The BIG Championship Preview- Part TwoLeave a comment
August 2, 2013 by bluenosebible
Ipswich Town 9th
Player to watch: Luke Chambers Central Defender
Since Mick McCarthy’s appointment at Ipswich, his points per game ratio would have taken them into the play offs last season had he been in charge for the full campaign. That shows how good of a job he is currently doing at the club. In the transfer market so far they’ve bolstered their attacking options with strikers David McGoldrick and Daryl Murphy being signed permanently after scoring the least goals in the league, but McCarthy’s sides are known for being well disciplined and organised at the back. Provided that the Tractor boys can score more goals this season and possibly add a few more faces to their forward line, it could be a more of an exciting season for the Ipswich fans.
Ipswich Town In:
Jack Doherty (Waterford United/Undisclosed) Christophe Berra (Wolves/Free) Frederic Veseli (Manchester United/Free) Dean Gerken (Bristol City/Free) Paul Anderson (Bristol City/Undisclosed) David McGoldrick (Nottingham Forest/Free) Daryl Murphy (Celtic/Free) Jay Tabb (Reading/Free) Cole Skuse (Bristol City/Free) Ryan Tunnicliffe (Manchester United/Loan)
Ipswich Town Out:
Michael Chopra (Blackpool/Free) Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Bristol City/Undisclosed) Lee Martin (Millwall/Free) Arran Lee-Barrett (Released) Andy Drury (Crawley Town/Free) Jason Brown (Released)
Leeds United 3rd
Player to watch: Sam Byram Right Back
Since Leeds United lost in the play- off final to Watford in 2006 they’ve never looked close to reaching the Premiership again, but this year could well be different. With new manager Brian McDermott at the helm it could all be different as he guided Reading into the top tier during his last season in the Championship. After Luciano Becchio moved to Norwich City in January, Leeds struggled to find a replacement for the Argentine and have brought in Matt Smith and Noel Hunt from Oldham Athletic and Reading respectively as a result. Watch out for Leeds United this season, if they improve on their away form they could be back in the Premiership again.
Leeds United In:
Matt Smith (Oldham Athletic/Free) Noel Hunt (Reading/Free) Luke Murphy (Crewe Alexandra/1M)
Leeds United Out:
Steve Morrison (Millwall/Loan)
Leicester City 8th
Player to watch: Matt James Central Midfielder
The transfer window has been more about keeping their key players more than signing new one for the Foxes this year. Leicester boss Nigel Pearson managed to keep hold of Captain Wes Morgan and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, but has failed to bring any ‘big’ signings like previous transfer windows. The money is there for Pearson to spend, but having pretty much the same squad as last season has many advantages. It took the Foxes until the final kick of last season to make the play- offs and the race for those four places will be close again. Pearson will be under pressure again to get them promoted, but will they be in the mix again?
Leicester City In:
Zoumana Bakayogo (Tranmere/Free)
Leicester City Out:
Jermaine Beckford (Bolton Wanderers/Undisclosed) Joey Jones (Yeovil Town/Free) Richie Wellens (Doncaster Rovers/ Free) Conor Clifford (Southend United/ Free)
Player to watch: Adam Reach Winger
Times are hard at Middlesbrough at the moment. Low crowds, tight budget and a poor end to last year show how far ‘Boro have come from their Premiership days. They’ve always been renowned for producing good academy players and with their small squad; the north east side will be under pressure to do it again. Dean Whitehead has joined from Stoke City to add more experience to the side with the likes of key players Jonathon Woodgate and Marvin Emnes. I expect another difficult season on Tyneside, but if their key players can stay fit they’ll be able to stay away from the relegation zone.
Dean Whitehead (Stoke City/Free) Jozsef Varga (Debrecen/Loan)
Scott McDonald (Millwall/Free) Nick Bailey (Millwall/Free) Stephen McManus (Motherwell/Free)
Player to watch: Liam Trotter Central Midfielder
It could be a long season for Millwall after Kenny Jackett resigned at the end of last season. Jackett’s side relied on making them hard to beat, but in the market new manager Steve Lomas has added some good players in Nick Bailey and former Lion Steve Morison as they look to improve their goal scoring record. With their new acquisitions Millwall now have a better all round starting line up in the Championship than they might have had before, but their lack of depth will create problems once key players pick up injuries. If Steve Lomas doesn’t pick up points early, the Millwall fans could get on his back because of his West Ham links and it may become a nightmare season for the East London club.
