QPR v Leeds - Sunday 12:00, Sky Sports 1
Garry Monk has been given an early test of his man-management credentials with the news that Charlie Taylor, with just a year remaining on his contract, has handed in a transfer request just days before the opener at Loftus Road. But the former Swansea boss hasn’t blinked, insisting Taylor remains an instrumental part of his plans.
In many ways, Monk is the ideal manager for the Whites given the position in which they find themselves. In his world, resources count for nothing. Only through proper organisation and sheer graft are you going to get to where you want to be, which is just what Leeds fans want to hear because they can’t be expected to compete properly in the transfer market nowadays.
However, the Whites’ introduction to 2016/17 might be a humbling one because Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has a six-month head-start on his counterpart. And though Rangers made virtually no progress during that stagnation period, the benefits of a full pre-season after such a lengthy spell taking stock might be there for all to see on Sunday.
Freebies are likely to be in short supply on both sides and a war of attrition could develop here. But Hasselbaink had a remarkable record for nicking tight encounters during his 13-month tenure at Burton and the Hoops can start as they mean to go on, putting a marker down that few take notice of, in a manner that soon becomes their trademark under the Dutchman.