Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Christian Brown’s npower Championship 2011/12 Preview - Part Three

The Football Front’s Christian Brown in a three feature takes a look at the chances of the team’s in the npower Championship.

This is part three of the npower Championship preview – Part one can be found here and part two can be found here.

Millwall – 2010/11 finish: 9th

There is no denying, no debate and no argument that if it wasn’t for Steve Morison, Millwall wouldn’t have had the season they enjoyed. A goal total of 17 in all competitions ensured that their otherwise League 1 standard team (barring a few individuals, notably James Henry) didn’t have to work especially hard to finish like they did. If Morison didn’t get stupidly suspended, they arguably would have finished in the play offs. Morison has now joined Norwich, and even if Neil Mellor does sign for The Lions, his influence hasn’t been replaced. As a result, we will all see just how weak Millwall are, but it isn’t weak enough to get relegated...just. Position – 21st

Nottingham Forest – 2010/11 finish: 6th

After winning last season’s race for 6th place, Forest’s alarmingly unlucky subsequent defeat at the hands of eventual winners Swansea prompted a summer of change at The City Ground. Popular manager Billy Davies was sacked, with Steve McClaren being handed the reigns at the sleeping giants. But things haven’t started well, with Robbie Earnshaw and Julian Bennett both leaving the club on frees. However, Forest have brought in much needed experience in the middle with George Boateng and Jonathan Greening, whilst there was also a comeback for Forest hero Andy Reid, who signed a 2 year deal. Forest still look a little light on numbers, but they have a lot of quality and under McClaren they just might achieve what Davies didn’t – promotion. Position – 5th

Peterborough United – 2010/11 finish: 4th (promoted via League 1 play offs)

Peterborough fans should cherish every single second of that game against Huddersfield. It was that underserved win that got them promoted. There is absolutely no doubt they’re going back the way they came. Selling star striker Craig Mackail-Smith to Brighton will be the first of many bullets that end up in the feet of The Posh, but it will be the sale of George Boyd which will really kill them off. As things stand, an offer from an unnamed club (for now) has been received, but hasn’t been either accepted or rejected. As Boyd pulled all the strings in an otherwise League One standard team, losing him would be a disaster. Darren Ferguson would like to avoid tarnishing his Championship reputation further, but it’ll take a lot of favours from Daddy Ferguson to avoid that. Position – 24th

Portsmouth – 2010/11 finish: 16th

Most Pompey fans will be thanking their lucky stars that they still have a club to support after last season’s near extinction, but times are changing on the South Coast. Despite losing star striker Dave Nugent to Leicester, they have already found a replacement in Luke Varney, and replaced Michael Brown with David Norris. Having re-signed ex academy product Jason Pearce from Bournemouth, getting former loanee Greg Halford back permanently from Wolves, and with ex Chelsea defender Tal Ben Haim willing to play again - Portsmouth won’t be shipping many goals, wherever they play. If Liam Lawrence can keep providing pin point service from the wings, this could be a strong season for the Blues. Position – 8th

Reading – 2010/11 finish: 5th

As with Nottingham Forest, Reading became unstuck and were just as unbelievably unlucky as the Reds were against Swansea. Losing 4-2 in the final was a hammer blow to the Royals, and it’s interesting to see where they go from it. Having already lost their best centre back Matt Mills to Leicester, speculation over the future of key striker Shane Long has been rising and rising – he was also the subject of a failed £5.5 million bid (potentially rising to 8) from West Ham. With Liverpool amongst over Premier League teams allegedly keeping tabs on him, it seems inevitable he will leave. This will be a distracting season for Reading, but a solid one all the same. Position – 9th

Southampton – 2010/11 finish: 2nd (promoted from League One)

Normally when a team comes up, they think of players they can get to ensure survival. They will then look to build on their success of staying up the following year, and possibly mount a charge the year after. Not Southampton. The first thing the Saints did when they got promoted was put bids in for Nicky Maynard and Jack Cork, securing the latter. These are hardly ‘survival’ targets. On top of an already impressive squad, Nigel Adkins has added to it significantly. Even though it is still a relatively young team in places (Lallana, Cork and Chamberlain) this group of players has it in them to cause damage in this league, and that’s what they will do. Position – 6th

Watford – 2010/11 finish: 14th

Much like Millwall being dependent on Steve Morison, Watford were highly dependent on the league’s top scorer Danny Graham. Also like Morision, Graham has departed the Hornets for pastures new. Unlike Millwall however, Watford have a team in place already which are good enough to stay up in this division. The acquisition of Scottish international and ex Burnley target man Chris Iwelumo will definitely aid the development of hot prospect Marvin Sordell, as well as adding a different dimension to the Hornets’ game. However, he won’t be anywhere near as prolific as Danny Graham and Watford will struggle...but they will have enough to keep their heads above water, for now at least. Position – 20th

West Ham United – 2010/11 finish: 20th (relegated from Premier League)

And so the best is saved till last. Much like Newcastle did in 2009, West Ham will definitely go back up at the first attempt. Magnificent signings such as Joey O’Brien, Matty Taylor and of course, Kevin Nolan, will ensure promotion is secured. Under the experienced manager Sam Allardyce, there doesn’t really seem to be any potential weakness in the team. Even if they do lose players like Cole and Parker, there is depth and quality to cover for it. Jordan Spence and James Tompkins will get their chance to shine, and although it is inevitable West Ham will lose games and drop points over the course of the season, it is even more inevitable they will win the league. Position – 1st

Here is my Championship league table prediction;

League table prediction

West Ham United


Leicester City

Cardiff City

Ipswich Town

Nottingham Forest



Birmingham City



Hull City



Leeds United

Bristol City


Crystal Palace

Doncaster Rovers

Brighton & Hove Albion

Derby County




Coventry City


Peterborough United

And that brings the end of the preview! Although the final table will not be exactly as predicted, it is a rough and fair assessment of what is to come this season. Who knows, Peterborough may end up with Tom Cleverly and Federico Macheda on loan from Manchester United and storm the league, whilst Leicester’s new signings don’t gel and they have a car crash season, resulting in the end of Sven’s tenure. Or go broke. Either way, it is sure to be yet another memorable, exciting and nail biting season for all involved in the npower Championship, and it’s not long now before all 24 are back into the groove of playing competitive football.

This piece was written by Christian Brown, you can follow him on his Twitter - @Chris78901, Chris also writes for The Sports Pallet too. All of Chris' work is on his blog, 1-chris78901.

Things you may like to read

Christian Brown’s nPower Championship Review 2011/2012 – Part One

Christian Brown’s nPower Championship Review 2011/2012 – Part Two

The Championship. Is it more competitive than ever before?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
[Valid Atom 1.0] // technoaryi