Scott McDonald (Middlesbrough/Free) Nick Bailey (Middlesbrough/Free) Richard Chaplow (Southampton/Free) Lee Martin (Ipswich Town /Free) Jermaine Easter (Crystal Palace/Undisclosed) Steve Morison (Leeds United/Loan) Stephen Bywater (Sheffield Wednesday/Free) Tom Bender (Colchester United/Free)
Chris Taylor (Blackburn Rovers/Free) Steve Mildenhall (Bristol Rovers/Free) Maik Taylor (Released) Scott Malone (Released) Terry Racon (Released) Shaun Batt (Leyton Orient/Free) Tamika Mkandawire (Shrewsbury Town/Free)
Nottingham Forest 2nd
Player to watch: Jamie Mackie Striker
After a great run towards the end of last season under returning boss Billy Davies; Forest were unlucky not to make the play- offs. However, the financial backing from their Kuwaiti owner has enabled the Davies to create a squad good enough to challenge the top teams in the second tier this season. Their top scorers found the net a mere six times last term so Forest have brought a very hard working player in Jamie Mackie from QPR to add more fire power and I’m sure he’ll deliver, along with some good defensive options in Jack Hobbs and goalkeeper Dorus de Vries. It has taken Billy Davies many attempts to secure promotion for Forest, but this year I‘m confident he’ll succeed.
Nottingham Forest In:
Jack Hobbs (Hull City/Loan) Dorus de Vries (Swansea City/Free) Jamie Paterson (Walsall/Undisclosed) Gonzalo Jara (West Brom/Free) Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa/Free) Djamel Abdoun (Olympiakos/£1.55M) Jamie Mackie (QPR/1.5M)
Nottingham Forest Out:
David McGoldrick (Ipswich Town/Free) Lewis McGugan (Watford/Free)
Player to watch: Charlie Austin Striker
To say QPR must get promoted this season is an understatement. Chairmen and owner Tony Fernandes has pretty much gone for an all or nothing approach to get QPR up at the first attempt by keeping as many of last year’s squad as possible. They’ve brought in some experienced heads in Karl Henry and Richard Dunne, but they’ll only add to the huge wage budget already at the club. If they don’t get promoted this year it could well all end in tears at Loftus Road and I expect them to finish in the play- off places to see if they can book their place back in the Premiership at the first attempt.
Karl Henry (Wolves/Undisclosed) Richard Dunne (Aston Villa/Free) Danny Simpson (Newcastle United/Free) Charlie Austin (Burnley/ 4M)
Rob Hulse (Released) Christopher Samba (Anzhi/12M) Djibril Cisse (FC Kuban/Free) Tal Ben Haim (Standard Liege/Free) DJ Campbell (Blackburn Rovers/Free) Radek Cerny (Slavia Prague/Free) Jamie Mackie (Nottingham Forest/1.5M) Jay Bothroyd (Released)
Player to watch- Wayne Bridge Left back
Despite being relegated from the Premiership last season, Reading have managed to keep hold of most of their key players and have an excellent squad, on paper at least. In the transfer market the Royals have made some real coups by signing former Real Madrid player Royston Drenthe and Wayne Bridge, who has had two great seasons at Brighton. The Royals’ manager, Nigel Adkins, has good experiences of promotions in the Football League and he’ll be hoping to repeat his success this year with Reading. A quality squad, good manager and patient fans- all the ingredients for the Royals to be crowned Champions at the end of the season.
Wayne Bridge (Manchester City/Free) Daniel Williams (Hoffenheim/Undisclosed) Royston Drenthe (FC Alania/Free)
Simon Church (Charlton Athletic/ Free) Nicky Shorey (Released) Noel Hunt (Leeds United/Free) Jay Tabb (Ipswich Town/Free) Joseph Mills (Burnley/Free) Daniel Carrico (Sevilla/Loan)
Sheffield Wednesday 21st
Player to watch: Miquel Llera Central Defender
One of the biggest problems for Sheffield Wednesday this summer has been trying to replace their impressive loan players from last season. Players like Ross Barkley and former Blues’ loanee Leroy Lita make a big difference in whether Wednesday stayed up or not, so manager Dave Jones will be hoping to bring in a few more fresh faces before the transfer window closes. The Owls have signed winger Jeremy Helan permanently after impressing on loan and Jacques Maghoma will be moving up two divisions from Burton Albion. I can see it being another difficult season for Wednesday, but if their key players such as Michail Antonio and Lewis Buxton can perform well again they should have enough to stay up for another season.
