Brentford travel to Leeds in what will be Pontus Jansson’s first return to Yorkshire since his fairly controversial (and rather rapid it has to be said) exit from Elland Road. Billy Grant touches base with Thomas Bradley (@TBradley23) from I’d Radebe Leeds (@radebe_leeds ) to get the lowdown on Leeds United in their quest for (no pressure now) automatic promotion
As a Brentford fan I know all about playoff failure. We’ve never won one. I was at the Derby playoff match. In the South Stand. The atmosphere was electric. When the first Leeds goal went in it was carnage. I really thought you were clear. But Derby somehow clawed their way back. How hard has it been to bounce back after the heartbreak of the playoffs?
At the time it was soul destroying because you’re left thinking that we’ll struggle to ever be in the same position again. But if you look at how we’ve started the season, we’ve reacted in the best possible way. Three wins out of four – including the cup game against Salford – means the initial anxiety of how a second season under Bielsa would start is all but eradicated.
You didn’t go bonkers in the transfer market like we did. But you made a few big signings. Are you comfortable with your squad?
We lost Jansson to you guys at a price that is an absolute steal, so that one caused some frustration – for me at least.
We’ve brought in some quality, though. Ben White – the player who has effectively replaced Jansson – looks like a player who will have a fantastic career.
Helder Costa needs no introduction to the Championship after shining for Wolves.
And Eddie Nketiah from Arsenal is a real coup if you read how many admirers he had in the transfer window.
Overall, I’m happy because we’ve started well and the returning Jack Harrison looks determined to make this season one to remember.
Ex-Bee Adam Forshaw is seemingly reveling in a new role that gives him a somewhat free role in midfield. How has he been for you?
Last season, I was never sure what his role was and I don’t think we were seeing what he could bring to the team as much as we should have.
This time round, he looks sharper and quicker further up the field. We need players like Forshaw to be commanding in the role they play, so long may it continue that he performs to a high standard.
There was a big fear that Bielsa would walk at the end of last season. But he stayed. Do you feel the pressure is on for Leeds? Can you handle it?
There’s definitely pressure on us because we continue to live and breathe ‘Bielsa ball’ and will play most teams in the division off the park. Our problem is turning possession and momentum into goals. That’s where the pressure is, especially for the likes of Bamford who took some stick last season for not taking vital chances.
The spotlight is on us now to see if we trip and fall again or we finally get back to the Premier League. Weirdly, we are probably better off for the heartache of last season.
Pontus Jansson joined the Bees in the summer to help solidify our (at times) flaky defence. We’re still work in progress. But we have seen glimpses of what he brings to the team. How big a loss was he for Leeds?
Pontus is a big loss in many respects although it appears a breakdown in relationship between Bielsa and Jansson forced the club’s hand to balance the books.
You will benefit most from set pieces, both defensively and offensively, as he has a towering presence in both boxes. He is a ‘heart on his sleeve’ type of player which comes with both positives and negatives. But if I was a Brentford fan, I’d be very happy he was in my team.
Leeds have had three great results away. But struggle with teams frustrating them at home. Bees are very much work in progress this season having signed ten players in close season so I can’t tell you who is likely to start. How will they fare against this new-look Brentford side?
Leeds v Brentford games always tend to be decent, and no Leeds fan needs reminding of the fixture at Griffin Park last season. I’d say it’s our toughest test so far, especially with Pontus back at Elland Road so soon. I expect an attacking game. But who knows what might happen in terms of chances, goals and moments.
Leeds 1 Brentford 1