SUPER TUESDAY? Forget it; it was thoroughly, thoroughly miserable.
Let’s hope the vista improves on Saturday for Yorkshire’s clubs. It can hardly get any worse..
In this case we are not talking about the weather, but the desperate EFL Cup fare of midweek, with total annihilation after seven White Rose exits only prevented by Leeds United seeing off Fleetwood on penalties the following night.
How we could do with things improving this weekend. All told, it is a grim tale for the White Rose so far at the start of 2016-17. Fifteen games in all competitions, just two wins and 11 defeats. Early days, mind.
Here are five pointers for the weekend:
1: Hull City and Middlesbrough. One Premier League newcomer ‘expects’ and another, er, does not.
While there is metaphorical sunshine at the Riverside Stadium, with a 30,000 crowd expected for Middlesbrough’s renewal of Premier League vows against Stoke City, there are dark, dark clouds over the KCOM Stadium ahead of Hull City’s home game with champions Leicester City.
Everything that can possibly go wrong has managed to do so in a close-season from hell for Hull, with a record low top-flight home crowd expected tomorrow. If that is not a sign of disharmony, nothing is.
The Tigers have no expectation whatsoever. It may be a good thing, or perhaps not, with the character test awaiting Hull in a daunting seasonal opening looking like monumental.
A bit more expectation on Boro’s shoulders, for sure, with the Teessiders yet to win their opening top-flight game following promotion to the PL.
Welcome to the big time, chaps.
2: Leeds United v Birmingham City. All bets are off – anything could happen.
The sheer relief after United edged out Fleetwood on penalties in the League Cup was palpable and spoke everything about the mindset of the club’s scarred supporters late on Wednesday evening
Now it is back to the main league business, with Leeds having a fence to mend after a poor opening-weekend loss to QPR. Who, with any degree of certainty, can confidently predict what will happen? No-one..
Can the new-look Leeds handle the Elland Road experience? Can they embrace it and turn it to their advantage? Time will tell. Will they buckle, who knows?
3: Norwich City v Sheffield Wednesday. More must-watch TV for Wednesdayites.
For those Wednesdayites who will not be in attendance at Carrow Road, there is the consolation of live TV coverage, with Wednesday facing the second leg of an introduction to the season which is positively intriguing.
After seeing off Aston Villa, a king-sized barometer of their credentials arrives at Norwich City, who many are expecting to do a very passable impersonation of Burnley’s class of 2015-16 this season.
Pound for pound, Norwich look as strong as anyone and are not shackled by the weight of expectation on Tyneside either.
If Wednesday can take something home from Norfolk, they can rightfully consider themselves serious Championship players.
The sense of well-being would eclipse the feeling after picking up three opening points against Villa as Norwich certainly look stronger than the Midlanders.
4: Newcastle United v Huddersfield Town. Can Town put the cat among the pigeons – or Magpies?
A sell-out travelling contingent of 3,200 Town fans will be high up in the Gods among an incredible 52,000 crowd at St James’ Park for a glamour occasion as Huddersfield visit Tyneside in the league for the first time since Rubik’s Cubes were all the rage, Auf Wiedersehen Pet was in a first series and Wor Kev was leading the line for the Toon in ‘83.
Can Town take their performance last weekend to the table against Newcastle and throw a big spanner in the works of the Rafalution?
If they are as pumped up, organised and high-energy as last weekend, do not rule it out totally, though you sense they will need a spot of luck along the way.
5: Take two at home for Barnsley, Sheffield United and Doncaster Rovers.
All of the aforementioned went out of the Cup at home in midweek, although there was a spot of mitigation for Rovers, who produced a decent second-half against higher division opponents.
But for the Reds, Blades and Rovers, the need for solid home form is essential if they are to achieve their seasonal aims. More especially for the latter duo, who had their travails last term.