The Championship Season Preview – Part 1

Derby County – Manager: Frank Lampard

Last season: Typical Derby, looked well in the promotion mix mid-way through the season, before stumbling. they did make the playoffs, where they beat Fulham in the first leg before losing the tie at Craven Cottage. We lost 2-1 at home and and 3-0 away.

Their summer: Manager Gary Rowett left for Stoke, making way for the managerial gamble that is Frank Lampard. No major departures, while Jack Marriott’s exploits at Peterborough have earned him a move to Pride Park. Florian Jozefzoon joins from Brentford, while Mason Mount and Harry Wilson have been loaned from Chelsea and Liverpool respectively.

Ex-Wanderers: Jacob Butterfield, who had a short loan spell in the 2012-13 season, is back at Derby having spent last season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday.

Prediction: Should have enough options and depth to be contenders, of course a lot will depend on how the rookie boss copes. 5th.

Hull City – Manager: Nigel Adkins

Last season: Thoroughly disappointing, almost facing back-to-back relegations, but got results at the back end of the season to secure safety with a bit to spare in the end, finishing 18th. Nigel Adkins replaced Leonid Slutsky part-way through the campaign. We lost 4-0 at the KCOM in August before a 1-0 win on New Year’s Day at the Macron.

Their summer: A large turnover with a remodelled defence. Eric Lichaj, a rumoured Bolton target, was among a plethora of signings, including Dutch centre-back Jordy de Wijs.

Ex-Wanderers: Reece Burke, having spent last season on loan with us, made a permanent move to Hull this summer.

Prediction: I would expect them to be a relegation rival. 20th.

Ipswich Town – Manager: Paul Hurst

Last season: Another mid-table finish, 12th to be exact. Mick McCarthy finally had enough and had planned to leave at the end of the season, but ultimately quit before that. We lost at their place and drew at the Macron.

Their summer: Paul Hurst has replaced McCarthy, after nearly taking Shrewsbury up. Defender Trevor Chalobah has been loaned from Chelsea while striker Ellis Harrison was bought from Bristol Rovers.

Ex-Wanderers: None. Joe Garner has been linked with a move to us though. Bartosz Bialkowski meanwhile, is one of the best keepers in the Championship.

Prediction: As much as Ipswich fans wanted change, I don’t see much that will change. 17th.

Leeds United – Manager: Marcelo Bielsa

Last season: They were excellent until Christmas, but fell apart after that. Thomas Christiansen was sacked and Paul Heckingbottom could do little to arrest the slide, finishing 13th in the end. We lost at home (3-2) and at Elland Road (2-1).

Their summer: Hipster icon Marcelo Bielsa was somehow persuaded to take the job. Signings had been slow, but Barry Douglas has come in from Wolves, while Jack Harrison, Lewis Baker and Jamal Blackman have all arrived on loan.

Ex-Wanderers: None

Prediction: Leeds should be worth watching, which is just as well as they will be on TV most weeks. They should do well although they’re a team more likely to fade rather than finish well, based on both Bielsa’s history and Leeds in the last couple of seasons. 6th.

Middlesbrough – Manager: Tony Pulis

Last season: A post-relegation hangover saw new manager Garry Monk depart around the Christmas period. Pulis improved things and sealed a fifth-placed finish, before losing to Villa in the playoffs. We lost 3-0 at the Macron and 2-0 at the Riverside.

Their summer: Not hugely busy, but Aden Flint from Bristol City and Paddy McNair from Sunderland look like two solid signings. Can they keep Adama Traore though?

Ex-Wanderers: None

Prediction: Should be up there. 3rd

Millwall – Manager: Neil Harris

Last season: A remarkable run after Christmas saw Millwall finish eighth on their return to the second tier, the best of all three promoted sides. We drew 1-1 at the Den in August, before losing 2-0 at ours in April.

Their summer: Millwall have put faith in the squad that did so well last season, with defender Murray Wallace the only outfield signing.

Ex-Wanderers: Ben Amos has gone there on loan, and it’s safe to say he won’t be back.

Prediction: Was last season just a good run of form? Whatever it was, I think it’ll be hard for them to replicate that this season. 21st.

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