Feel good Leeds United aim to pass TV test

Luke Murphy on his debut for Leeds United against Brighton. Picture: IAN HARBER
Luke Murphy on his debut for Leeds United against Brighton. Picture: IAN HARBER
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After an encouraging start with 2-1 victories in their opening two games Leeds United will be looking to keep the feel good factor going when they play the first of their TV games this Sunday away at Leicester City.

Luke Murphy’s injury-time strike after Ross McCormack had cancelled out Leonardo Ulloa’s early goal for Brighton gave the Whites a flying start with three points in the Skybet Championship last Saturday against a side that reached the play-offs last season.

They followed up with a less impressive display, but the same result as Michael Brown and Dominic Poleon netted to knock Chesterfield out of the Capital One Cup at the first round stage on Wednesday night.

Now the Whites face another of last year’s play-off teams in Leicester with their manager, Nigel Pearson, backing his side to finish higher than their sixth place last term.

Although they have only so far brought in one free transfer player to add to last year’s team they still appear to have one of the strongest squads in the division after spending big in recent years.

They have also opened with a couple of 2-1 victories and have a 100 per cent record to defend and will provide a major test of the new spirit Leeds boss Brian McDermott is instilling in his players.

He has been helped by a new positive atmosphere at Elland Road – and healthy crowds of 33,432 for the league game and 17,466 for the cup tie – with fans so far enjoying the post-Ken Bates era.

McDermott thanked the supporters for their backing after the Brighton match and was also pleased with the way they encouraged rather than got on any players’ backs even though United struggled at times against Chesterfield.

He made seven changes to his starting line-up for the cup tie, but of the players coming in only striker Poleon made a strong case for inclusion this Sunday. He is putting pressure on Noel Hunt and Luke Varney for their places, while there may be a further change in midfield with Rudy Austin available for the first time after completing his suspension held over from last season.

But Leeds will travel without player of the year Sam Byram with the young defender struggling to overcome a hip injury that could require surgery.