After three games without a win and only one goal scored and with both their proven strikers missing along with the highly influential Pablo Hernandez it was a big test of the Whites’ credentials when they took on two combative teams in the last week.
But to come out of their games at Millwall and at home to Preston with four points has been a substantial reward as Leeds have held onto their top spot even without top scorer Kemar Roofe and most expensive recent signing Patrick Bamford.
In their absence players have stepped up. First Jack Harrison with his first goal to earn a 1-1 draw at Millwall and then Tyler Roberts, who looked much more at home as a central striker than in his previous outings on the wing when he bagged two well taken goals in the 3-0 victory over Preston.
Both were outstanding performers as revenge was earned over a Preston side that is the only one to beat Marcelo Bielsa’s United this season.
With Pontus Jansson also back to his best at the back after coming in for the injured Gaetano Berardi the Whites coped superbly with their absences and must feel more confident now moving forward.
It is Birmingham next on the horizon and their manager Garry Monk will see for himself what he threw away when he left Elland Road. He has been back already with Middlesbrough last year so knows he will be in for a tough time from the home fans and he will also note just what esteem the current Leeds head coach is held in.
Bielsa’s standing went up a further notch with a brilliant all-round display from his side in the win over Preston last night and he will have been delighted by the way that his fringe players stepped forward.
Suddenly it does not seem so bad that Bamford will be out of action for four months with a knee injury while Championship player of the month Kemar Roofe picked up a calf knock that is likely to keep him out of action until the game at Sheffield Wednesday at the end of the month.
Berardi’s knee injury is expected to keep him out of action until the middle of October while Hernandez faces up to a month on the sidelines.
Youngster Jamie Shackleton has also been missing, but is expected back into training by the end of the week.
Until last night it seemed the squad was coming under strain, but now it does not appear to be the case with Leeds striding confidently into this weekend’s game with an unbeaten record in the Sky Bet Championship and their best start to a season, defeats wise, since they came back into this division.