Championship Preview - Part 1
The 2012-2013 Football League campaign is due to kick-off on Friday. Vital Posh looks at the sides in the Championship and rates their chances for the coming season.
Cardiff City entertain Championship new boys Huddersfield Town on Friday evening in the season launching match.
The Championship seems to get tougher each season and this season is no exception with the likes of Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers and Wolverhampton Wanderers dropping down from the Premiership while some former big names in Charlton, Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield have made the step up from League One.
There are now just six Championship teams who have never played in the Premiership! They are Posh, Brighton and Hove Albion, Bristol City, Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town and Millwall.
It`s bound to be another action packed season with many ups and downs as well as some surprises. Last seasons Premiership sides will all want to bounce back at the first attempt, but as many teams have found out over the years, it`s not that easy!
There will be many battles at the top of the league as well as the bottom but yet again, there won`t be much of a difference between the teams.
Manager: Keith Hill
Nickname: The Tykes
|Lee Collins||Port Vale||£50,000|
Key Player: Former Posh goalkeeper Luke Steele
Chances: Having just avoided relegation last season, Barnsley could yet again struggle to stay in the Championship. Keith Hill has signed some journeymen in an attempt to provide experience, but look where experienced journeymen got Doncaster last season! It could be a long season.
Position Last Season: 21st
Vital Posh Prediction: 23rd
Manager: Lee Clark
Ground: St Andrews
|Darren Ambrose||Crystal Palace||£280,000|
|Ravel Morrison||West Ham||Season Loan|
|Luke Hubbins||AFC Telford||Free|
Key Player: A tough decision as the squad looks strong. Peter Lovenkrands will be vital for scoring the goals but the key player is defender Curtis Davis who could be the difference between an automatic promotion place and a play-off spot.
Chances: Without the distraction of European football this season, the Blues have every chance on improving on their 4th place finish. Some quality players have been added to the squad alongside some unknown quantities. The only doubt is whether new manager Lee Clark can get them playing his style of football and whether it proves to be successful.
Position Last Season: 4th
Vital Posh Prediction: 2nd
Manager: Steve Kean
Ground: Ewood Park
|Paulo Jorge||FC Porto B||Undisclosed|
|Nick Blackman||Sheffield United||Undisclosed|
|Ryan Edwards||Rochdale||6-month Youth Loan|
|Ayegbeni Yakubu||Guangzhou R&F||£1million|
Key Player: Danny Murphy
Chances: Rovers have made some quality signings for the Championship but the pressure will be on manager Steve Kean right from the off. If things don`t go to plan, Kean could be one of the managerial casualties this season. The squad should easily be good enough to finish in the play-offs.
Position Last Season: 19th in Premier League
Vital Posh Prediction: 3rd
Manager: Ian Holloway
Nickname: The Seasiders, Tangerines
Ground: Bloomfield Road
|Jake Caprice||Crystal Palace||Free|
|James Caton||Free Agent||Free|
|Adda Djeziri||Free Agent||Free|
|Tiago Gomes||Free Agent||Free|
|Alberto Noguera||Free Agent||Free|
|Scott Robertson||Dundee United||Free|
|Matt Hill||Sheffield United||Free|
Key Player: Matt Phillips
Chances: No well-known names have arrived at Blackpool so it depends on how well they integrate with the rest of the team and whether they can improve on what they had last season. Made the play-offs last season but could miss out this time around.
Position Last Season: 5th
Vital Posh Prediction: 8th
Manager: Owen Coyle
Nickname: The Trotters
Ground: Reebok Stadium
|Benik Afobe||Arsenal||Season Loan|
|Andy Lonergan||Leeds United||£280,000|
|Joe McKee||Free Agent||Free|
|Matt Mills||Leicester City||£2.2million|
|Tom Eckersley||Accrington Stanley||Free|
|Jussi Jaaskelainen||West Ham United||Free|
|Tope Obadeyi||Rio Ave||Free|
Key Player: Matt Mills
Chances: Dropping down to the Championship has seen a bit of a clear out with just a small number of players coming in through the door. A good solid squad should easily manage the weekly grind and make it back to the Premiership.
