Football – Championship 2015/16 Preview

Another football season rolls around. There seems to be a lot of Premiership predictions floating about (yawn! everybody’s picking Chelsea to win it) but very few in-depth Championship previews.

The betting market is largely unsurprising with the exception of Bolton being such long odds. The favoured teams are those that narrowly missed out (or, in the case of Derby bottled it) last season and those coming down fro the Premiership.

Odds to win the league (courtesy of SkyBet)

Middlesbrough 9/2
Derby 11/2
Hull 9/1
Brentford 10/1
Burnley 11/1
Wolves 12/1
Q.P.R. 12/1
Ipswich 16/1
Brighton 20/1
Sheffield Wednesday 22/1
Bristol City 22/1
Fulham 28/1
Nottingham Forest 33/1
Leeds 33/1
Cardiff 40/1
Blackburn 40/1
Reading 40/1
Huddersfield 50/1
MK Dons 50/1
Preston 50/1
Birmingham 66/1
Bolton 80/1
Charlton 100/1
Rotherham 100/1

There’s a tendency to predict that those teams coming up from the division below will carry good form into the new season and hold their own. In recent seasons Norwich City and Southampton have managed to parlay that into promotion at there first attempt. More recently though, Doncaster and Rotherham have struggled. It seems optimistic to suggest that all 3 promoted teams will fare well – having MK Dons and Preston North End at 50/1 whilst Charlton Athletic are priced at 100/1 seems odd odds to me.

Key Transfer Activity

Boro have added two expensive signings in Stewart Downing (5.5m) and Christian Stuani (2.8m). They’ve lost Tomlin to the Premier League and Patrick Bamford was a key loanee last season. They’ve strengthened.

Derby have made loan signings Tom Ince and Darren Bent permanent. Andreas Wiemann replaces Jamie Ward in the squad and they’ve moved to revamp the back 5 by adding keeper Scott Carson and defensive experience with Alex Pearce, Chris Baird and Jason Shackell. No spectacular signing to rival that of Boro, but all good acquisitions. They’re my favourites to win the league.

The relegated trio of teams are all rebuilding. Burnley have lost two stars Danny Ings and Kieran Trippier, QPR have managed to offload Shaun Wright-Phillips, Adel Taraabt and Bobby Zamora whilst Hull have managed to recoup 15m for James Chester and Robbie Brady. By comparison all the players coming into these clubs are younger, cheaper, less proven. Difficult to see how the new first teams will gel. Burnley managed top retain the basis of their team, QPR and Hull could be disasters.

Two clubs have gone nuts hoovering up unknown foreign players: Brentford & Sheffield Wednesday. They’ve both got new men at the helm too. Good luck with that high-risk strategy…

At the bottom of the table Rotherham appear to have acquired a whole new first team. Preston have secured some loans on permanent deals. Bristol City have lost a key striker from last year and replaced him with an expensive french signing. French! Again, all the luck in the world with that… MK Dons have added experience in the form of Matthew Upson and his dodgy knees and a couple of signings from Madrid.

Most intriuging signing for me is Brighton’s capture of Scot Jack Harper from Real Madrid’s youth ranks,

The clubs who look to have weaker squads than last time round: Fulham, Cardiff City and Reading. Fulham shouldn’t have the massive handicap they had last season when they took 1 point from their first 8 games.

If I have to tip the top 2 for promotion, I’d plump for Derby County and Wolves. Wolves have a manager who knows this league, the team had strong spells last season, added Afobe late in the season and weren’t far away from the play-offs. They’ve lost Sako, but added Conor COady who should add strength to their midfield.

For the play-offs I’d tip Boro and Burnley. For the other two slots, well it could be any of a dozen or so clubs – this league is that close (or random, if you prefer).

Brentford surely can’t repeat the achievements last time out and I can only see Blackburn going backwards too.

Candidates for relegation… I’d have Rotherham, Charlton Athletic, MK Dons, Reading, Huddersfield, Cardiff and Preston.

