A decade ago, Leeds United reached its lowest nadir as a club, sinking down to the depths of English’s football’s third tier. Coupled with insolvency and a point deduction, it was a situation deemed beyond salvation, but Leeds United FC is once more on an upward trajectory.
The 2016/17 season proved to be another close brush with the promotion playoffs, with the target once again missed by virtue of inconsistency in the league. The basic ingredients for success are evidently at the management’s disposal. In Robert Green, for instance, the club boasts an evergreen goalkeeper with unrivalled experience at all levels of English football. His expertise has ensured that Leeds have at least made their own turf a difficult place for visitors to thrive. However, his efforts have been honoured in no small part at the business end of the pitch by Chris Wood.
Leeds United’s inconsistency this season surely deterred bettors from including the Whites on an accumulator – and their odds for the 2017/18 campaign reflect those difficulties; Leeds are 16/1 to win the Championship in the outrights. However, with ACCA insurance and the option to end bets early included in the latest William Hill offers, faith in Leeds doesn’t have to be the risk it appears to be.
With 27 goals in 44 appearances this season, Wood has been a symbol of hope, as the West Yorkshire club prepares for a fourteenth year outside the top flight.
Disturbingly for Leeds, only one other recognised striker, Marcus Antonsson, has contributed to the goal tally this year, doing so with a single strike at Sheffield Wednesday way back in August. In gleaning this, the coaching staff at Elland Road will surely be motivated to find a strike partner of similar prowess for Wood, if Leeds are to make promotion a reality in 2017/18.
Up in the Premier League, Crystal Palace secured safety with a 4-0 win over Hull on Sunday. With just one goal in eleven appearances this season, a now 29-year old Fraizer Campbell has been a peripheral figure in the South London club’s fight to survive. Subsequently, he is now being tipped to move down a league and become the final piece of the Leeds promotion jigsaw.
While his hold up play often leaves much to be desired, Campbell’s combative streak often goes unrecognised; this is because his ability to draw fouls masks his propensity to tackle more than the average striker.
Campbell is, quite obviously, not up to Premier League standard. He blew his big chance to make an impact after being part of the Cardiff squad that gained promotion to the Premier League in 2013, scoring just six times as the Bluebirds were immediately relegated.
He does, however, boast an excellent previous record where his strike rate at Championship level is concerned. Most prominently, a loan period at Hull ten years ago yielded 15 goals in 34 appearances, and it was highly influential in the Tigers’ successful fight to reach the top flight for the first time.