Brian McDermott's first full season in charge of Leeds United gets underway against Brighton at Elland Road this weekend.

The former Reading manager will know the weight of expectation bearing down on him from a fierce and loyal Leeds fan base. He may opt to hand debuts to pre-season arrivals Luke Murphy, Matt Smith and Noel Hunt.

The latter of these played for McDermott at the Madjeski Stadium, and scored eight goal when the Royals achieved promotion from the Championship two years ago.

That experience could be a key factor this season as the club strives to finally return to the Premier League. 

There are a few players that definitely won't be in action this Saturday for the hosts. Sam Byram has a hip injury, and both El-Hadji Diouf and Rudy Austin are suspended.

Meanwhile, new Seagulls supremo Oscar Garcia takes the hot seat for his first competitive game with the club. The Spanish manager couldn't have hand-picked a much tougher first fixture of the season. 

The former Barcelona player will have to do without Craig Mackail-Smith in the opening weeks of the campaign, as the striker recovers from an ankle injury.

Brighton have got the better of their opponents the last few times that these two sides have met. In fact, Leeds haven't recorded a home win over the south coast club since 2008.

Last season was a dire affair for the home fans, who witnessed their team succumb to a 2-1 defeat, and finish the game with only nine players on the pitch.

Brighton also had a man sent off in that game, but hopefully this time around it will be a cleaner, early season contest, in which all players remain on the pitch.


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