Championship Season Preview (2/4)

by David Hall

This Championship season is gearing up to be a blockbuster of a season. Here I carry on my look at the clubs in the npower Championship.

(Transfers correct as of 1st August)

Derby County

In:
James Bailey (from Crewe Alexandra) undisclosed, 3-year deal
John Brayford (from Crewe Alexandra) undisclosed, 3-year deal
Tomasz Cywka (from Wigan Athletic) free, 2-year deal
David Martin (from Millwall) free, 2-year deal
Gareth Roberts (from Doncaster Rovers) free, 2-year deal
Out:
Paul Connolly (to Leeds United) free
Lee Croft (to Huddersfield Town) 6-month loan
Mark Dudley (to St Patrick’s Athletic) free
Alex Forde (unattached) released
Lee Hendrie (unattached) released
Jermaine Johnson (to Stafford Rangers) free
James McEveley (to Barnsley) free
Henrik Ojamaa (to Alemannia Aachenc) free
Lewis Price (to Crystal Palace) free
Gary Teale (to Sheffield Wednesday) free

Where other club chairman would of sacked him by now, the Derby County board have stuck by Nigel Clough, and a upturn is form is there for all to see. Clough’s has a long term vision for the club, and his signings reflect that. Still too soon to be challenging for play-off places but moving in the direction they want to be.

Doncaster Rovers

In:
George Friend (from Wolves) free, 2-year deal
Simon Gillett (from Southampton) free, 2-year deal
Josh Payne (from West Ham united) free, 6-month deal
Billy Sharp (from Sheffield United) £1.15m, 3-year deal
Out:
Charles Fisher (unattached) released
Lewis Guy (to Milton Keynes Dons) free
Paul Heffernan (to Sheffield Wednesday) free
Sean McDaid (to Carlisle United) free
Gareth Roberts (to Derby County) free
Ben Smith (unattached) released
John Spicer (to Notts County) free

In Sean O’Driscoll, Doncaster Rovers have one of the most in-demand manager in the Football League, he is always linked to the available jobs in the Championship and the Premier League, his work at Doncaster Rovers has not gone un-noticed. Doncaster Rovers have always  finished higher than the season before, and if they sort out their away form. They can carry on improving.

Hull City

In:
James Harper (from Sheffield United) free, 2-year deal
Nolberto Solano (from Leicester City) undisclosed, 1-year deal
Out:
Stephen Hunt (to Wolves) undisclosed
Dean Marney (to Burnley) undisclosed
Bernard Mendy (unattached) released
Steven Mouyokolo (to Wolves) undisclosed

Relegation has hit Hull hard, administration hanging over their head. 3 big names leaving to balance the books. The Premier League is giving their first installment of the parachute payments to pay off debts to other clubs. New manager Nigel Pearson has a massive job on his hands. He achieved a play-off berth with Leicester, and if he can get out performances from the players, another extended season is a distinct possibility.

Ipswich Town

Conor Hourihane (from Sunderland) undisclosed, 1-year deal
Mark Kennedy (from Cardiff City) £75k, 2-year deal
Out:
Pim Balkestein (unattached) released
Alex Bruce (to Leeds United) undisclosed
Kevin Lisbie (to Millwall) season-long loan
Liam Trotter (to Millwall) free
Ed Upson (to Yeovil Town) free
David Wright (to Crystal Palace) free
Richard Wright (unattached) released

Roy Keane needs a better season than the last or he will be out of a job. He promised promotion last season and delivered a season where they flirted with relegation and accumulated 20 draws. The rich owners have been less inclined to give Roy money, lack of confidence? Anything less than promotion will make this season a disaster for the Tractor boys.

Leeds United

In:
Federico Bessone (from Swansea City) free, 3-year deal
Alex Bruce (from Ipswich Town) undisclosed, 2-year deal
Neill Collins (from Preston North End) undisclosed, 3-year deal
Paul Connolly (from Derby County) free, 3-year deal
Billy Paynter (from Swindon Town) free, 3-year deal
Lloyd Sam (from Charlton Athletic) free, 2-year deal
Kasper Schmeichel (from Notts County) free, 2-year deal
Out:
Casper Ankergren (unattached) released
Jermaine Beckford (to Everton) free
Paul Dickov (to Oldham Athletic) free
Tom Elliott (to Rotherham United) 6-month loan
Rui Marques (unattached) released
Andrew Milne (unattached) released

Leeds are back and heading in the right direction. With an ambitious manager who has made some quality free transfers. The acquisitions of Kasper Schmeichel, a shot stopper with Premier League experience, Billy Painter and Lloyd Sam set League 1 alight last season. The loss of Jermaine Beckford will be felt, but Leeds shouldn’t be aiming too high too soon. If you offered Leeds’ fans a hassle-free season in mid-table. They would snap your hand off.

Leicester City

In:
Tom Kennedy (from Rochdale) free, 3-year deal
Miguel Vitor (from Benfica) season-long loan
Out:
Astrit Ajdarević (to Örebro SK) free
Wayne Brown (to Preston North End) free
Robbie Burns (unattached) released
Alex Cisak (unattached) released
Stephen Clemence (retired)
Billy Kee (to Torquay United) free
Yann Kermogant (to AC Arles Avignon) season-long loan
Carl Pentney (unattached) released
Levi Porter (unattached) released
Nolberton Solano (to Hull City) undisclosed
James Wesolowski (to Peterborough United) undisclosed

With the management uncertainty at Hull, it had a knock on effect onto Leicester City, dealing with rumour surrounding Nigel Pearson. With him gone, Paolo Sousa is now on his 3rd Championship club. The play-off semi finalists have retained the core of the team, Sousa plays attractive football which will go down well with the Leicester faithful. Play-off contenders once more.

Look out for part 3 where I take a look at Middlesbrough, Millwall, Norwich City, Nottingham Forest, Portsmouth and Preston North End.

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