5-Minute New Season Preview: Championship

by Mike Moore

Friday, August 5th, 2011
 

 

 

 

Who’s Looking Good?

Leicester: Having massively overhauled the squad during the summer, signing no less than nine players, including the marquee signings of Kasper Schmeichel, David Nugent, Michael Johnson, Neil Danns and Paul Konchesky should give the Foxes the quality needed to reach the Premiership for the first time since 2002. Don’t forget the Sven factor either – the man has been around and knows how to succeed in promotion campaigns.

West Ham: Despite last season’s relegation, things look promising for an immediate return to the Premiership. The double-act of Big Sam and Big Kev (Nolan), as well as the criminally –underrated Matty Taylor, should provide immense experience and tactical nous needed to take the Hammers back up. Provided they can keep the big crowds which contributed massively last year, they should do well. They will, however, be the team every other club in the division will want to beat, and will raise their game accordingly….

Also Up There: Birmingham are another big name who everyone will want to beat, but have lost many of the top players and might be distracted by early-season European adventures. Middlesborough were many people’s tips last season, and have a very talented young squad, so it’ll be no surprise if they finally sort things out and mount a challenge. Newly-promoted Brighton have great momentum, a brand-new stadium, and a great young manager, and have also bought well bringing in players such as the dynamite front-line of Craig Mackail-Smith and Will Hoskins. Ipswich have also bought well, bringing in Michael Chopra and Lee Bowyer, and this may be their year. This division is so crazily unreliable that anyone can beat anyone else, and that’s why we love it!

Who’s Not…

Watford: Despite being recently named as the best-value day out in the League, Watford may struggle this year following last year’s brush with the play-offs. Losing Malky Mackay was a big disappointment, and it is down to his assistant Sean Dyche to prove he has what it takes. Replacing free-scoring Danny Graham with Chris Iwelumo doesn’t inspire much confidence, but as usual, they will have some great young talent coming through. A certain spectacled chairman should also be a bit more forthcoming with his Rocketman money in order to ensure the Hornets don’t struggle this year.

Doncaster: Flirted heavily with relegation last season despite a massively loyal fanbase and a hotly-tipped young manager. The small squad is always a reason for worry, as is the playing budget, tiny compared to the West Ham’s and Birmingham’s. Keeping Billy Sharp is a great coup, though, as his goals will prove vital to their survival.

Peterborough: The current yo-yo team, having flirted with this division in the past. The return of Fergie Jr. was the catalyst for a fantastic promotion last year, great stuff for such an unglamorous club. One of the great remaining terrace stadiums always provide a great away day out, but having lost Craig Mackail-Smith, they will hope George Boyd and Lee Tomlin can fill in. They can also rely on the rock-hard Grant McCann in the centre to provide midfield steel and tonnes of experience.

Also Down There: Barnsley may struggle, but should easily have enough with their new strike force of Craig Davies and Danny Haynes. Bristol City have managed to keep key striker Nicky Maynard but are short of quality elsewhere, even with David James in goal and former Leeds man Neil Kilkenny shoring up midfield. Midlands rivals Derby and Coventry most came dangerously close to the edge last season and will be eager to avoid a repeat.

DISCLAIMER: hese are the leagues where anyone can (and often do) beat anyone else, so, come May, feel free to look back on these predictions and laugh heartily….

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  • dexylongshot

    Nice work Mike, agree with most of that although I think Birmingham may struggle to get in the top 6 even though Chris Hughton has done it before and is very likable. If anyone fancys a bit of Championship Fantasy league, get onto the

    http://fantasy.football-league.co.uk

    It’s free and i’ve started up a team lovingly entitled.

    ABBEY CLANCY”S JOCKSTRAP PREMIER!!!!

    Pin code is 13117. More the merrier, hurry up though!

  • darren

    I’m going with Reading, if they can keep hold of Shane Long they’ll def be right up there. Leicester should make playoffs.

    Outside chance, Ipswich

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