The attention of Leeds United switches to the League Cup this week, with Hull City visiting Elland Road on Wednesday evening.
Leeds lost 4-3 to Liverpool on the opening day of the Premier League season and some eyes are wandering to Saturday’s meeting with Fulham.
However, before then, Marcelo Bielsa leads his side into battle in the League Cup against League One Hull.
Here at Leeds All Over, we’ve reached out to avid Hull fan, Tom Griffin, for his lowdown on the Tigers in this instalment of ‘View from the Opposition’.
Tom has published content on Football League World, as well as Hull Live during his time at Hull City Ladies.
1) Firstly, there was an encouraging win for Hull at Gillingham on Saturday. Are we finally starting to see McCann turn the ship around after eight months of turmoil?
Having suffered a torrid eight months, back-to-back clean sheets (Sunderland in the last round & Gillingham on Saturday) represents the beginning of a turning point.
Before the season began, winning football matches again was largely the talking point. It was imperative that we started the season with a win after struggling to do so for a long time. We did that emphatically against Gillingham.
Understandably there were question marks over McCann’s managerial ability and certainly his man-management. He is, quite frankly, very fortunate to still be in a job, having taken six points from a possible 60 in the last six months of the previous campaign.
McCann, however, is now at a level where he has come close to triumphing before and will hope to go one better with City. Although many, including myself, lost faith and called for his head on multiple occasions. A positive summer of recruitment and an equally positive start to the season shows that McCann’s managerial ship could finally be making a U-turn.
2) Who are the Hull men that Leeds need to look out for at Elland Road on Wednesday?
After netting in City’s narrow loss to Leicester’s under-21s and the opener in Saturday’s victory over Gillingham, Keane Lewis-Potter is a youngster with a predatory instinct in front of goal.
The forward was largely restricted to substitute appearances in the Championship last season. However, McCann has made it clear that the 19-year-old will be a regular fixture in the first-team this campaign. Should he start against Leeds on Wednesday night, he’ll make himself a presence in the opposition area.
His goal against Gillingham highlighted his positional awareness and instinct to turn George Honeyman’s initial shot home. He’s a born goalscorer and someone who will always be in the mix for goals.
His attributes are more than just his finishing. He’s also a diminutive figure with an impressive leap for someone who is 5ft7 and his low-centre of gravity makes him difficult to mark.
Hull are expected to make multiple changes from the side that won on Saturday, so midfielder Callum Jones could earn his second start in a City shirt at just 19. The box-to-box midfielder is very adept on the ball, he doesn’t shirk tackles and will make his presence known in the centre of the park.
3) Leeds did the double over Hull in the Championship last season and won emphatically at the KCOM back in February. What are you expecting from Bielsa’s side this time out?
From a Bielsa side you can always expect relentless pressing, quick exchanges in midfield and combinations out wide to split open the opposition.
Leeds will attempt to isolate the full back in a 2v1 situations, taking advantage of McCann’s 4-3-3 system, with the Hull boss likely to operate with a low block.
Although Bielsa is expected to make a number of changes from the side that narrowly lost to Liverpool, the Tigers will still be up against it.
I’m expecting Leeds to start with new recruit Rodrigo and full-back Barry Douglas, so it only underlines their depth!
Leeds will have too much for City, but the Tigers will certainly put up more of a fight than they did in February’s fixture.
4) Finally, what are your predictions for the League Cup meeting on Wednesday? Can Hull spring a surprise and claim a Premier League scalp?
Although I’d love to predict an unlikely Hull victory, I think Leeds United 3-1 Hull City would be a fair prediction. Hull’s priorities are with league competition and while they have a big enough squad to reshuffle, McCann will preserve his most important players ready for Saturday’s home clash with Crewe.
Saying that, stranger things have happened in football and it’s equally known that Leeds’ focus will be on the Premier League, with the cup acting as a distraction.
Hull have a spring in their step, while Leeds will be buoyed by their superb performance at Anfield, despite not coming away with a result to match. The pressure is on Leeds to progress in this contest, but City will suit being the underdogs and will have to be clinical with any chances they create.
Tom is currently looking for freelance work in the industry and can be contacted on his Twitter handle – @_journotom.