The transfer window is till open though, so maybe some clubs still have some budget to splash on a key signing or two.

I’m looking forward to reading this post back in 8 months and seeing just how wrong I was!

Birmingham City
Nikola Zigic (Released)
Darren Randolph [Birmingham – West Ham] Free

Jacques Maghoma [unattached – Birmingham]
Adam Legzdins [Leyton Orient – Birmingham] Free
Jon Toral [Arsenal – Birmingham] Loan
Maikel Kieftenbeld [Groningen – Birmingham] Undisclosed
Tomasz Kuszczak [Wolves – Birmingham] Free
Alex Jones [West Brom – Birmingham] Free

Blackburn Rovers
Jake Kean [Blackburn – Norwich] Free
Rudy Gestede [Blackburn – Aston Villa] £6m
David Dunn [Blackburn – Oldham] Free
Tom Cairney [Blackburn – Fulham] £3m
Joshua King [Blackburn – Bournemouth] £1.5m
Luke Varney [released]

Nathan Delfouneso [Blackpool – Blackburn] Free
Danny Guthrie [Reading – Blackburn] Free
Bangaly-Fode Koita [Caen – Blackburn] Free
Sacha Petschi [CA Bastia – Blackburn] Free

Bolton Wanderers
Craig Davies [Bolton – Wigan] Free
Alex Baptiste [Bolton – Middlesbrough] £750,000
Matt Mills [Bolton – Nottingham Forest] Free
Andy Lonergan [Bolton – Fulham] Free
Adam Bogdan [Bolton – Liverpool] Free
Jermaine Beckford [Bolton – Preston] Free
Keith Andrews [released]
Eidur Gudjonsson [Bolton – Shijiazhuang Ever Bright] Free

Prince-Desir Gouano [Atalanta – Bolton] Loan
Derik Osede [Real Madrid – Bolton] Free
Stephen Dobbie [Crystal Palace – Bolton] Free
Lawrie Wilson [Charlton – Bolton] Free
Ben Amos [Manchester United – Bolton] Free
Gary Madine [Sheffield Wednesday – Bolton] Free

Stuart Dallas [Brentford – Leeds] Undisclosed
Jonathan Douglas [Brentford – Ipswich] Free
Moses Odubajo [Brentford – Hull] £3.5m
Nick Proschwitz [Brentford – Paderborn] Free transfer
Will Grigg [Brentford – Wigan Athletic] £1m

Lasse Vibe [IFK Goteborg – Brentford] Undisclosed
Philipp Hofmann [Kaiserslautern – Brentford] Undisclosed
Josh McEachran [Chelsea – Brentford] £750,000
Andreas Bjelland [FC Twente – Brentford] £2.1m
Konstantin Kerschbaumer [FC Admira Wacker Modling – Brentford] Undisclosed
Akaki Gogia [Hallescher FC – Brentford] Free
Yoann Barbet [Chamois Niortais – Brentford] Undisclosed

Brighton & Hove Albion

Craig Mackail-Smith [Brighton – Luton] Free
Aaron Hughes [Brighton – Melbourne City] Free

Bobby Zamora [QPR – Brighton] Free
Jack Harper [Real Madrid – Brighton] Undisclosed
Vahid Hambo [FC Inter Turku – Brighton] Undisclosed
Niki Maenpaa [VVV-Venlo – Brighton] Free
Gaetan Bong [Wigan – Brighton] Free
Tomer Hemed [Almeria – Brighton] Undisclosed
Liam Rosenior [Hull – Brighton] Free

Bristol City
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas [Bristol City – QPR] Free
Wade Elliot [retired]
Greg Cunningham [Bristol City – Preston] Undisclosed

Callum Robinson [Aston Villa – Bristol City] Loan
Ryan Fredericks [Tottenham – Bristol City] Undisclosed
Jonathan Kodjia [Angers SCO – Bristol City] £2.1m

