Championship scouting report: Who has got it right this summer?
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We have got the inside track from the reporters who will cover all 24 Championship clubs this coming season. Read the second and final part of their scouting reports from around the country.
• Leeds United
Yorkshire Post/Evening Post
Main signings: Pontus Jansson, Mateusz Klich, Hadi Sacko, Felix Wiedwald, Vurnon Anita, Caleb Ekuban, Samuel Sainz, Ezgjan Alioski, Matthew Pennington.
Main departures: Charlie Taylor, Giuseppe Bellusci, Marco Silvestri, Luke Murphy (loan).
Fans’ expectation: Despite the shock exit of Garry Monk in late May, the glass is very much half-full among Leeds followers, who have been impressed by the early work of Andrea Radrizzani in buying back Elland Road, cultivating a professional ethos and sanctioning a fair outlay on several signings.
Promoted: Aston Villa, Derby, Fulham.
Relegated: Ipswich, Preston, Burton.
Main signings: Britt Assombalonga, Martin Braithwaite, Jonny Howson, Cyrus Christie, Darren Randolph, Connor Roberts (loan)
Main departures: Viktor Fischer, Victor Valdes, Bernardo Espinosa, Cristhian Stuani, James Husband, Antonio Barragan
Fans’ expectation: The arrival of a new manager and half a dozen new signings has lifted the mood of gloom that’s been hanging around since last season’s pitiful campaign and relegation. Ticket sales are strong and there’s a feeling that Boro are capable of mounting a serious promotion challenge.
Promoted: Middlesbrough, Reading, Wolves.
Relegated: Millwall, Preston, Burton.
South London Press
Main signings: George Saville, Conor McLaughlin, Jed Wallace, James Meredith, Tom Elliott.
Main departures: Jimmy Abdou, Joe Martin, David Forde.
Fans’ expectation: Millwall can’t hope to match their Championship rivals in the spending stakes and a season of consolidation will be the target. Form at The Den - so hostile for the opposition - is absolutely key.
Promoted: Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, Derby.
Relegated: Bolton, Burton, QPR.
• Norwich City
Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News
Main signings: Marley Watkins, Christoph Zimmermann, Harrison Reed (loan), Angus Gunn (loan), Mario Vrancic, James Husband, Marcel Franke.
Main departures: Jonny Howson, Graham Dorrans, John Ruddy, Seb Bassong, Youssouf Mulumbu, Kyle Lafferty.
Fans’ expectation: Norwich City finished eighth last season, which was failure given the aim was an instant return to the Premier League. A new head coach and a major turnover of players has triggered renewed optimism and excitement. Pushing for the top six again should be the aim.
Promoted: Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday.
Relegated: Millwall, Burton, QPR.
• Nottingham Forest
Main signings: Jason Cummings, Barrie McKay, Daryl Murphy, Adreas Bouchalakis, Tendayi Darikwa
Main departures: Britt Assombalonga, Damien Perquis, Jorge Grant (loan), Gboly Ariyibi (loan)
Fans’ expectation: New owners and a reasonably new manager have led to the start of a new era at the City Ground but, while there is plenty of optimism, a top half finish would be acceptable to most fans.
Promoted: Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday, Fulham.
Relegated: Barnsley, Millwall, Bolton.
• Preston North End
Main signings: Declan Rudd, Josh Harrop, Sean Maguire, Kevin O’Connor, Darnell Fisher
Main departures: Anders Lindegaard, Jermaine Beckford, Clive Smith, Aiden McGeady, Alex Baptiste, Simon Makienok, Tyias Browning
Fans’ expectation: The expectation is to finish higher than the last two seasons (11th place both times) and compete for the play-offs. North End briefly flirted with a play-off push last season but were always playing catch-up after a poor start.
Promoted: Derby, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough.
Relegated: QPR, Burton, Barnsley
Get West London
Main signings: Josh Scowen
Main departures: Karl Henry, Josh Bowler
Fans’ expectation: QPR fans are expecting a tough season with additions few and far between after last season’s 18th place finish. A relegation battle or lower mid-table finish is the general consensus.
Promoted: Middlesbrough, Fulham, Sheffield Wednesday.
Relegated: Millwall, Barnsley, Burton Albion.
Main signings: Vito Mannone, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Pelle Clement.
Main departures: Ali Al-Habsi, Danny Williams, Jake Cooper.
Fans’ expectation: Expecting another good season after last year’s surprising third-place finish - given the past two seasons. Squad still relatively thin (at time of writing) but the nucleus of a good team is there, so with a few additions a top-six finish once again will be the target.
Promoted: Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Aston Villa.
Relegated: Sheffield United, Barnsley, Burton Albion.
• Sheffield United
Main signings Richard Stearman, John Lundstram, Enda Stevens, Nathan Thomas, Ched Evans, George Baldock, Jamal Blackman (loan)
Main departures: Stefan Scougall, Marc McNulty
Fans’ expectation: The Championship’s finances have changed beyond recognition since Sheffield United were last in the division but a combination of shrewd-management and momentum could see them have a Preston-esque campaign this time.
Promoted: Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, Fulham.
Relegated: Queens Park Rangers, Burton Albion, Barnsley
• Sheffield Wednesday
Main signings: George Boyd
Main departures: Vincent Sasso, Darryl Lachman, Modou Sougou, Claude Dielna, Urby Emanuelson.
Fans’ expectation: A third successive promotion push. Having missed out on going up in the most heartbreaking of fashions, Wednesdayites will be hoping, in an ideal world, the team can avoid the play-off lottery and mount a serious top-two challenge.
Promoted: Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday.
Relegated: Millwall, Bolton, Burton
• Sunderland AFC
Main signings: Aiden McGeady, Tyias Browning (loan), Brendan Galloway (loan), James Vaughan, Lewis Grabban (loan), Jason Steele.
Main departures: Jermain Defoe, Vito Mannone, Jordan Pickford, Fabio Borini, Victor Anichebe, Jan Kirchhoff.
Fans’ expectation: I don’t think Sunderland fans expect the club to storm the Championship given they carry a £110million debt. Fans will of course want Sunderland to be challenging near the top and getting back to winning on a regular basis is the first aim, as the club looks to bounce back from relegation.
Promoted: Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Sunderland.
Relegated: Burton, Millwall, Bolton
Express & Star
Main signings: Ruben Neves, Diogo Jota (loan), John Ruddy, Ryan Bennett, Willy Boly (loan), Barry Douglas, Roderick Miranda, Ruben Vinagre (loan), Will Norris, Phil Ofosu-Ayeh.
Main departures: Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Mike Williamson, George Saville, Silvio, James Henry, Jed Wallace,
Fans’ expectation: Season ticket numbers are up and so are expectations. A top six finish is the target. After a £47m outlay in the past 12 months Wolves can’t afford another season of mediocrity.
Promoted: Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday, Fulham.
Relegated: Burton, Barnsley, QPR.