Leeds United beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 at the Pirelli Stadium on Thursday evening to register a first win of the pre-season in three attempts.

Patrick Bamford and Ian Poveda found the back of the net in the second half to give Daniel Farke his first taste of victory as the Whites manager.

Below, we look at five takeaways from the friendly clash.

Cardiff City selection hints

Leeds United have one more friendly to play before taking on Cardiff City in the season opener on August 6.

After three friendlies Farke must by now surely have a fair idea of the make-up of the starting line-up for his competitive debut. But who might those players be?

Defender Liam Cooper and forward Luis Sinisterra are the only two players to have started every pre-season match to date. The pair were among the six players who kept their places in the starting line-up from the team that started against AS Monaco.

Barring injury or a transfer, Illan Meslier, who played the full 90 minutes against Forest, looks a shoo-in to start in goal, while Ethan Ampadu picks himself in central midfield. As for the rest, your guess is as good as mine at this stage.

The rise of Poveda

There is a good player in there. His strike  for the second goal wasn’t too shabby either.

Poveda has impressed me immensely so far this pre-season. He was one of our better players in the defeat by Manchester United in Olso and has looked really sharp in the other matches – always on his toes and on the front-foot looking to create opportunities.

Could this be Poveda’s breakthrough season? He certainly did his chances no harm with an eye-catching effervescent cameo against Premier League opponents.

No doubt the manager will be impressing upon him the importance of knuckling down and absorbing useful lessons in training. And in Farke youngsters know that they have a manager who will give them a fair crack of the whip as long as they are willing to learn.

The rise of Ian Poveda for Leeds United

Midfield options

We need to delve into the transfer market for reinforcements, especially experienced campaigners.

While the youngsters hold a lot of promise and continue to acquit themselves admirably when called upon, they need older and experienced heads around them to learn off.

Ethan Ampadu has come in and instantly established himself as the senior man in central midfield. In the absence of the injured Tyler Adams, Ampadu’s considerable experience will be invaluable.

God forbid he should pick up an injury or be sidelined for an extended period for one reason or another. That would leave us down to youthful bones in midfield, not ideal for a very physical league.

Highly-rated Archie Gray partnered Ampadu against AS Monaco. Jamie Shackleton came in for the Forest clash. Both Gray and Darko Gyabi are very good prospects and their ability is not in question. Ideally they would be eased in than thrown onto the deep end.

Hopefully the owners will avail some funds for a few additions to shore up the squad, especially the midfield.

Patrick Bamford

Unfortunately his injury history has tended to detract from his qualities as a striker.

His career has been blighted by injuries to the extent that the first thing that comes to mind when his name is mentioned is his susceptibility to injury and not his scoring record.

Some will be quick to point out that the chance for his goal against Forest was a gift following a defensive howler. That shouldn’t detract from the efficient manner in which he took his goal.

It was a timely reminder of what he can do when fit. Lest we forget, Bamford was the club’s top goal scorer with 16 goals during our promotion campaign. So there is no doubt he can hack it in the physical Championship, his injury record notwithstanding.

That winning feeling

Never underestimate the importance of a first win for players’ confidence and supporters’ morale.

Yes, it was only a pre-season friendly, but it’s the first time fans have had something to cheer about since the heartbreak of relegation. As we regroup following the relegation setback, supporters want to see signs of improvement even during a period of transition.

The 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest was just the tonic.


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

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