August 5, 2016 by Shane Ireland
By Andy Moore
We’ll finish: 14th
Top Scorer: Clayton Donaldson
Player of the Season: Robert Tesche
Promoted: Newcastle, Wednesday, Norwich
Relegated: Burton, Barnsley, Rotherham
If our season is anything like this transfer window it’s going to be a very long year. Without the financial weight to throw around like Newcastle, Wednesday & Villa it seems like we’ve been left chasing shadows on more than one occasion. Still, it’s not like we’ve had millions to spend in recent years and we haven’t struggled on the pitch all too often.
The additions of Tesche and Ryan Shotton are very welcome, both players know the club and both were well received by the fans during their loan spells. However, we’re still extremely short in depth – Jonathan Grounds has had an easy ride at LB for the last two seasons and it’s not harsh to say he needs some competition. We all know that we’re lacking strength in depth up front, but I also feel we need a second viable option behind the striker – I can’t see Fab being up for a kicking all season so we need another quality option, sadly Andy Shinnie isn’t that man.
Add this to the strength of the Championship this year and it’s difficult to see us making the same impact we did at the start of last season. Newcastle, Villa and Norwich must surely be amongst the favourites to finish in the top three having not exactly held fire sales of all their quality players. Wednesday have strengthened, Brighton & Derby will be set on replicating the success they enjoyed last season and you can see the likes of Bristol City and Wolves being substantially better than last year.
There is the cause for optimism that Blues were often much better against the big hitters in the league last season but we can’t expect this to last – clubs cottoned on to the fact that we sat back and countered towards the end of the season and wins dried up. It’ll be interesting to see if Rowett has developed a better plan B this season, too often we were 1 down and struggling to get back in the game when teams sat back in front of us. You can also see Jack Storer giving James Vaughan a challenge from the bench – if not then goals from subs will still be a desperate issue.
Our youth remains a source for optimism but you just can’t see that being enough this season. There are teams that will struggle much more than us, Burton, Barnsley and Rotherham immediately spring to mind but I can’t see us getting anywhere near the other end either, others just have too much quality. I think 14th is reasonable, especially as we should (hopefully) see new owners this season.
Still, we’ll have a few easy points off the Villa either way.