We are now just 24h from the return of the football league season for Bolton Wanderers.
1) After a Summer of change both at the top and in the dugout, how are Leeds fans feeling about the new season?
I think Leeds fans are cautiously optimistic. Most fans were really disappointed after the team fell out of the playoff places in the way they did, and then with Monk leaving it was really hard to get excited about the new season.
However, the new owner appears to be an actual decent owner and has literally put his money where his mouth is by spending £20m to buy back Elland Road after owning the club for a month. He's invested in the Academy and in scouting, something that the previous owner/ cartoon villain Cellino would have never done.
I think most fans would be dancing in the streets in joy over the things that he has done if Leeds fans couldn't point to their owners that they've had for the past 15 years as reasons to not get too excited about new owners and all the talk that happens before a ball is kicked.
I think most fans are going in hoping for the playoffs, but with a manager new to English football, who knows. p Most of last year's team returns this year, with a lot more depth, but serious holes at CB and LB remain with the team bringing in a lot of new wingers and midfielders, but not many defenders or strikers.
2) You’ve spent some money this summer, which of your new signings will be most important?
Gianni Alisoki looks to be the real deal. He scored 16 goals from the wing in the Swiss Super League last year for FC Lugano and he turned heads the minute he stepped onto the pitch this preseason. He's got great pace and can create his own shot without a lot of trouble cutting in from the wing.
Matthew Pennington, loanee from Everton, might be the most important for the Bolton match as he's going to be starting at CB with Liam Cooper as one of last year's star newcomers, Pontus Jansson, is suspended for the first two matches of the season. He's only 22, but he did start, and score, in a Merseyside derby last year, so the pressure isn't gonna be new, but it's still not ideal to have a young loanee start on the road.
3) What have you made of Bolton’s summer signings? I’d love to hear your thoughts on Will Buckley especially.
I'll quote one of our writers, Jack Robshaw, about Buckley,
"When we had Will Buckley he was abysmal. Looked really unfit. No end product. No redeeming qualities at all really."
As for the other signings, the West Ham United duo that just came on loan look to be great signings.
Reece Burke is highly regarded by West Ham fans and Josh Cullen was an absolute beast for Bradford City last year. A lot of Hammer fans thought that Cullen would be on the senior squad in East London this year. The only "flaw" in his game seems to be that he can't score, but he has vision and can boss the midfield. I have a feeling Bolton fans will love him.
4) Are there any names in the Leeds side to watch out for?
Kemar Roofe will be a breakout star this season. He came in last season during the summer and never seemed settled. He's looked great in preseason and looked good against Oxford United, his old club, in the final preseason game.
Also, it might be surprising given the season he had last year, but it looks like Rob Green will not be the starting goalkeeper for Leeds on Sunday.
Felix Wiedwald was brought in from Werder Bremen in the summer transfer window, and it looks like he will get the starting nod from the new "Head Coach" Thomas Christiansen. He can play with the ball at his feet a lot better than Green can, and Christiansen appears to like playing out of the back passing and moving rather than hoofing the ball up the pitch towards the head of Chris Wood.
Speaking of Wood, he's looked a little off in preseason, probably because he started late because of Confederations Cup duty, so expect a great deal of panic in West Yorkshire when he doesn't score on Sunday. He'll be fine in a week or two, but expect countless hot takes about how last year was a fluke and how he's secretly terrible.
5) Give us a score prediction
Leeds have invested heavily in lots of depth pieces and look to be a deeper squad, but with possibly a worse defence after the departure of Charlie Taylor and Kyle Bartley.
I don't think that they will be able to keep a clean sheet, but I can see Leeds scoring a couple goals without a lot of trouble, if for no other reason that there are a lot of players that will be looking to either solidify their starting position or to try and change Christiansen's mind.
Thanks for your time Pete, and good luck for the season......just not tomorrow.