Position Last Season: 18th in the Premier League
Vital Posh Prediction: Champions
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION
Manager: Gus Poyet
Nickname: The Seagulls
Ground: American Express Community Stadium
|Wayne Bridge||Manchester City||Loan|
|Andrew Crofts||Norwich City||Undisclosed|
|Tomasz Kuszczak||Manchester United||Free|
|Jake Forster-Caskey||Oxford United||Loan|
|Yaser Kasim||Luton Town||Loan|
Key Player: Vicente
Chances: Surprised many last season by sustaining their form throughout the season. They have an excellent manager in Poyet who is building an experienced team. Brought in Kuszczak as he looks to sort out his goalkeeping problems but having seen him perform for Watford in the latter half of last season, he may not be the solution.
Position Last Season: 10th
Vital Posh Prediction: 11th
Manager: Derek McInnes
Nickname: The Robins
Ground: Ashton Gate
|Paul Anderson||Nottingham Forest||Free|
|Greg Cunningham||Manchester City||Undisclosed|
|Tom Heaton||Cardiff City||Free|
|Jody Morris||St Johnstone||Free|
|Danny Ball||Bath City||Free|
|Jamal Campbell-Ryce||Notts County||Free|
|David Clarkson||Bristol Rovers||Free|
|Marlon Jackson||Hereford United||Free|
Key Player: Albert Adomah
Chances: Struggled last season despite a change of manager. Very few players have arrived in the summer and it`s hard to see how they will avoid relegation.
Position Last Season: 20th
Vital Posh Prediction: 24th
Manager: Eddie Howe
Nickname: The Clarets
Ground: Turf Moor
|Joseph Mills||Reading||Season Loan|
|George Porter||Leyton Orient||Undisclosed|
|Jason Shackell||Derby County||£1.1million|
Key Player: Charlie Austin
Chances: Will miss Rodriguez and will have to rely greatly on Austin to bag the goals. Howe possesses a good young squad and if they can find some consistency, they should improve on last seasons position.
Position Last Season: 13th
Vital Posh Prediction: 9th
Manager: Malky Mackay
Nickname: The Bluebirds
Ground: Cardiff City Stadium
|Kim Bo-kyung||Cerezo Osaka||£2.6million|
|Filip Kiss||Slovan Bratislava||£500,000|
|Joe Lewis||Peterborough United||Free|
|Jordon Mutch||Birmingham City||£1.1million|
|Tom Heaton||Bristol City||Free|
Key Player: Peter Whittingham
Chances: Have been there or there abouts for a number of years but could find it tougher this season. Despite adding a couple of decent players they could come undone if Joe Lewis claims the number one jersey!
Position Last Season: 6th
Vital Posh Prediction: 10th
Manager: Chris Powell
Nickname: The Addicks
Ground: The Valley
|Conor Gough||Bristol Rovers||Free|
Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips
Chances: Chris Powell will hope they continue the momentum from winning League One last season. Very few players have arrived as Powell is putting his faith in the players that got him promotion. This could be costly as Peterborough United found out three seasons ago when they only made a handful of signings as Darren Ferguson kept faith with his existing players. Posh came last in that disastrous season!
Position Last Season: 1st in League One
Vital Posh Prediction: 18th
Manager: Dougie Freedman
Nickname: The Eagles
Ground: Selhurst Park
|Aaron Martin||Southampton||Season Loan|
|Peter Ramage||Free Agent||Free|
|Aaron Wilbraham||Norwich City||Free|
|Darren Ambrose||Birmingham City||£280,000|
|Anthony Gardner||Sheff Wednesday||Free|
|Antonio Pedroza||Monarcas Morelia||Undisclosed|
Key Player: Wilfred Zaha
Chances: Done well to keep hold of Zaha but have lost some influential players. Could struggle this season but they should just escape the clutches of relegation.
Position Last Season: 17th
Vital Posh Prediction: 20th
Manager: Nigel Clough
Nickname: The Rams
Ground: Pride Park
|Paul Green||Leeds United||Free|
|Chris Maguire||Sheff Wednesday||£277,200|
|Lee Croft||Oldham||Season Loan|
|Callum Ball||Coventry||Season Loan|
Key Player: Paul Coutts
Chances: Were comfortable mid-table last season and can expect more of the same.
Position Last Season: 12th
Vital Posh Prediction: 12th
All odds obtained from Paddy Power
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