Kevin Phillips has bucked the trend of most pundits by claiming Leeds United will be in a relegation battle in their first season back in the Premier League.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former England forward believes the Whites would have a better chance of staying up if they were playing in front of a crowd at Elland Road.

Leeds begin their first Premier League campaign in 16 years with a trip to champions Liverpool on Saturday.

Leeds United manager

They then host fellow promoted side Fulham next weekend, before tough games against Sheffield United, Manchester City and Wolves.

Asked by Football Insider where he expects Leeds to finish in the table, Phillips went against the majority claiming they should stay up comfortably by insisting it will be nip and tuck.

He said: “I’m going to be honest, I think they’ll be fighting relegation.

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“It’s always tough coming out of the Championship. I think it’s only two or three signings they’ve made. Koch and Rodrigo, the striker so it’ll be tough.

“They’ll try and take heart, like every team coming up will, of what Sheffield United did last season but they’re a team that has been well oiled for a while.

“Bielsa has been at Leeds for a couple of years so they’re well oiled so it can happen.

“But in my personal opinion, I’m not going to predict that they’ll get relegated but they’ll be in a relegation battle for the majority of the season.

“If Elland Road was full week in and week out that could potentially help them a little bit but that’s not going to happen until next year if it does happen then.

“It’ll be a tough first season for them.”

In other Leeds United news, Football Insider can REVEAL a new signing is in line to start against Liverpool after Thorp Arch development.