Leeds United’s quest for an instant return to the Premier League starts in earnest on Sunday with a clash against Cardiff City.

Back in the second tier after two seasons of dining at English football’s top table, the expectation among Leeds United fans is that their club will be challenging at the top.

There are no guarantees though. The Championship is a notoriously tough and competitive division where rivals have little respect for reputations.

Dropouts as favourites

Invariably, relegated Premier League clubs are installed among the favourites for promotion on their return to the Champion. The assumption is that their Premier League experience and in some cases their ‘Premier League’ squads will give them the edge in the promotion race.

The argument is not without merit.

Leicester City, Southampton and Leeds United’s time in the top-flight will stand them in good stead for the Championship title race. Although all three clubs have lost a number of star players as a natural consequence of relegation, their squads still boast several ‘Premier League’ campaigners.

Southampton, who got their campaign off to a winning start against promoted Sheffield Wednesday in the pipe opener on Friday, Leicester City and Leeds United are expected to be there or thereabouts in the promotion race.

However, the three Premier League dropouts have no divine right to an exclusive squabble at the top. Several other challengers will be looking to insert themselves into the promotion narrative.

Championship Outright Odds for Leeds United
Championship Outright Odds for Leeds United

The Farke factor

It has been a relatively quiet transfer window for Leeds United in terms of new player acquisitions, with experienced duo Ethan Ampadu and goalkeeper Karl Darlow the only notable additions. A couple of loan returnees and academy graduates have also been integrated into the squad.

There have been several  departures on permanent transfers and on loan, an inevitability of relegation. As a result, Leeds United go into the campaign with a squad that is a mix of Premier League experience and youthful exuberance.

But perhaps the club’s biggest signing is the manager, Daniel Farke, whose proven experience at this level will be crucial to the club’s promotion hopes. The German has the Championship know-how after leading Norwich City to two promotions, the later to secure an instant return to the Premier League in circumstances similar to which Leeds United currently find themselves. That makes Farke the perfect fit for the assignment.

Putting down a marker

Farke will be stressing to his players the importance of having a good start and laying the foundation from which to launch their promotion challenge.

The German will also want to mark his competitive debut as Leeds United manager with a win and put down a marker early on in the title race.

Football is back and the excitement is palpable. Elland Road expects!

Leeds United, how do I love thee!


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.

Write A Comment