It’s trial by fire for David Hockaday and Leeds United’s new recruits as the season kicks off at The Den, home to the always pleasant Millwall. 

We’ll forgo the usual ‘new season, new start’ cliches because it feels as if we’ve been repeating that line for the past decade now (mostly because we have). Times are always changing at Elland Road, we’re a club who seem to be in a perpetual state of transition, whether it’s new owners, new players, new management, it’s been a long time since we started a season on the back of an encouraging transfer window which saw the club strengthen in the right areas and add only key additions to a squad we already believed could take us places.

This season feels no different unfortunately. Our transfer window hasn’t been ideal, most notably for the loss of Ross McCormack (albeit for an impressive sum of cash) and while a few new faces have arrived at the club, we’re still looking to pad out the squad with reinforcements as our opening fixture against Millwall nears and you can’t escape the feeling there’s going to be a bedding-in process that’ll hinder us out of the starting gate.

That said, its early days and hard to know what to expect from both sides, but the bookies seem fairly confident in Millwall having the edge making them clear favourites for this one with odds around the evens mark. Meanwhile, a Leeds United win will get you odds of around 2/1 at Betfair, while a draw is considered even less likely with odds of 9/4.

For David Hockaday, however much the media and some fans doubt his credentials and question whether he’s the right man, you have to have some sympathy for the job he’s been tasked with. At his disposal, Hockaday has a mix of inexperienced youth players, Italian imports with no experience in the English Championship and the remnants of last season’s squad – a squad which must surely rank as one of the worst Leeds United have ever fielded – and while I don’t for one second doubt there’s genuine quality within our ranks, our pre-season campaign has been a bit of a mess and I don’t believe the team are anywhere near as prepared as the manager would have hoped.

And none of this is really Hockaday’s fault. The real problem has been getting players signed and in place quickly enough for Hockaday to work with in pre-season so that when we do kick-off against Millwall, the kinks have been worked out and the whole team has had time to gel as a unit. Instead, we’re still awaiting not only the “icing on the cake” (as is the norm) but also a fair bit of the filling and the hopes and expectations I’d like to see building at this stage are being tempered by that uncertainty.

But this is the English Championship and if we’ve learnt anything from the seasons we’ve spent in it to date, it’s that it seldom makes the least bit of sense, anyone can beat anyone, and as predicting outcomes goes, the Grand National is easier to call. So whatever will be, will be. Our 2014/15 campaign might not end with glory at Wembley, but the football is back and thousands of us long-suffering Leeds United supporters are about to be liberated from Saturday afternoons being dragged around the White Rose Shopping Centre by our better halves. If that’s not reason enough to be excited, I don’t know what is.

On and on…