Leeds United supporters have filtered back into Elland Road this afternoon, giddy at the prospect of witnessing their team in the flesh after 17 months away.
Coincidentally it is 17 years since a full-house spectated a Premier League fixture at Elland Road.
It also means the likes of Rodrigo, Raphinha and Robin Koch – last season’s additions who played their maiden Premier League campaign in front of empty stadiums – will experience the Elland Road roar for the very first time.
Diego Llorente would ordinarily be in that bracket, but misses out today, still battling with a knock picked up in pre-season.
This summer’s marquee addition Junior Firpo does make his full debut in Leeds colours this afternoon.
The Spanish-born full-back was a second-half substitute at Old Trafford last weekend but is deemed fit enough to feature from the start today.
Most Leeds supporters will be scouring the starting XI for one name, though: Kalvin Phillips.
The England midfielder shone over the summer as the Three Lions reached a major men’s final for the first time in 55 years.
Elland Road’s faithful will undoubtedly wish to pay their respects to the ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’ who has attracted the attentions of Italian icon Andrea Pirlo – and everybdy else – with his performances at the European Championships.
Phillips sat out last weekend’s Manchester United mauling, not quite at the required fitness level to satisfy Marcelo Bielsa after a summer on international duty.
This week though, Phillips is indispensable and returns to the starting XI for the first time since last season’s final game against West Bromwich Albion.
He replaces Robin Koch who drops out of the first-team squad altogether.
Marcelo Bielsa named Adam Forshaw, Crysencio Summerville and Sam Greenwood on the substitutes’ bench last week in what were somewhat wildcard picks.
Although none of the trio were able to impact proceedings on the pitch at Old Trafford, Summerville and Forshaw take their place on the bench again today; reward for reliable and consistent performances in the under-23 setup.
Forshaw returns to a matchday squad at Elland Road for the first time in nearly two years, last appearing for the Whites at home in a 1-0 defeat to Swansea City on August 31, 2019.
Ian Poveda’s continued absence from senior and under-23 squads means the in-form Summerville makes a second-consecutive appearance on the Leeds bench.
Joining him on the bench is under-23s captain Charlie Cresswell; his first appearance in a senior squad since Aston Villa at home back in February, as well as standout under-23 right-back Cody Drameh.
LEEDS UNITED XI (4-1-4-1): Meslier, Ayling, Cooper, Struijk, Junior; Phillips, Klich, Dallas; Harrison, Raphinha, Bamford