This promises to be one of the most exciting fixtures of the opening batch, with sleeping giants Leeds set to embark on a home match against recently relegated Wolves. Expectations for both are high and with Elland Road expecting a bumper crowd, this is the perfect clash to start the new campaign with.
Despite having high expectations last year, many would say that Leeds underachieved after the Whites finished in a disappointing 14th position. However, with Neil Warnock set to embark on his first full season in charge at Elland Road, there is now plenty of optimism in West Yorkshire with the former Sheffield United manager looking to add yet another promotion to his CV. There have been some disappointed fans following the sale of the popular Robert Snodgrass, but Warnock has added many reinforcements to the squad with David Norris, Paddy Kenny, Paul Green, El-Hadji Diouf and Lee Peltier being the pick of the bunch. Nevertheless, with Ken Bates insisting that a promotion charge is a necessity, it remains to be seen if Warnock and his team can handle the pressure and make an assault on the top places.
Wolves meanwhile could be an unknown quantity. Even though Wanderers have only just suffered relegation from the top flight, the manner in which they came down is worrying and some are suggesting that their team may even struggle to cope with the rigors of the Championship. On the flip side, the Molineux outfit are under new management and with Stale Solbakken possessing an impressive CV abroad, it is hoped that he can replicate such success in the Championship. Still, with most of his signings coming from Europe, Wolves appear to be adopting a risky strategy as there are no guarantees these purchases will adjust to English football. Moreover, with the influential Michael Kightly sold a couple of weeks ago and star striker Steven Fletcher likely to follow, Wolves will probably be without two of their best players from last year.
In terms of team news, Leeds are looking to hand debuts to several of their new players. Neil Warnock has also been boosted in relation to Tom Lees and David Norris, with the duo tipped to be available despite early fitness scares. Wolves meanwhile will not be able to rely on the services of Jamie O’Hara, Kevin Doyle and Stephen Ward as all three sit on the treatment table.
In terms of a prediction, we think Leeds could triumph in this clash. The Whites have brought in some impressive players through the summer and with Wolves going through a period of complete transformation, we think it could take several weeks before Stale Solbakken’s side are firing on all cylinders. With this, our tip will be a 2-1 win for the home team.