down the Andy Hughes path at the minute because he’s never been left in one place to properly make a position his own.

          • Irving08

            We agree !

    • Chareose

      P.s 7 Leeds youth players in the teams that played today, 8 when Byram plays, 9 when Dawsons fit……………

    • Irving08

      Cheers Chareose. Cheers BM.
      The best way to encourage most of Warnock’s wonders to move on is not to play them – and for me that includes his namesake unless he moves over here.
      I have worked in a University Department where half the staff commuted from distance. It destroys communal feeling (not that there is a lot of that to begin with in many Uni. Depts.) For me, living near the club is a non-negotiable.

    • PAUL W

      If BMC was to go with what he already has and start the season with this current squad, then we will have to put up with another waste of time, mediocre season. The current team is crying out for wingers with pace and the defence will be as fragile as ever without a powerful central defender. Despite being a tall player Pearce was lightweight last season and Varney still looks terrified to make a decision when he plays. I would even bring in an extra central defender as a back-up player. There is however great competition in the full backs, central midfielders and striker positions.

  • Lee B

    It’s interesting to see that Pugh has travelled with the squad and is getting game time.
    Does he fit in with BM’s plans or is he still earmarked for the exit door?

  • spellz

    Matt Smith is a beast in the air, looking forward to seeing if he can replicate his aerial ability against tougher opposition if so he is gonna be hard to deal with for defences.

    Poleon looks to be in phenomenal form too I think if he is a regular this season we will unearth his true ability and see something pretty special, McD seems to be impressed that is good enough for me and talking of the Gaffer he gave 50 euros to the fans loving his character already, shame he didn’t get the guitar out too, legend.

    M.O.T as always.

  • murdoch

    Any one know why EHD hasn’t graced the turf yet this pre-season? Even if he is just to ve a squad player he deserves the game time to show his worth as much as any other?

    • spellz

      I thought he was still nursing some kind of injury, might be wrong fella just a hunch.

    • PAUL W

      Both EHD and Austin have not been involved in the pre-season, because they have been given an extra rest are both suspended for the opening 2 games of the new season.

    • TSS

      Diouf has a shin infection. He didn’t travel. Austin given extra rest as Paul said.

      • spellz

        That was what it was I thought something was wrong with him, thanks for the clarity TSS.

  • Jc

    Seeing as though white is playing so good in the advanced role why don’t we try poleon and McCormack on the wings next game both have pace and rm assist ratio combined with smith heading, and hunt poaching to finish off if needed????? Just a thought cos the debate of we’re Rm will fit in now is not an issue he is chuffed with the competition he now has and I can’t remember the last player we had who was as committed to this club as he is, unless someone feels they can correct me?