It`s back. A day after most Championship clubs begin their campaign, Bolton get underway fashionably late when they take on Leeds in the televised game. A big crowd is expected at the Macron to welcome Wanderers back to the second tier of English football. Leeds will be a tough test, a team that many expected to inhabit a different end of the league to us. But it is the opening day, when nobody can be really sure exactly what will happen.
“We come into the league with a lot of confidence and a good mentality. We are a team that were used to winning last year. We know what it takes. We`re up against teams with a lot of money but we`ve put a lot of work in to ensure we are competitive.”
Phil Parkinson, speaking in Friday`s press conference.
“Very excited. We have been working the whole pre-season, looking forward to this game on Sunday against Bolton. I believe in the players and have seen that in the games we have made that they try and understand the way that I want to play, the ideas that I have. There are still many things to work on but the target is trying to be in the best condition for this game.”
New Leeds boss Thomas Christensen speaking to LUTV
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
Sammy Ameobi is out with a twisted knee which would keep him out for the first six weeks of the season. Expect a similar lineup to last weekend`s friendly against Stoke, although this week`s signings Reece Burke, Josh Cullen, Aaron Wilbraham and Antonee Robinson should all be eligible.
Player to watch: Gary Madine
We struggled when Gary Madine wasn`t involved last season, and the signing of Aaron Wilbraham would suggest that plan A will largely be the same again this season. And if it works, great.
Leeds United Team News:
Leeds have no injury worries, but Swedish centre-back Pontus Jansson, who Leeds fans think of in a way similar to Mark Beevers, is out through suspension.
Player to watch: Chris Wood
Chris Wood was the Championship`s top scorer last season, breaking the 30-goal mark in all competitions. He went on to play at the Confederations Cup in Russia over the summer, where his New Zealand side bowed out at the group stage. A deadly finisher that Wheater and Beevers will have their work cut out with.
Match Facts & Stats
Leeds won the last meeting between these two sides at the Macron, a 2-1 victory for tomorrow`s opponents in an FA Cup fourth round tie two seasons ago. Three of the last four league meetings at our place have ended in draws, with our last home win being that 4-1 win that pretty much sent them down in 2004.
Bolton haven`t won their opening game of a season in the second tier since 1977, when Roy Greaves scored in a 1-0 win away at Burnley.
Last season, Bolton won their opening game 1-0 at home to Sheffield United, while Leeds lost 3-0 at QPR.
Phil Parkinson has won four, drawn one, and lost two of his last seven opening day league games as a manager.
No Bolton player scored more than nine league goals last season. Chris Wood scored 27 for Leeds.
Bolton won their last home Championship game, beating Hull 1-0 in April 2016.
It really is hard to pick it on the first day of the season. Teams can be cold and especially in this division you can never be quite show exactly how good or bad a team will be. Owing to the fact we generally start slowly though, I`ll go for a 2-0 Leeds win.
Crewe away on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup, before a trip to Millwall next weekend.