Bolton v Leeds
Team News: No Liam Bridcutt, Souleymane Doukara or Marcus Antonsson in the travelling Leeds squad to Bolton.
Wiedwald, Pennington, Alioski make their full debuts for Leeds. Anita, Siaz, Klich and Ekuban start on the Bench.
Team: Wiedwald, Ayling, Pennington, Cooper(c), Berardi, O'Kane, Phillips, Roofe, Hernandez, Alioski, Wood.
Subs used; Anita for Berardi (36), Shaughnessy for Pennington (64), Sacko for Alioski (85)
An early goal from Kalvin Phillips helped Leeds to their first opening away win in nearly ten years. Chris Wood doubled the advantage as Leeds dominated their opponents in the first half.
Madine pulled a goal back when he found himself marked by Kemar Roofe at a corner kick, within minutes Leeds had their third when Wood was played in by Hernandez, cleverly and unselfishly the New Zealander found Phillips and despite being under pressure from a Bolton defender the young midfielder still found the net.
The only 'blip' was the injury to Gaetano Berardi, after a goalmouth scramble. He was carried from the pitch on a stretcher in obvious discomfort, Vernon Anita replaced the Swiss defender after a lengthy stoppage. 3-1 Leeds at the break.
Bolton attacked Leeds from the outset of the second half put rarely tested the debutant Leeds keeper, just after the hour Leeds suffered another injury blow when, after a challenge in midair Pennington fell awkwardly on his ankle, up to then he'd looked a quality addition to the squad.
Connor Shaughnessy replaced the Everton loanee and just after the hour the youngster was involved with Madine who seemed to 'tuck' his head into his shirt. The referee gave a penalty which LeFondre despatched past Wiedwald.
Hernandez so nearly extended Leeds' lead but his superb shot found the angle of post and bar and bounced over Wood's head as the striker tried to put the rebound away. Try as they may Bolton couldn't find a equaliser and Leeds claimed a hard fought, if somewhat costly away win.
News broke last night that Leeds are set to table and offer for unwanted Hamburg forward Pierre-Michel Lassoga.
The 25-year old has been informed by his club that he is surplus to requirements at the Volsparkstadion and this has alerted Leeds to his now certain availability.
The Yorkshire side are said to be interested in bringing further backup to main forward Chris Wood having already signed Caleb Ekuban earlier in the window.
The question is; are Leeds currently focussing on the right position or are they wasting time trying to sign another forward in a system that only needs one striker at a time?
It's evident that new head coach Thomas Christiansen favours a 4-2-3-1 approach which means only one of Chris Wood, Caleb Ekuban or Souleymane Doukara is needed to fit the system.
In retrospect, any deal for another striker would possibly be the nail in the coffin for The Duke which would be a real shame with some brilliant performances last season.
Lassoga, who has spent that last four seasons at Hamburg doesn't seem like a prolific forward himself, only bagging 13 goals in 76 appearances since joining permanently after a positive loan spell.
Victor Orta and co have so far been bob on with signings at the club but this deal seems out of the ordinary to sign an unproven striker who only managed two goals in 20 appearances last year.
Then we get to the major stumbling block, Lassonga is on a huge wage at Hamburg and is unlikely to want to more than half it in order to join Leeds, again begging the question, is he really worth the effort?
In my opinion no, Lassonga doesn't seem to be a wow signing or even a player that could challenge Chris Wood to a starting spot.
Should Leeds quit this deal and focus on more prominent signings in defence? Have your say in the comments below!
By Ryan Ingham
Ahead of tomorrow's eagerly anticipated clash with Preston, Keith Ingham spoke with Lilywhites fan and EPL Index host James Vickers about this season, last years successes and ridiculous transfers.
How long have you followed PNE?
Where to start? coming from a family of Manchester United fans, it was quite a late introduction to North End. I can remember watching the 2005 play-off final on TV while I was on holiday in France and something just clicked. Ultimately it was a disappointing day for North End with Bobby Zamora breaking our hearts, but since then I’ve religiously followed us.
Who have been your favourite players? Past or Present?
From the game above, and I’m sure most Preston fans around my age would agree, I always loved David Nugent while he was with us. He’s the last North End player to have played for England and his name is still sung on the terraces today. One of my early North End memories was watching him in the play-off semi-final at Elland Road where he took on nearly the entire Leeds team to score one of my favourite ever Preston goals! (had to bring that up!)
As for current players, Ben Pearson without a shadow of a doubt. The lad is everything you could want in a midfielder, and he isn’t afraid to put himself about. Last season he ended up on 18 bookings which shows you the kind of player he is. He’s the perfect example of the saying, “if he’s in your team you love him, if he’s in the opposition you hate him.”
