By Daniel Lewis

14th Sep, 2023 | 1:10pm

Leeds United can prove Gordon Strachan right as they prepare for crunch period

Gordon Strachan expects Leeds United to find themselves in the promotion mix this season once they have put the “embarrassment” of Premier League relegation behind them.

The Whites have collected just six points from their opening five matches to find themselves 15th ahead of the trip to Millwall on Sunday [17 September].

To put a more positive spin on things, United picked up a 4-3 win at Ipswich Town in their most recent away game, while they kept a first clean sheet in 22 outings in all competitions in their stalemate with Sheffield Wednesday last time out.

Factor in the late summer arrivals, plus others returning from injury, and Leeds’ season – one which they hope will end with promotion – truly begins this weekend at The Den.

As Strachan told Gambling Zone [12 September]: “I think it will be really, really tight between the top ten with about eight or nine games to go and I expect Coventry, Leeds and Southampton to be in that group.

“I hope that Leeds can get themselves sorted out by that point in the season because they have the fanbase that can drag them along into the promotion reckoning and they also can intimidate other teams. Let’s see how Leeds respond now and if they can really start to kick on.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“I can see Leeds getting results together and getting over the shock of relegation. The way Leeds went down was an embarrassment and sometimes that can take a while to get over – for the club, that can take a little bit of time to shake off and get out of the system.”

Leeds have now had a little over a month to adapt to life back in the second tier, the vast majority of that time being dominated by talk of incomings and outgoings at Elland Road.

Now that the window is closed until January, it is time for Daniel Farke to find a settled starting line-up and hopefully United can string some wins together.

It will not be easy, as Leeds have trips to Millwall, Hull City and Southampton before the next international break in a month’s time, as well as home games with Watford, QPR and Bristol City.

Making themselves tough to beat has been a good starting point – only a last-gasp Birmingham City penalty denied them an unbeaten start – and now Farke’s men must be ready to push on as club action resumes.

In other Leeds United news, Farke could instigate talks over a new contract for one of his regulars this season.