Burnley striker Chris Wood backs former club Leeds United to do well on their return to the Premier League

On the eve of Leeds United's first Premier League fixture in more than 16 years, former striker Chris Wood has given his thoughts on how he feels the Whites will fare back in the big time.

Friday, 11th September 2020, 7:30 am
Chris Wood of Leeds United celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Leeds United at St Andrews (stadium) on March 3, 2017 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

The Championship winners have been handed a baptism of fire on their return to the top flight as they take on English champions Liverpool at Anfield tomorrow.

It will be the club's first outing at this level since May 2004 when Jesper Gronkjaer's header midway through the first half secured victory for Claudio Ranieri's Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

United were relegated with 33 points having lost four of their last five games and joined Wolves and Leicester City back in the second tier.

Chris Wood of Leeds celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Derby County at Elland Road on January 13, 2017 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

"It's always tough stepping up to a new league, it's going to be difficult, but I think Leeds have got the capability to do very well," said the New Zealander.

"They've got a good manager, a good squad, which is working well, they've got confidence coming from last season and they've made some good signings. If they hit the ground running they could be very useful."

The 28-year-old made 88 appearances for Leeds over two seasons after joining from the Foxes and went on to score 44 goals in all competitions.

The PFA Championship Team of the Year entrant in 2016/17, who collected Leeds United's Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year awards that season, made his last appearance at Elland Road in a goalless draw against Fulham.

Burnley's joint record signing, who netted from the spot for the Clarets in a League Cup tie against United at Turf Moor three years ago, is eagerly anticipating a return to the iconic stadium in West Yorkshire on Boxing Day.

He said: "It will be nice to go back there [Elland Road] and play, it would be even better if it was a full house.

"I experienced it when I played for them and it was a great atmosphere. It will be nice to see them back in the Premier League and see what they can do."

Another of Wood's former sides, West Bromwich Albion, also made the leap back to the Premier League after finishing as the Championship's runners up.

Wood made his pro debut for the Baggies and went on to play 27 times for the club, hitting the back of the net three times.

But he doesn't feel as optimistic about Albion's chances this term. "West Brom, on the other hand, will have to fight and grind. They've still got the qualities to cause some damage, but I think it will be tough for them."