Queens Park Rangers V Leeds United
Sunday 7th August 2016 K.O 12.00 PM
Sky Bet Championship
Venue: Loftus Road
Live on Sky Sports.

Leeds United begin the season with a new manager for the 3rd consecutive season, with Garry Monk taking charge of his first competitive game at Loftus Road on Sunday at 12 noon (Sky Sports). QPR boss and former white Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink takes charge and could give debuts to three; Joel Lynch, Jake Bidwell and Jordan Cousins. Monk could name as many as 6, possibly 7 debutantes in the matchday squad with Roofe and Green likely to start.

Monk has a fully fit squad to choose from, although Liam Cooper only resumed training this week and did not feature in any pre-season fixtures, meaning Kyle Bartley will partner Captain Sol Bamba at centre back. Charlie Taylor is likely to start despite handing in a transfer request last week while Monk says new signing Pablo Hernandez probably doesn’t have the match fitness to play 90 minutes.

Queen’s Park Rangers striker Conor Washington returns after featuring for Northern Ireland in the European Championships, but is still searching for his first Rangers goal after signing in January. Tjaronn Chery is a potential live-wire in the final third, while Karl Henry and Sandro will look to dominate physically in the middle, which is where the key battles will be fought. Rob Green is set to make his Leeds debut against the club he left earlier in the summer, while summer signing Kemar Roofe’s performances could be key to United’s success this season. Eyes will be on Chris Wood’s performances after an injury hit first season at the club, he hit 13 in a disappointing season but more support behind the New Zealand international could mean a big season for the former Leicester City striker.

Last seasons’s clash at Loftus Road ended with a 1-0 win for the R’s in a drab match that was settled with the introduction of Charlie Austin, while the reverse fixture ended 1-1 at Elland Road after Leeds conceded a late penalty to drop 2 points. Leeds last beat QPR back on the final day of the 2010/11 season, with Ross McCormack hitting a brace as Leeds finished in 7th and Neil Warnock celebrated promotion with QPR.

QPR are 11/10 favourites, with Leeds at 13/5 but the draw is 11/5, with the bookies hedging their bets in what will likely be a tight contest to open the season.

Key men;

Leeds: Stuart Dallas. The Northern Ireland international has had a busy summer, playing for his country in the European Championships and getting married. The winger’s industry and genuine quality out wide could be the difference as he looks to carve out chances for Chris Wood and Kemar Roofe on the opposite side. His 5 goals and 6 assists last season came in a side that struggled creatively, and his ability to use both feet could be useful for interchanging with other attacking players.

QPR: Tjaronn Chery. He could cause problems if given the space to roam in between Leeds’ midfield and defence, and able to operate across the attacking midfield areas, defensive midfield could be a key area for picking up the runs from deep and preventing any shooting opportunities.

Prediction: 1-1. A tight game and a tricky away fixture to begin the season while Monk moulds his squad, but a stellar performance could see the Whites nick it. Dallas to star.