Ross Wallace [Burnley – Sheffield Wednesday] Free
Jason Shackell [Burnley – Derby] Undisclosed
Kieran Trippier [Burnley – Tottenham] Undisclosed
Danny Ings [Burnley – Liverpool] TBC
Steven Reid [retired]

Renny Smith [Arsenal – Burnley] Free
Luke Hendrie [Derby – Burnley] Free
Jelle Vossen [Genk – Burnley] Undisclosed
Tendayi Darikwa [Chesterfield – Burnley] Undisclosed
Chris Long [Everton – Burnley] Undisclosed
Matthew Lowton [Aston Villa – Burnley] Undisclosed

Cardiff City
Adam Le Fondre [Cardiff – Wolves] Loan
Kevin McNaughton [Cardiff – Wigan] Free
Tom Adeyemi [Cardiff – Leeds] Loan
Kevin Theophile-Catherine [Cardiff – St. Etienne] £1.4m
Nicky Maynard [released]

Sammy Ameobi [Newcastle – Cardiff] Loan
Semi Ajayi [Arsenal – Cardiff] Free

Charlton Athletic
Rhoys Wiggins [Charlton – Sheffield Wednesday] Undisclosed
Lawrie Wilson [Charlton – Bolton] Free
Simon Church [Charlton – MK Dons] Free
Joe Gomez [Charlton – Liverpool] £3.5m
Tal Ben Haim [Charlton – Maccabi Tel Aviv] Free
Chris Eagles [released]

Simon Makienok [Palermo – Charlton] Loan
Naby Sarr [Sporting Lisbon – Charlton] Undisclosed
Zakarya Bergdich [Real Valladolid – Charlton] Undisclosed
Cristian Ceballos [Tottenham – Charlton] Free
Ahmed Kashi [Metz – Charlton] Undisclosed
El Hadji Ba [Sunderland – Charlton] Undisclosed
Patrick Bauer [Maritimo – Charlton] Undisclosed

Derby County
Jamie Ward (Forward, Forest, free)
Connor Sammon (Forward, Sheff Utd, loan)
John Eustace [released]
Zac Whitbread [released]

Tom Ince (Forward, Hull, 4.75m)
Jason Shackell (Defender, Burnley, undisclosed)
Chris Baird (Defender, Werst Brom, free)
Andreas Weimann (Forward, Aston VIlla, ?)
Scott Carson (Goalkeeper, Wigan, Undisclosed)
Darren Bent [Aston Villa – Derby] Free
Alex Pearce [Reading – Derby] Free

Patrick Roberts [Fulham – Manchester City] Undisclosed
Bryan Ruiz [Fulham – Sporting Lisbon] Undisclosed
Maarten Stekelenburg [Fulham – Southampton]
Kostas Mitroglou [Fulham – Benfica] Loan

Sakari Mattila [Aalesunds – Fulham] Undisclosed
Jamie O’Hara [Blackpool – Fulham] Free
Jazz Richards [Swansea – Fulham] Undisclosed
Luke Garbutt [Everton – Fulham] Loan
Andy Lonergan [Bolton – Fulham] Free
Ben Pringle [Rotherham – Fulham] Free
Tom Cairney [Blackburn – Fulham] Undisclosed

Huddersfield Town
Oscar Gobern [Huddersfield – QPR] Free
Conor Coady [Huddersfield – Wolves] £2m
Anthony Gerrard [released]

Martin Cranie [Barnsley – Huddersfield] Free
Kyle Dempsey [Carlisle – Huddersfield] Undisclosed
Jason Davidson [West Brom – Huddersfield] Free
Dean Whitehead [Middlesbrough – Huddersfield] Free
Jordy Hiwula [Manchester City – Huddersfield] Undisclosed