Sheffield Wednesday In:
Jeremy Helan (Manchester City/Undisclosed) Jacques Maghoma (Burton Albion/Free) Atdhe Nuhiu (Rapid Wien/Free) Kamil Zayatte (Istanbul BB/ Free)
Sheffield Wednesday Out:
Nicky Weaver (Aberdeen/Free) Stephen Bywater (Millwall/Free) Chris O’Grady (Barnsley/Undisclosed) Nejc Pecnik (Red Star Belgrade/Free)
Player to watch- Ikechi Anya Right Wing Back
It’s been another pre season with many ins and outs for Watford as ten players have joined or resigned for the Hornets. One player who hasn’t returned is the Championship Player of the Season for last term, Matěj Vydra, which is a massive blow because his goals were crucial to almost helping the club gain promotion. Watford will be hoping to do one better than last year after almost gaining automatic promotion on the final day of the season and losing in the play- off final to Crystal Palace. With all the new foreign signings and the more continental style 3-5-2 formation last season, Watford used the surprise factor well as many teams struggled to play against them. Promotion will be the aim, but without Vydra will they have the firepower upfront to seal their Premiership place in 2014?
Joel Ekstrand (Udinese/Free) Ikechi Anya (Granada/Undisclosed) Reece Brown (Manchester United/Free) Almen Abdi (Udinese/Free) Gabriele Angella (Udinese/Free) Diego Fabbrini (Udinese/Free) Iriney (Granada/Loan) Daniel Pudil (Granada/Undisclosed) Cristian Battocchio (Udinese/Undisclosed) Lewis McGugan (Nottingham Forest/Free)
John Eustace (Derby County/Free) Carl Dickinson (Port Vale/Free) Lee Hodson (MK Dons/Free) Mark Yeates (Bradford City/Free) Craig Forsyth (Derby County/Undisclosed) Stephen McGinn (Sheffield United/Free) Jack Bonham (Brentford/Free) Chris Iwelumo (Scunthorpe United/Free) Jonathon Hogg (Huddersfield Town/ Undisclosed) Britt Assombalonga (Peterborough United/ Undisclosed) Piero Mingoia (Watford/ Free)
Wigan Athletic 5th
Player to watch: Roger Espinoza Defensive Midfielder
Birmingham City fans can relate to what happened to Wigan last season after the Latics were relegated having won a major trophy. Following Roberto Martinez’s move to Everton (and taking some of their best players with him), new boss Owen Coyle will be hoping his side can bounce straight back up at the first time of asking. Their qualification into the Europa League has helped them in the transfer market as Grant Holt and James Perch have dropped down from the Premiership to play key roles in their push for promotion. With the Latics in Europe this season I expect them to start off slowly in the league and build up momentum after Christmas, similarly to Blues during their season in Europe.
Wigan Athletic In:
Grant Holt (Norwich City/2M) Marc-Antoine Fortune (West Brom/Free) Scott Carson (Bursaspor/Undisclosed) James Perch (Newcastle United/Undisclosed) Thomas Rogne (Celtic/Free) Stephen Crainey (Blackpool/Free) Chris McCann (Burnley/Free)
Wigan Athletic Out:
Franco Di Santo (Released) Arouna Kone (Everton/Undisclosed) Adrian Lopez (Released) Antolin Alcaraz (Everton/Free) Mauro Boselli (Leon/Undisclosed) Maynor Figueroa (Hull City/Free) Albert Crusat (Released) Ronnie Stam (Released) David Jones (Burnley/ Free)
Yeovil Town 23rd
Player to watch: Paddy Madden Striker
Following their unexpected arrival into the Championship this season via the play-offs, Yeovil’s main aim will be to avoid relegation in their debut season in the second tier of English football. Manager Gary Johnson has already stated his players earn four times less than the average Championship player and hopes to use the underdog tag to their advantage over the course of the season. Paddy Madden will be the player to watch out for as the Irish striker scored 22 goals last season to help guide the side to promotion. Whatever happens to Yeovil Town this season they’ll make sure they enjoy it. I predict that they will start well with the surprise factor on their side and slowly drop down the table towards the final stages.
Yeovil Town In:
Alan Tate (Swansea City/Loan) Dan Seaborne (Southampton/Free) Michael Ngoo (Liverpool/Loan) Billy Clifford (Chelsea/Loan) Kieffer Moore (Dorchester Town/Undisclosed) Joel Grant (Wycombe Wanderers/Free) Sam Hoskins (Southampton/Free) Liam Davis (Oxford United/ Free)
Yeovil Town Out:
Richard Hinds (Bury/Free) Gavin Williams (Woking/Free) Dominic Blizzard (Plymouth/Free)