Leeds United looking to get their season going

Uwe Rosler, still to taste victory with Leeds United.Uwe Rosler, still to taste victory with Leeds United.
Uwe Rosler, still to taste victory with Leeds United.
Technically still unbeaten or yet to win a game, you takes your pick on the half-full or half-empty picture so far presented by Leeds United, but the club and head coach Uwe Rosler could certainly do with a win tonight at Bristol City.

The Whites have drawn both their games so far in the Sky Bet Championship against decent opposition and over 90 minutes and an extra half-hour they also finished all square with Doncaster Rovers in the Capital One Cup before losing on penalties so it has been a solid start to the Rosler era.

They can turn it into a good start with a win against newly promoted opponents who have yet to find their feet in the Championship with defeats in their first two games, but defeat at Bristol City, if it is followed up with another failure to win against Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road on Saturday, would have everyone beginning to wonder about how long Rosler will be in charge.

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Outwardly, the head coach is calmness itself in his dealings with the media and he has spoken about being given assurances that he was under no real pressure to deliver results straight away yet he must be having some anxiety after what happened to David Hockaday at this stage last season with an early cup exit and some disappointing league results putting paid to his time in charge.

On the pitch, however, Leeds are looking much better than 12 months ago, to give hope that a first win is just round the corner.

The side is certainly looking organised and defending soundly as a unit with just one goal conceded in open play so far and one resulting from a clumsy penalty from a fringe player.

Already the makings of a settled back four are there with Gaetano Berardi and Charlie Taylor looking like natural full-backs and just a decision to make on who is the first choice centre-back to partner new club captain Sol Bamba. Both Liam Cooper and Giuseppe Bellusci have played two games each and have done well so far to give Rosler the kind of selection dilemma he will not mind.

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But with only two goals scored so far he has more problems to solve up front, not least as big money buy Chris Wood has yet to get off the mark.

The big New Zealand centre-forward has missed a few decent chances in the league games, but although he has worked his socks off in both he has not yet really had the supply he would like.

Wood is likely to be given the nod tonight to face one of his former clubs, having made 19 appearances on loan at Bristol City in 2012, scoring three goals.

Leeds will once again be without suspended Lewis Cook and Rosler will decide whether to stick with teenager Kalvin Phillips or bring in fit again Luke Murphy. He could also start with Mirco Antenucci instead of Alex Mowatt in a bid to up the goal threat.

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Opponents Bristol City have leaked goals and suffered defeats in all their games so far this season, but Rosler is gearing his side up for a tough challenge.

He said: “I’d be quite excited about their style of play.

“I played a similar way with Wigan in the FA Cup the season before last. You have 3-5-2, you have wing backs and it’s a very exciting style of football. I admire Steve Cotterill for the way he set up his team, the way he plays.

“Watching them against Luton, they could have won the game in 15 or 20 minutes. I watched them against Brentford and they should have been up 3-0 or 4-0. They’ll do well this season.

“They’re starting games very fast and that’s something we have to be aware of. That will be key. They’ll come at us like a house on fire and it’s very important that we’re mentally strong in the beginning.”

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Rosler is encouraged by what he has seen from his side so far this season.

He added: “I’m pretty happy with going into the Bristol game being unbeaten.

“When we played Burnley we had a lot of energy. We stood high up the pitch, forced errors and had chances. Reading was a different scenario. Both teams cancelled themselves out but we had the best chance. It was a more tactical game. My young players did what I asked to get a result.

“I promise that when we come through this programme and have time to refresh, we’ll play high and create chances again for our strikers and for Chris Wood.”