Hull City
Paul McShane
[Hull – Reading] Free
Robbie Brady [Hull – Norwich] £7m
James Chester [Hull – West Brom] £8m
Thomas Ince [Hull – Derby] £4.75m
Stephen Quinn [Hull – Reading] Free
Liam Rosenior [Hull – Brighton] Free
Steve Harper [released]
Yannick Sagbo [released]

Chuba Akpom [Arsenal – Hull] Loan
Moses Odubajo [Brentford – Hull] £3.5m
Ryan Taylor [Newcastle – Hull] Free
Isaac Hayden [Arsenal – Hull] Loan
Sam Clucas [Chesterfield – Hull City] £1.3m

Ipswich Town

Paul Anderson [Ipswich – Bradford] Free
Noel Hunt [Ipswich – Southend] Free
Darren Ambrose [Ipswich – Colchester] Free
Tyrone Mings [Ipswich – Bournemouth] Undisclosed
Stephen Hunt [released]

Jonathan Douglas [Brentford – Ipswich] Free
Giles Coke [Sheffield Wednesday – Ipswich] Free
Larsen Toure [Arles-Avignon – Ipswich] Free
Jonas Knudsen [Esbjerg – Ipswich] Undisclosed
Ryan Fraser [Bournemouth – Ipswich] Loan
Brett Pitman [Bournemouth – Ipswich] Undisclosed

Leeds United:
Steve Morison [Leeds – Millwall] Undisclosed
Billy Sharp [Leeds – Sheffield United] Undisclosed
Rodolph Austin [released]
Michael Tonge [released]

Stuart Dallas [Brentford – Leeds] Undisclosed
Ross Turnbull [Barnsley – Leeds] Free
Tom Adeyemi [Cardiff – Leeds] Loan
Chris Wood [Leicester – Leeds] Undisclosed
Sol Bamba [Palermo – Leeds] Undisclosed
Lee Erwin [Motherwell – Leeds] Undisclosed

Lee Tomlin (Bournemouth 3.5m)
Dean Whitehead (Huddersfield, free)
Patrick Bamford (Loan ended)

Diego Fabrini (Watford, loan),
Stuart Downing (West Ham, 5.5m),
Tomas Kalas (Chelsea, loan)
Jack Stephens (Defender, Southampton, loan)
Alex Baptiste (Defender, Bplton, free)
Cristhian Stuani [Espanyol – Middlesbrough] £2.8m

MK Dons
Tom Hitchcock [MK Dons – Stevenage] Loan
George Baldock [MK Dons – Oxford] Loan

Sergio Aguza [Real Madrid – MK Dons] Free
Matthew Upson [Leicester – MK Dons] Free
Sam Gallagher [Southampton – MK Dons] Loan
Rob Hall [Bolton – MK Dons] Loan
Cristian Benavente [Real Madrid Castilla – MK Dons] Free
Joe Walsh [Crawley – MK Dons] Undisclosed
Simon Church [Charlton – MK Dons] Free
Cody Cropper [Southampton – MK Dons] Free
Dale Jennings [Barnsley – MK Dons] Free

Nottingham Forest
Greg Halford [Nottingham Forest – Rotherham] Free
Danny Collins [Nottingham Forest – Rotherham] Free
Jamie Mackie [Nottingham Forest – QPR] Free

Jamie Ward [Derby – Nottingham Forest] Free
Matt Mills [Bolton – Nottingham Forest] Free
Daniel Pinillos [Cordoba – Nottingham Forest] Free
Ben Hamer [Leicester – Nottingham Forest] Loan
Tim Erlandsson [Halmstads – Nottingham Forest] Undisclosed

Sylvan Ebanks-Blake [Preston – Chesterfield] Free
Kevin Davies [released]

Marnick Vermijl [Sheffield Wednesday – Preston] Loan
Jordan Pickford [Sunderland – Preston] Loan
Will Keane [Manchester United – Preston] Loan
Paul Gallagher [Leicester – Preston] Free
Jermaine Beckford [Bolton – Preston] Free
Greg Cunningham [Bristol CIty – Preston] Undisclosed

