Former Manchester City star Micah Richards has fancied Leeds United to finish in the top half of the Premier League table. The Whites have returned to the top-flight after a 16-year hiatus and they have been backed to impress under the guidance of Marcelo Bielsa. The club have a tough start to the season with Liverpool and Manchester City to face in the opening four games, but there is the expectation that they will stay clear of the drop zone.

In a report covered by The Mail, Richards said that his local club should impress in their return to the Premier League and believes they could finish as high as seventh on the table, he told: “I know there is a feeling that my local club will either finish in the top seven or get relegated but I am saying they will be nearer the first part of that prediction.

They might not have a lot of household names but there is one thing you know about going to Elland Road and that is it’s a horrible experience for the away team. It’s ingrained into Leeds players that they have to work hard and with Marcelo Bielsa, the genius they have as manager, I’m sure they will be fine.”

Leeds have made a couple of quality signings in Roberto Moreno and Robin Koch since their promotion and the former could be key to their prospects of breaking into the top half of the standings. The west Yorkshire outfit lacked the presence of a genuine competitor to Patrick Bamford upfront last season, but they have worked on the concern with the purchase of Moreno, who is a full international with Spain. Leeds are expected to make at least two more signings with the club’s hierarchy prepared to spend another £35m to £50m.