With an impressive performance last season; Do you expect to better it this term with a serious challenge for the top six?
The two seasons that we have been back we have done really well but faded off towards the end of the season. This year we have a more attack minded coach and a squad full of exciting talented players. If we can keep the group together and maybe add a bit of quality in defence I can definitely see us making a real push for the play offs this year, and who knows where it will take us!
Yesterday came the news that Liam Cooper has extended his stay at Leeds United on a new four year deal.
The stage is now set for Cooper to make good on the promise that came with him when he joined Leeds from Chesterfield back in 2014.
The former Hull youngster is now a pivotal part of the squad having been a bit part player since joining the Whites.
Only twelve months ago Cooper would have been a sure fire player to depart the club this summer but after some impressive displays during last season and the end of Kyle Bartley's loan spell at the club, the centre back has been thrust into the limelight and has reacted astoundingly.
Cooper is now part of a new look defence with centre back partner Pontus Jansson along with Everton loanee Matthew Pennington and unless Leeds add another defender to their ranks prior to the transfer window closing.
The 25-year old joins Gaetano Berardi on signing a new deal at Leeds, with the club looking to assure any talented asset is tied down to fresh terms instead of losing them on a free transfer.
Berardi signed a three year deal with both players deals having set to expire at the end of the current season.
Leeds are now looking to wrap up their expiring stars contracts with advanced talks for Eunan O'Kane underway before talks begin with Stuart Dallas, Rob Green and Pablo Hernandez set for discussions.
However, deals for expiring stars Liam Bridcutt and Souleymane Doukara may not be forthcoming with both players currently in the fringes of the first team squad at this moment in time.
With a new deal and the captaincy looking likely to remain on his shoulders thanks to the players decisions, Cooper has been given a new lease of life and hopefully will take his chance and run.
By Ryan Ingham
We're back at Elland Road and with a bang after an impressive 4-1 win over Port Vale. Here Keith Ingham speaks the glorious goals and special spaniard who scored them!
The old ground has been given a 'spruce' up, showing famous trophy wins and past players on the facial on Billy's Bar. It's pretty awe inspiring as you see familiar faces in their moments of triumph.
It was good to be back, 1974 was the first time I visited Leeds United and nothing beats the feeling of starting a journey that ends walking up towards our spiritual home.
Thomas Christiansen as predicted gave players that did not feature from the start on Sunday, along with a new face; a lad from Salford and the longest name probably we've ever seen on a Leeds shirt: Cameron Borthwick-Jackson.
Leeds lined up with Wiedwald in goal, a back four of Anita, captain for the night Luke Ayling, youngster Shaughnessy and Jackson on the left. In the midfield, Sacko and Dallas on the wings, Klich (debut) and Vieira as the 'sitting two' with Sammy Saiz in the number ten (more on him later!) and Caleb Ekuban leading the frontline.
Leeds were very bright in the early exchanges and Dallas had a couple of opportunities early on the the Vale keeper dealt with easily, but the Northern Ireland international was the architect of the first goal on twelve minutes. His shot/cross cannoned back off the post to provide Saiz with his first in the white and gold of Leeds.
Today Leeds announced the arrival of Cameron Borthwick-Jackson from Manchester United and confirmed youngster Tyler Denton had departed the club on loan.
Both players occupy the position of left full back and it's expected that the arrival of Borthwick-Jackson is the reason that Denton has been given the opportunity to impress on loan for the club.
Borthwick-Jackson, a product of the Manchester United (scum) academy has joined Leeds on a twelve month loan deal after completing what could only be regarded as the longest medical in history having taken his medical exam on Friday afternoon.
The 20-year old is a natural at both centre back and full back and will be brought straight into the first team picture with Leeds having to substitute both Gaetano Berardi (shoulder) and Matthew Pennington (ankle) off during their first game of the 17/18 season.
Denton on the other hand has been gifted the chance to play regular first team football for an entire season instead of remaining as a backup option for Leeds.
A similar situation happened with Lewie Coyle earlier in the summer having been allowed to leave for Fleetwood on a temporary basis.
Both players are highly regarded at Leeds United's academy and are expected to have good careers ahead of them. However, they are unfortunately behind a selection of good players at this current time.
Having joined Port Vale on a season long loan, Denton will not eligible to play against his parent club on Wednesday evening as the sides meet in the newly named Carabao Cup but is expected to make his league debut on the following Saturday.