Danny Guthrie [Reading – Blackburn] Free
Adam Federici [Reading – Bournemouth] Free
Alex Pearce [Reading – Derby] Free
Jem Karacan [Reading – Galatasaray] Free
Stephen Kelly [released]

Andrew Taylor [Wigan – Reading] Loan
Ali Al-Habsi [Wigan – Reading] Free
Jonathan Bond [Watford – Reading] Undisclosed
Paul McShane [Hull – Reading] Free
Stephen Quinn [Hull – Reading] Free
Orlando Sa [Legia Warsaw – Reading] Undisclosed

Ben Pringle [Rotherham – Fulham] Free
Kári Árnason [Rotherham – Malmo] Undisclosed

Lewis Buxton [Sheffield Wednesday – Rotherham] Free
Joe Newell [Peterborough – Rotherham] Undisclosed
Chris Maguire [Sheffield Wednesday – Rotherham] Free
Grant Ward [Tottenham – Rotherham] Loan
Greg Halford [Nottingham Forest – Rotherham] Free
Danny Collins [Nottingham Forest – Rotherham] Free
Tom Thorpe [Manchester United – Rotherham] Free
Emmanuel Ledesma [Middlesbrough – Rotherham] Free
Aidy White [Leeds – Rotherham] Free
Joe Mattock [Sheffield Wednesday – Rotherham] Free

Queens Park Rangers
Grant Hall [Tottenham – QPR] Undisclosed
Oscar Gobern [Huddersfield – QPR] Free
Paul Konchesky [Leicester – QPR] Loan
Sebastian Polter [FSV Mainz – QPR] Undisclosed
James Perch [Wigan – QPR] Undisclosed
Tjaronn Chery [FC Groningen – QPR] Undisclosed
Tyler Blackwood [unattached – QPR]
Ben Gladwin [Swindon – QPR] Undisclosed
Massimo Luongo [Swindon – QPR] Undisclosed
Jamie Mackie [Nottingham Forest – QPR] Free
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas [Bristol City – QPR] Free

Shaun Wright-Phillips [QPR – New York Red Bulls] Free
Bobby Zamora [QPR – Brighton] Free
Alex McCarthy [QPR – Crystal Palace] £3.5m
Steven Caulker [QPR – Southampton] Loan
Joey Barton [released]
Rio Ferdinand [retired]
Richard Dunne [released]

Sheffield Wednesday
Giles Coke [Sheffield Wednesday – Ipswich] Free
Gary Madine [Sheffield Wednesday – Bolton] Free
Chris Maguire [Sheffield Wednesday – Rotherham] Free
Chris Kirkland [released]
Kamil Zayatte [Sheffield Wednesday – Al-Raed] Free

Modou Sougou [Marseille – Sheffield Wednesday] Free
Rhoys Wiggins [Charlton – Sheffield Wednesday] Undisclosed
Lucas Joao [Nacional – Sheffield Wednesday] Undisclosed
Lewis McGugan [Watford – Sheffield Wednesday] Undisclosed
Alex Lopez [Celta Vigo – Sheffield Wednesday] Loan
Ross Wallace [Burnley – Sheffield Wednesday] Free
Marco Matias [Nacional – Sheffield Wednesday] Undisclosed
Vincent Sasso [Braga – Sheffield Wednesday] Loan
Darryl Lachman [FC Twente – Sheffield Wednesday] Undisclosed

Wolverhampton Wanderers
Bakary Sako [Wolves – Crystal Palace] Free
Sam Ricketts [Wolves – Coventry] Free
Tomasz Kuszczak [Wolves – Birmingham] Free
Leon Clarke [Wolves – Bury] Free
Kevin Doyle [Bolton – Colorado Rapids] Free

Adam Le Fondre [Cardiff – Wolves] Loan
Conor Coady [Huddersfield – Wolves] £2m
Jed Wallace [Portsmouth – Wolves] Undisclosed


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