Predicted Leeds United XI vs Millwall: Surprises beckon as key man is ruled out

Elland Road East Stand

We take a look at the starting XI Leeds United fans can expect to see vs Millwall on the opening day of the season.

Whether you are predicting gloom or glory for Leeds United this season, their first game against Millwall will be one of the more intriguing matches this weekend as interest in their unknown foreign talent is under the spotlight.

Leeds have had a mixed pre-season and whilst results, at times, haven't been up to standard, they have not been without positives.

Arguably, Leeds' biggest positive this pre-season, and the one the Championship should be most wary of, is Tommaso Bianchi. The 25-year-old central midfielder signed from Sassuolo has shown during the pre-season games that he can add a real spark to the Leeds midfield and effectively be a game changer for them this season. However, due to two bookies received in the play-offs last season in Italy, he will miss the opening day.

The team on Saturday, however, could come with a few surprises as Leeds fans speculate to who Hockaday will name as his first starting side as Leeds United manager. Assuming he is the one picking the side, of course.

We've tried our best to decipher the noises coming from Elland Road and predict who we think Hockaday, or Cellino, will go with on Saturday.

Predicted Leeds United team to play Millwall:

Silvestri

Byram Wootton Pearce Berardi

Austin

Murphy Tonge

Morison Smith Doukara

Analysis:

The team could change depending on the person selecting it, but going by the game against Dundee United, this is how we expect Leeds to line up.

The only surprise in the back five, that we expect, is Berardi being handed his competitive debut in Leeds United colours after coming on twice at half-time for the transfer listed Stephen Warnock in pre-season.

Wootton and Pearce, at this moment in time, don't really have competition and will more than likely be the first choice pairing come Saturday, whilst the influential Byram takes his place at right back.

SEE ALSO: Sign him up! Cellino spotted at Rotherham game as midfielder shines

In midfield, there should be places in the team for Austin, Murphy and Tonge who will be expected to sit in and win the battle in the middle of the park, whilst giving the strikers as much ammunition as possible in order for them to score the goals to win the game.

Upfront, Morison, Doukara and Smith all look likely to start in the absence of Bianchi as Leeds could look to adapt to a similar formation that was so successful for Liverpool last season. As the service from the midfielders perhaps won't be as frequent as it would be with Bianchi, the attacking three must work out how they're going to to go and receive the ball from midfield and work effectively. Doukara, who could inject some real pace to the Leeds United attack, may be asked to be the runner and work the channels creating chance for Morison and Smith to put away.

Leeds fans, how do you expect to line-up?

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