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Leeds United legend Eddie Gray explains what pleases him about Whites' fixture list

A general view of the Billy Bremner statue outside Elland Road before the match - Leeds United

United have finished in the bottom half of the Championship table for the past five seasons.

Swansea manager Garry Monk

Eddie Gray has claimed that it is a good thing that the fixture list has left Leeds United without a game against any of the sides that were relegated from last season's Premier League during the early stages of the new campaign, but insisted that the Whites must now take advantage of that opportunity, the Yorkshire Evening Post reports.

United's first game against any of the teams that were in the top flight last term comes at the start of November, when they will travel to Carrow Road to face Norwich City, which will be followed by a home game against Newcastle United, while their first clash with Aston Villa is their opening game in December. 

Newcastle manager Rafael BenitezNewcastle manager Rafael Benitez

And Gray believes that the gap of around three months between the start of the season and their first clash against one of the relegated sides could be a blessing for Garry Monk's men.

"Avoiding the big boys, the Premier League sides, until November is no bad thing and it makes it a good start for us. It's a chance to get some points on the board early, which we have to do. But, at the end of the day, it's only a good fixture list if we get results early on," he told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

As Gray alluded to, there is no guarantee that avoiding the relegated teams for a few months will prove to be a benefit to United's season. 

New manager Roberto Di Matteo poses after the press conferenceAston Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo

If the Peacocks make a slow start to the campaign, the last thing that Monk will want is to realise that they have a run that will see them take on sides that were in the Premier League last year three times in four games, especially as two of those clubs now have Champions League-winning managers at the helm.

But if United can get off to the kind of fast start that Gray believes is vital, then the momentum that they take into that period could be the factor that allows them to come through that run of four games unscathed, and having also proved to many that they may actually be promotion contenders.

General view inside the stadium before the game

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