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Sunday, 5th August 2018 Kick-off 16:30
Bumper crowd to bring in the new era at Elland Road
Bumper crowd to bring in the new era at Elland Road
Friday, 2nd Aug 2013 22:00 by Tim Whelan

In the week that Ken Bates was forced to finally sever his ties with the club a new spirit amongst Leeds fans is starting to emerge, and Elland Road is about to witness the biggest opening day crowd since we were in the Premier League.

Today there were only 1,000 tickets remaining and by kick-off time it could be a complete sell-out. And on the official site Brian McDermott acknowledged that the atmosphere should be a big help to the team. “Elland Road has always been a place where teams would come and have a certain fear about them, we need to have that and get that going this season. This is the start of many games at Elland Road and we want to keep the fans coming and we want to make sure we can get as many people through the gates as possible.”

The three summer signings, Luke Murphy, Noel Hunt and Matt Smith, are all available, and I’m guessing that Hunt and Murphy will make the starting line-up while Smith is more likely to be used as an impact substitute. El-Hadji Diouf and Rudy Austin are both suspended after being sent off against the same opposition at the end of last season, and Sam Byram is expected to miss at least the opening three games of the season due to a hip injury.

It’s difficult to know what to expect from Brighton after the surprise departure of Gus Poyet in May, and McDermott has admitted that their new coach Oscar Garcia is a bit of an unkown quantity. But Leeds have done our homework on the opposition, and the manager thinks that Brighton’s style of play hasn’t changed that much. The seagulls will be missing two key players in the shape of their new summer signing - left-back Adam Chicksen and star striker Craig Mackail-Smith, both due to injury.

The Nuremburg game showed that McDermott still has a bit of work to do, especially with the defence, but he has spent the past week fine-tuning his side, and with the backing of a packed crowd we can expect a much-improved performance. Time will tell whether Brighton’s new boss can take them to the same heights as the inspirational Gus Poyet, but I’m going to predict that Leeds will be starting the new season with three points.

Photo: Action Images

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