Leeds United's first five fixtures could well indicate their Championship ambitions next season.
Leeds United's first five fixtures of the new Championship season could shed some light on whether the famous Yorkshire club will continue to struggle in mid-table mediocrity, or be in with a shout of a promotion challenge next year.
08/08/2015 Burnley H
15/08/2015 Reading A
18/08/2015 Bristol City A
22/08/2015 Sheffield Wednesday H
29/08/2015 Derby County A
On paper, all of the club's opening few games look winnable to some degree.
Burnley will be landing in the Championship after a relegation from the Premier League, but will be without star striker Danny Ings, and very likely, impressive fullback Kieran Trippier.
Leeds will be seeking to kick off the new season in a strong way at home, and it could be a big ask for the Clarets to make an impact in an away match at Elland Road.
If Leeds can make an impact in this initial game, they will be in high spirits for the two upcoming away matches, and it is very possible that Uwe Rosler will have his men fired up for the opening day of the season.
Reading really struggled in the league last season, despite their impressive FA Cup form, and travelling to the Madejski Stadium doesn't have the danger it used to. Leeds could be looking at a second successive three points here, having won in Reading last season.
The trip to Bristol City might be more difficult, considering the fashion in which they blitzed League One last season. Additionally, in the last few seasons, the third tier's promoted sides have impressed in the Championship. However, Leeds, fresh from maximum points early on, could well hold out for a draw at Aston Gate.
Arguably, the match against Sheffield Wednesday is the club's easiest in the opening month, with the Owls axing Stuart Gray in June and things very uncertain at Hillsborough. A lot will depend on whether the Sheffield side can themselves start well with whoever they bring in, but again, Leeds have to fancy their chances at home.
Which brings us to their fifth game, away to Derby County. The Rams were a Jekyll and Hyde outfit last season, so impressive early on but slipping desperately away in the final few weeks. Time will tell whether that form left with Steve McClaren, but with Paul Clement in charge of a club for the first time, Leeds might hope to pick up a point at least, especially if their opponents still have the hangover from last season's promotion capitulation.
That means that Leeds could optimistically expect to be boasting 10 or 11 points out of 15 from the first five games of the season, with a draw against Bristol City, helped by wins over Burnley, Reading and Sheffield Wednesday. The match with Derby could then be either a draw or a defeat depending on how the Rams take to former Real Madrid assistant Clement.