The jury is out whether either of these moves will pan out as Leeds expect, but at least it shows good knowledge of the youth culture in England by Leeds using the loan system to their advantage.
By Ryan Ingham
Saturday 29th July
Leeds United v Oxford United
Pre Season Friendly
Leeds: Wiedwald, Ayling (Anita 78), Cooper, Pennington, Berardi, O’Kane (Klich 78), Phillips (Bridcutt 78), Roofe (Sacko 63), Hernandez (Saiz 63), Alioski (Dallas 63), Wood (Ekuban 78).
Subs not used: Green, Peacock-Farrell, Denton, Jansson, Gomes, Shaughnessy, Vieira, Antonsson, Doukara.
Oxford: Eastwood, Ribiero (Tiendalli 62), Nelson (Martin 79), Hall (Narsingh 62), Ledson, Obika (Thomas 57), Johnson (Rothwell 68), Carroll Ladrero 79), Ruffels (Xemi 72), Williamson (Raglan 62), Henry (Payne 62). Subs not used: Hemmings, Kelleher, Shearer.
Leeds ran out fairly easy winners against a spirited Oxford United side. For me the biggest surprise was in goal, after a splendid 2016/17 season between the 'sticks' for Rob Green I fully expected him to start.
Thomas Christiansen seems to prefer the German stopper Wiedwald, if this is the preferred line up of the new Head Coach.
Kemar Roofe scored against his former club to help Leeds United defeat Oxford United in the final game of pre-season.
Head coach Thomas Christiansen took charge of his first match at Elland Road, as Leeds welcomed back former assistant head coach Pep Clotet, who is now in charge of the Sky Bet League One outfit.
In our first interview with a rival of the 17/18 season Keith Ingham spoke to Trotters fans Andy Kearsley and Chris Boardman about all things Bolton Wanderers.
How long have you supported Bolton Wanderers?
Andy: I have been a Bolton fan all my life.
Chris: I'm 27-years old and I've supported BWFC all my life. Born and bread 'Boltoner'.
Who has been your favourite ever player for Bolton?
Andy: My favorite player was Jay Jay Okocha
Chris: Think my favourite player might have to be Jay Jay Okocha oh however you spell it ha.. his touch on the ball was second to none. He could pin point a pass anywhere on the pitch. His dribbling was probably the best I've ever seem from any player in any team. He was brilliant.. could run rings round players and they could by get near him.
What has been your most memorable moment as a fan?
Andy: My most memorable match would be newcastle on Boxing Day last season
Chris: Not sure about my most memorable game.. could be Chelsea away. The season we just stayed up in the Premiership. We scored a 94th minute equaliser to draw 1-1 and that ment we went into the final game safe for another season. It was an incredible game.
Anything that has happened that was out of the ordinary whilst watch Bolton?
Chris: Out of the ordinary has gotta be Fabrice Muamba collapsing at white Hart lane.. we all know what happened there. Was so upsetting to watch. That was his last game for Bolton Wanderers
Has there been many changes since your promotion to the Championship?
Andy: Apart from money problems not much has changed.
Chris: Not than many changes really, but all been good changes. Got rid of a few players who weren't good enough which saved on wages. Got some players in so we could compete in the Championship. Paid some of our debts off.. things are looking good for the future.
What is your main aim for Bolton in the forthcoming season?
Andy: My main aim would be to get promotion to the premier league (really!)
(That's a tad ambitious)
Chris: I personally think the main aim is to stay up.. rebuild for a couple of seasons and then push for the Premiership.
(That's more like it!)
Can you name a player in your squad you think will have an impact on the Championship this season?
Andy: Filipe Morais will be my player for impact
Chris: I think Ameobi will be a great asset to us. His pace on the wing and his balls into the box will cause a lot of teams problems and will create lots of chances for us to score. Hopefully he will score a few himself
Name one team you want to beat more than any other? (Apart from Leeds!)
Andy: I wanna say Preston is the team I'd like to beat
Chris: Not many teams i want to beat more than any other.. might have to say Preston as they are the closest rivals in the Championship for us.
Who's your tip for the title?
Andy: I think Bolton
Chris: My tip for the title will have to be Middlesbrough. Boo Hiss!
(We don't like that either!)
What's your prediction and scorers for Sunday's clash?
Andy: I reckon 3-1 Bolton - Madine, Morais, Wheater and Wood for Leeds
Chris: Bolton 2-1 Leeds -
Ameobi Armstrong Wood
We'd like to thank Andy and Chris for participating in our questions and hope they have an enjoyable season back in the Championship.
By Keith Ingham
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