Leeds United kick off their 2016/17 Championship campaign with a tricky away clash against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink begins his first full season in charge of the Rangers while it will be Garry Monk’s first ever competitive game as Leeds boss. With Monk on board, Leeds will be targeting a top-six finish this campaign or else their Italian owner Massimo Cellino has promised the fans their money back for the season tickets.
QPR finished 12th last season, just one place ahead of Leeds and had a decent pre-season campaign, in which they salvaged 3 wins, 3 draws and a loss. On the other hand, Leeds had a goal-filled pre-season campaign where they netted a total of 12 goals in 5 games, winning four and losing one. Garry Monk has a full squad to choose from now that defender Liam Cooper is back training after a calf injury.
Here is the predicted Leeds United lineup against QPR
Veteran Robert Green is likely to start ahead of Marco Silvestri between the sticks. The highly-experienced keeper will be keen to show that he is still one of the best in the business as he starts against his former club. Sol Bamba was announced as the club’s captain this season meaning that the Ivorian is likely to be the first-choice centre-back this season. Cooper just returned from his layoff and might not be ready for a start which suggests loanee Kyle Bartley will partner Bamba at the heart of the defence.
Gaetano Berardi will start in the right-back position. Despite all the speculation of Charlie Taylor being desperate for a move, he still remains a Leeds player and will start against QPR.
Toumani Diagouraga is likely to start in the middle of the park and his main job will be to protect the back four. Monk has plenty of options to choose from, particularly in the midfield department. Youngster Alex Mowatt is likely to get the nod ahead of players like Grimes, Murphy and Whitehouse.
New signing Kemar Roofe, who was awarded League Two Player of the Year last campaign, is likely to start on the right flank while Stuart Dallas is an assured starter on the left. Experienced attacking midfielder Pablo Hernandez is likely to make his Leeds debut as the number ten.
Chris Wood had a disappointing last season but the New Zealand international still remains the first-choice striker at Elland Road. Wood is likely to start against QPR and he has to improve from his last season’s form or else Marcus Antonsson has what it takes to replace him in the starting XI.