Andy Ritchie: August will prove a baptism of fire for Leeds United coach Rosler

New Latics manager, Uwe Rosler during the match, Football action from Sky Bet Championship - Sunday 15 December 2013 - Wigan Athletic v Bolton Wanderers held at DW Stadium.
New Latics manager, Uwe Rosler during the match, Football action from Sky Bet Championship - Sunday 15 December 2013 - Wigan Athletic v Bolton Wanderers held at DW Stadium.
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LOOKING at the first month of the 2015-16 season for Leeds United, August looks like a baptism of fire for Uwe Rosler, that’s for sure.

Burnley at home in the first game is tough, as obviously they have just been relegated and if you count the cup trip to Doncaster Rovers, it’s then three successive away games, including Reading and Bristol City.

And that is before you get to Derby County and there’s also a derby with Sheffield Wednesday to fit in.

It is the sort of run of games where as a new manager you would look and think: ‘Jesus Christ’.

Looking at Burnley, first up, they will be strong, even without Ings and Kieran Trippier, who is close to joining Spurs. They are still a team capable of going straight back up and that is what they will be aiming for.

As a manager, you always like a home game on the first day and Leeds have that, which is fair enough. But after that, you want a bit of respite and Leeds have not really got that in those first four or five games.

It is only after about six or seven games in, where Leeds have a bit of breathing space. But not much.

Burnley and Derby are almost like derbies in terms of their intensity. Reading will be there or thereabouts, while Bristol City have just been promoted and will be flying.

Looking at it, it has got to be one of the toughest starts to a season that Leeds have had in recent times.

But when you look down the division, to be fair, there do not look to be many easy fixtures.

It has the look of a particularly hard league this time around and it is usually a tough one anyway.

It will certainly be the toughest league out of the four in 2015-16.

There will the relegated teams of Burnley, Hull and QPR, and then the likes of Derby, Ipswich and Wolves who will be wanting to push on a little a bit along with several others such as Nottingham Forest, Bolton and Fulham.

Preston as well, they will be strong, especially at home.

Look at all the derby games that Leeds will face as well. And everyone will be wanting to beat Leeds. There’s six Yorkshire teams in the league and that has got to be as many as it’s been in one season for a few years.

And as I’ve said, there’s also all the other games Leeds will face that have the feel of a derby as well.

Obviously, Simon Grayson heading back to Elland Road for the first time since leaving, with his Preston side just before Christmas on December 19 is one of the fixtures that sticks out and then there’s the final game there on May 7.

Simon was very well liked at Leeds and the fans liked him as well and I am sure he will get a good reception.

But once the game gets underway, he will be looking for the three points, that’s for sure.

There’s been bits of paper talk so far this summer regarding the future of Sam Byram.

A couple of years ago before he got his injuries, he looked like he was ready to go to the Premier League and now he is back on track and you sense Leeds will have to make a decision soon as he has only a year left on his contract at the club.

Talk about his future has always been in the air as he’s a talented player.

Sam has worked so hard to get himself back right and while you hear some punters saying: ‘Well, he will never get back to what he was’, he has shown real grit and determination.

He is a right-back, but he has also shown his versatility at the right-hand side of midfield and can clearly adapt.

With Sam, I think it is a case of waiting and seeing, in terms of his future. There may well be a decision to take regarding him soon, though.

Looking at Leeds’ transfer business so far, from what I’ve seen of Lee Erwin, he looks a young, strong and quick player and while not being overly prolific during his time north of the border with Motherwell, he clearly has some talent with a bit of pace about him.

If Leeds are going to play 4-3-3, as Uwe seems to prefer, you need people with some pace and stature to work the channels and get in behind.

Erwin is obviously delighted to get the chance at Leeds and he looks and sounds eager with the hunger you need.

In terms of the young keeper, Charlie Horton, I don’t know too much about him, although he’s obviously been at Cardiff City.

Charlie is behind a couple of good keepers at Cardiff in David Marshall and Simon Moore and sometimes, especially with good young keepers, it is difficult to find a place for them where there’s a couple of established senior ones in front like those two.

For keepers starting out, you need to find a pathway for them and by the sounds of it, Horton is probably going in to be a number two at Leeds behind Marco Silvestri, who did well and was probably one of the best players for Leeds United last year.

In terms of other ‘signings’ I also have to say that I think Rob Kelly is a brilliant one.

I know Rob a bit and he’s an excellent bloke who is very experienced as well.

That, for me, could be one of the best close-season signings that the club will make before August.

Rob is not shy and he always got an opinion, with a good sense of humour too.

I think people will like having him around and working with him.