A crowd of 23,745 and many more watching on television saw a strong, sturdy and impressive performance against recently relegated Wolves. Before the game, many fans didn’t know what to expect. With 10 new faces to the squad, we knew they would need time to gel, but what we witnessed was a side playing as a team from the off. We defended as a team and restricted Wolves to half chances throughout the game. Paddy Kenny didn’t really have a save to make, whilst Pearce and Peltier were strong and composed at the back. Aidy White did well, but I personally prefer him on the wing, which is where I expect him to play on Tuesday. As for Sam Byram, he impressed everyone. After a nervous start, where he slipped on the turf, he grew from strength to strength. He was aggressive in the tackle, in a fair way I must add and for the majority of the game had former Premier League winger Matt Jarvis in the back of his pocket. What really impressed me about him however was his composure on the ball. He had a few nervy clearances, which is expected for an 18 year old on his league debut at Elland Road. But he had the composure to turn on the ball under pressure and then clear on his stronger foot. Most of our defence last season wouldn’t have even tried such a thing. So yeah I was very impressed with his performance and let’s hope it continues.
As for the midfield one man stood out from the rest for me and that was Rodolph Austin. He was everywhere. He was back helping the defence with sliding tackles and acrobatic clearances, whilst at the same time setting up counter attacks with his clearances. He was another who was very composed on the ball. My only worry is that he may tire as the season progresses, because he was already half way through a season with SK Brann. Luke Varney (who I totally forgot about in my last article when predicting the team) just kept on running. I was impressed with his work rate and whilst his heavy touch when through on goal, prevented a goal scoring chance, he looked a good player. His link up play with McCormack impressed me as well. Something I think that will be key for us this season. Norris had a steady game, he had some good touches and broke up a few attacks and I think that he’s a good acquisition. Unfortunately Green picked up an injury after a good performance. He was back helping Byram whilst also supplementing the attacks. Let’s hope his injury is not too serious.
This is where Diouf came in. His introduction was greeted with a mixed response and I personally was in the camp that wasn’t impressed with seeing him in a Leeds shirt. I didn’t boo him as I just wouldn’t jeer Leeds players, but I didn’t applaud his entrance either. However his performance did impress me. He looks strong and held the ball up very well, taking the pressure off us when Wolves had their strongest period near the end of the game. The crowd warmed to him and after the game he threw his shirt into the Kop. Does this mean he isn’t signing a contract? Personally I think he just loved the adulation. If he does sign up then he will have to put in a lot more performances like that to be accepted by the vast majority. But he certainly showed what he has in his locker.
McCormack had a good game, his touch is sublime to say the least and the way he controlled Paddy’s pass to him in the lead up to the goal was brilliant. His cross in to Becchio was perfectly timed and Luciano finished it sublimely. Becchio worked hard and didn’t go down s easily as he has done in the past which is something that Neil will have drummed into him. The front two linked up well and long may it continue throughout the season.
I came away from the match very happy. We came out of a tough fixture with a clean sheet and a good performance. I firmly believe that will be one of our hardest games this season and the three points will be a massive boost the players. Whilst Wolves piled on the pressure more near the end, we kept our shape and they didn’t have any clear cut chances. All in all a solid performance that we need to take into the match against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road on Tuesday night. I expect to see Drury at left back on Tuesday and Tom Lees back in the centre with Peltier on the right. Sam Byram tired near the end and I expect Neil to rest him. I think he’ll push White up into midfield to replace Green and keep everything else the same. I think we’ll be a tough team to beat this season and if we finish off our chances we could do well this year, who knows, this could be the start of something very bright and very white for us this season.