Saturday sees the opening round of the Football League season, and with all three West Yorkshire sides in action, how will they fare?
Leeds United have lost their captain, and best player, Ross McCormack to Fulham, and off-the-field events have overshadowed their pre-season. An influx of players from Serie A means that those that remain from last season’s squad, such as Matt Smith (main picture), may have trouble with both the language barrier, and style of play, and Saturday will be a good indication of how well (or not so well) this group of players have gelled. Leeds visit Millwall, in what will be a feisty affair, but Leeds should have the quality to win this one.
Huddersfield Town have made some solid signings, with Conor Coady, Lee Peltier and Radoslaw Majewski joining the club. A busy pre-season has been largely successful, including a 2-2 against a strong Newcastle United side last week. The Terriers host Bournemouth on Saturday, but Bournemouth have been boosted by a sell-on clause in Adam Lallana’s contract, giving them a £6.25m windfall when the midfielder moved to Liverpool. This will be a tough game for Huddersfield, but I think they have enough about them to draw this game.
Bradford City released captain, and club icon, Gary Jones in pre-season, but secured some of their most influential players on long-term contracts, including handing the captaincy to 2013/14 player of the season Stephen Darby. However, the Bantams don’t have a permanent goalkeeper on their books, relying on loanee Jordan Pickford, and having both Matt Urwin and Ben Williams on non-contract terms. Aaron McLean is an injury doubt for tomorrow, so Billy Clarke will start alongside James Hanson upfront, with Mark Yeates playing “in the hole” behind those two. It could be a high-scoring game, but I fancy Bradford to just edge this one.