BLOG | Championship 2016/17 Preview: The Midtable Bores

BLOG | Championship 2016/17 Preview: The Midtable Bores

Today we take a look at those teams destined to finish in mid-table. Again, you won’t be seeing any Wednesday talk here, as we’re all hoping we’re destined for a higher placed finish than this!

These teams will finish from 9-16th place in the league and although one or two of them might peek up at the play-offs or keep a nervous eye on the relegation zone, they pose no real threat or are in no real danger.

Their seasons are destined to finish early and for the final five games or so they’ll have nothing to play for. These are the eight ‘mid-table bores’.

 

Leeds_United_LogoLeeds United
Manager: Garry Monk
Captain: Sol Bamba
Last season: 13th
Top scorer: Chris Wood (13)

First up we have Leeds United.

Cellino has recently done two good things: one – appoint Garry Monk as manager; two – bring in an offer which means that supporters could see a return of up to 50% of what they paid for their season ticket if their side fail to make the playoffs.

The signing of Monk is their most impressive addition of the summer and he has been adding players to his side (Pablo Hernandez is a quality player), all of whom seem to be of a higher calibre than the recent Italians that they have brought in.

However, in a league featuring strong relegated teams and other sides who have at least a season’s more experience of being around the playoffs, I think finishing inside the top ten would be a good achievement for Leeds this season.

There’s a few reasons that the quality players that come through the Leeds academy won’t stick around, one of them being that whilst ever they have Cellino in charge they won’t progress.

Will Cellino see a 9th or 10th placed finish as good enough? Probably not. Will Garry Monk last the season? Probably not. Will Cellino give supporters their money back if they fail to make the playoffs? Probably not.

 

Cardiff_City_Crest_2015Cardiff City
Manager: Paul Trollope
Captain: David Marshall
Last season: 8th
Top scorer: Anthony Pilkington (9)

Last season Cardiff probably overachieved with their brief claw towards the playoffs without ever really threatening – finishing six points behind us and with a far inferior goal difference.

They looked two or three quality players away from challenging for the playoffs and as the league has got stronger I can’t see them finishing as high up as their eighth placed finish last season.

Things could be a lot worse for Cardiff fans though as they seem to finally be winning some ground on getting their identity back – they play in blue again and their badge is no longer taken up by a huge dragon.

The season could still go in any direction for Cardiff but I don’t expect them to be troubling the top or bottom eight.

 

birmingham city logoBirmingham City
Manager: Gary Rowett
Captain: Paul Robinson
Last season: 10th
Top scorer: Clayton Donaldson (11)

It was an interesting season for Birmingham.

At one point they looked to be one of our closest competitors for the final playoff place, but in the end they ended up finishing in tenth place and eleven points behind us. Some people will probably find this unsurprising considering that Jacques Maghoma was one of their key players.

They’ve added a couple of former loanees to their side ready for the new season, the most impressive being Ryan Shotton from Derby.

They’ve made a few failed bids for a certain Che Adams but so far they don’t really look in any shape to be challenging for the playoffs this season.

Unless Birmingham are to add a few quality signings before the transfer window closes then they’ll be lucky to finish as high as their tenth placed finish from last year.

 

Fulham_FC_(shield).svgFulham
Manager: Slaviša Jokanović
Captain: Scott Parker
Last season: 20th
Top scorer: Ross McCormack (21)

Perhaps one of the more surprising inclusions in my mid-table bores, considering they only finished twentieth last season.

Providing Fulham can keep hold of Ross McCormack then I don’t expect them to have a season as disappointing as last time – I’m sure their fans will be hoping I’m right.

They shouldn’t be struggling as badly as they have done considering the size of the club but they need to make Craven Cottage a difficult place for away teams to visit and improve their defence.

Fulham supporters won’t need reminding how poor their defence was last season, with them having the third worst defensive record in the league.

If they can improve upon this and keep hold of Ross McCormack and his goals, then they should be finishing comfortably in mid-table.

 

nottingham forest logoNottingham Forest
Manager: Philippe Montanier
Captain: Chris Cohen
Last season: 16th
Top scorer: Nelson Oliviera (9)

It’s been an interesting summer watching the goings on at Forest around their stadium capacity reductions.

Firstly, their capacity was reduced to zero but now it’s back up to only 20% down from last season.

I’ve not been very impressed with it all as I love a trip to the City Ground and we don’t get many tickets as it is!

They’ve been linked with Frazier Campbell, who would be a great addition for most sides in the Championship. I’m sure that Forest fans are licking their lips at the idea of having Campbell up top alongside Britt Assombalonga and they will have everything crossed that they can keep their number nine fit this season.

I can’t see Forest troubling the top eight but that’s not to say they couldn’t make the top ten; what I am sure of is that they should be improving on their sixteenth placed finish.

 

Wigan athletic logoWigan Athletic
Manager: Gary Caldwell
Captain: Craig Morgan
Last season: League 1 – winners
Top scorer: Will Grigg (25)

What? Wigan not in the top eight? But they have the 25th best player in Europe – Will Grigg?

Yes, Will Grigg was voted as the joint 25th best player in Europe, tied with £100m-valued Paul Pogba. Jokes aside, Wigan and Grigg had a fantastic season in League One, finishing top of the league and Grigg bagging twenty-five goals.

I expect Championship defences to be wary at the very least (if they’re not terrified) and he should continue to score in the Championship.

Wigan have added two quality players in Jake Buxton from Derby and Nick Powell from Manchester United and I don’t expect them to be involved in a relegation scrap.

I think Wigan should finish comfortably midtable, around fourteenth.

 

QPR logoQPR
Manager: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Captain: TBA
Last season: League 1 – winners
Top scorer: Charlie Austin and Tjarron Chery (10)

QPR seem to have begun to act sensibly with their money as this season approaches.

They’ve moved out Matt Phillips and Leroy Fer, recuperating over £10m and have replaced these players with a few Championship quality players.

I think it’s time QPR started trying to rebuild sensibly and they look to be doing that. They finished twelfth last season and I’d expect a similar finish this time round, if they can finish any higher then that’d be a good achievement but they certainly shouldn’t be finishing any lower.

Loftus Road is one of the few Championship grounds that I haven’t visited so I’m hoping to tick it off this year!

 

Wolves logoWolverhampton Wanderers
Manager: Walter Zenga
Captain: Danny Batth
Last season: 14th
Top scorer: Benik Afobe (9)

My final team in the ‘midtable bores’ is Wolves.

The proposed takeover has been in the offing all summer and now it’s finally happened.

I’ve been impressed with their loan signing of Teixeira as well as the other former Benfica winger, Costa.

I think that this season will be a little too early for them to be challenging for the playoffs but you never know if they continue to bring in high quality players before the transfer window closes.

There’s always a gelling period, as we saw last season and considering the strength of the Championship this season, I expect them to finish around 11th place this time. Good luck to Wolves, but remember, it’s Hi Ho Sheffield Wednesday!

 

 

There they are then, the eight ‘midtable bores’. Come back tomorrow for the final part of my Championship preview where I look at the top eight. Find out which teams I’m expecting to get automatic promotion, who I think will make the playoffs, who will just miss out and how I expect Wednesday to get on.

I look forward to reading your comments to let me know what you agree and disagree with!

You can read part one, my focus on eight potential strugglers, by clicking here.

Charlie
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive and @THEsharpey


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