When Leeds took to the field last weekend, no-one was expecting that much, and no-one was disappointed. A poor display against Millwall seemed to sum up the season fans were expecting after a number of departures and the arrival of a number of unknowns.
Jump forward seven days, and message-boards and forums are full of hope and expectation again, not least due to the arrival of three new players.
Guiseppe Bellusci, a central defender signed in a season long loan deal from Catania brings what Leeds fans hope to be an air of quality and strength to an otherwise shaky looking defence. Bellusci has all of the traits the fans want to see. Young, strong, intelligent and fast. He can burst forward and create as much as providing a 'Radebe-esque' last ditch tackle as well as proving to be strong in the air.
Overshadowing the arrival of a quality central defender with a wealth of Seria A experience though was the signing of Southampton striker, Billy Sharp. Sharp has long been keen to sign for Leeds United and jumped at the chance to join this week. Despite a frustrating season last year, which included a number of spells spent on loan, he is never far away from his next goal and is seen an ideal replacement for Ross McCormack at this level.
Lee Cooper is the third signing to join the Whites from Chesterfield. He impressed in the pre-season friendly as a left-sided Centre back and gives further strength exactly where it is needed.
With new signings, Doukara proving a Leeds player does know where the goal is, Bianchi free to play and Byram looking increasingly like to stay, the game should give us the first real insight into what the season could hold for us.
Middlesbrough meanwhile have started the season how they finished the last - confidently! They opened their campaign with a dominant display against Birmingham last weekend winning 2-0 and progressed in the cup at the expense Oldham with a 3-0 victory. Ex-Leeds striker, Adam Clayton joined mid-week and could slot straight in.
Hockaday needs to have the confidence to build the team around the new arrivals if he is to get different performances to last season, and the fans need to be patient if it doesn't come together straight away, but the building blocks are there now (and a few more arrivals promised!) for a brighter future for Leeds although it may be a few weeks too soon to expect a performance against an in-form Middlesbrough.
Don't forget it is an early kick-off at 12:15pm in front of the Sky Cameras.
Our prediction - Leeds United 1-2 Middlesbrough - Predict your own score below!
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