England Championship 2012-13 Part 3
We continue our rundown of the England Championship teams and are near the end. We start off with new boys Huddersfield as we go teams H-M.
Huddersfield (Div 1 four years) Finally managed promotion after several years of near misses. Changed managers mid-season as Lee Clark headed to Birmingham, Simon Grayson took over and steared them into the playoffs and ultimately promotion. The season hinges on the future of hotshot Jordan Rhodes, subject to a £5 million bid from Blackburn at the time of writing. Manager Grayson says the Scotsman is going nowhere but any chance of a high finish lies with him staying at the Yorkshire side.
Squad Analysis - Grayson has a been a busy man over the summer with plenty of movement on the transfer market. 8 players have left and amongst them two players moved to Scotland Prem but the rest have left for the lower leagues. Replacements are in and they are mostly Championship quality players with Adam Clayton, Keith Southern and Joel Lynch. The squad is filled with determined players and young ones keen to prove themselves. The defence is held together by lynchpin Peter Clarke, a really experienced player who will adapt to this level. Strike duo Rhodes and Novak terrorized league 1 with 57 goals between them. Rhodes was on fire with 40 goals scored in all competitions and Huddersfield know how vital he is.
Manager - Simon Grayson has over 7 years experience as a manager and the majority of that time was spent in the Championship with Blackpool and Leeds. Plays a conservative game and favours 4-4-2. Will hope his players can step up and adapt early to the higher level.
Championship Odds 41.0. Promotion 15.0. Relegation 6.0 - Top Scorer:17.0
Hull (8th/11th/Prem/Prem) Hull City had a strange year in which they improved football wise and results were better than the previous year yet they still happened to have two different managers in the season. Ending up with Steve Bruce becoming the third in a year when he took his turn in the hotseat in June. Club legend and local lad Nick Barmby was sacked after giving an interview in which he slagged the owners.
Squad Analysis:Hull have a very capable squad, its packed with Premiership experience and also some exciting younger players. Looking at the the new players brought in there are impressive players who will greatly enhance the squad. Sone Aluko on the wing, Abdy Faye in centre, Ben Amos is a decent keeper and Nick Proschwitz especially could be good. He's a striker with an excellent record, and has played accross Europe in some top leagues. These players are added to a squad that includes Olifjana, Hobbs, Fryatt and McShane who are all good Championship players. Hull should progress and could make at least the playoffs.
Manager - Steve Bruce is a manager who likes to do things his own way, he has added players he knows and is still looking to bring in a few others in Elmohammady from Sunderland and a striker. The forward position is a must and he has been on record saying he needs to change the style of play to suit the players he has and favours a more direct approach. Less possession football and more hitting the front man. Bruce favoured the 4-4-1-1 at Sunderland but is likely to change formation for the Hull job to suit.
Championship Odds:34.0. Promotion Odds:13.0. Relegation:11.0 - Top Scorer: N.Proschwitz 34.0.
Ipswich (15th/13th/15th/9th) Ipswich have been in the Championship doldrums for the last few years. Like many other teams relegated from the money laden Premiership they have endured administration and have scaled down their transfers and squad size. Managers have come and gone but they have a decent one now in Paul Jewell. Fans want an improvement on recent years and it should be a very difficult task for Ipswich as again their squad is threadbare and does not look like any additions will be made.
Squad Analysis - Ipswich have a few decent players but not enough quality in the starting eleven. The defence is weak with Carlos Edwards and Luke Chamberlain not a convincing partnership, left back Aaron Cresswell however was a revelation last year and has become a serious target for Aston Villa. Both clubs are a few millions apart in valuations but Ipswich will struggle to replace the youngster if he leaves. Midfielder Jimmy Bullard has been frozen out due to his high wages and lack of playing time. Michael Chopra, Nathan Ellington and Jason Scotland are all very good players at this level and is a strikeforce that gives you goals.
Manager - Paul Jewell is an honest and hardworking manager from the old school. Has came out and publicly barracked his players for inept defensive perfomances in pre-season. He is a good motivator and man manager. Is obviously struggling at Ipswich to attract any type of players and knows he has to sell to bring in. Bullard has been frozen out as the club try to get rid and save on his massive wages, and Cresswell may leave as the club cash in on their most saleable asset. Jewell tinkered with formations throughout the season but seemed to settle on 4-4-1-1 but dont be surprised if he changes it again come season start.
Championship Odds: 41.0. Promotion Odds:10.0. Relegation:11.0. Top Scorer:M.Chopra 26.0
Leeds (13th/7th/League 1/League 1) Leeds have come a long way since a Champions League semi final appearance against AC Milan. After numerous bad deals and paying ridiculous wages to no mark players they suffered two relegations and went to League 1. Eventually fighting their way back into the Championship they find themselves in a similar situation to either Premiership cast offs. Struggling with debt and having to start from scratch.
Team Analysis - Coach Warnock reckons they only need a striker and a winger but he seems to be talking to a brick wall as owner Bates says no money is available unless sales are made, Warnock has transfer listed Connoly,Rabchuka, Paynter and Nunez but is still waiting for offers. Warnock has already started the cleansing process at the club as he gets rid of players he doesn't like or think will fit into his gameplan. He’s brought in Pearce, Kenny and Drury and a defensive midfielder in Austin. All to shore up the frankly awful backline. Managing to keep hold of Becchio and McCormack is vital. Jermaine Beckford has been spoken of as a possible signing if the Paynter deal goes through, he could make the difference for Leeds.
Manager - Neil Warnock wins no friends with his aggresive, long ball tactics. He gets under the noses of opposition fans,players and coaching staff. He plays no nonsense football and likes his players to put the boot it. A real throwback coach but one who gets results for sure. Is threatening to leave due to problems with the board but it looks likely he will stay. Prefers 4-4-2 formation but does play defensive formations against the bigger teams.
Championship Odds: 13.0. Promotion Odds 5.00. Relegation Ods 21.0. Top Scorer. L Becchio 34.0.
Leicester (5th/10th/9th/L1) Leicester contest favouritism in a league that is really difficult to get out of. After a best finish of 5th many Leicester fans think their team can make the jump and take automatic promotion. The team has improved on last year and is looking a good bet to go up.
Squad Analysis - Manager Pearson has brought Whitbread from Norwich, Futács from Portsmouth, De Laet and James from Manchester United, Knockaert from Guingamp and most interestingly Jamey Vardy from non league who has an astonishing record of 126 goals in 180 games. It will be interesting to see if he can bridge the gap of 3 leagues. Scoring 31 goals in 36 conference games is a fantastic return and he has been priced up at only 26.0 for top scorer. Fellow strikers include Jermaine Beckford (linked away from Leicester) David Nugent and Futacs. A strong forward line. They have a good keeper in Schmeichal, indeed he took the player of the year award after plenty of epic preformances. The defence is packed with Premiership experience and the midfield looks more impressive with the new additions. Knockaert is a lively wideman and good things are expected of him.
Manager - Nigel Pearson is a hugely respected manager within the game, its a surprise that he returned to Leicester after been shown the door in 2010. Has had success at several clubs. Plays a mainly orthodox 4-4-2 formation and likes to mix it up a bit with passing play but quick balls into the forwards and balls to run onto.
Championship Odds: 9.0. Promotion 3.25. Relegation 41.0 . Top Scorer J.Beckford 21.0
Middlesborough (9th/12th/11th/Prem) Borough are another team to go through a struggle after relegation. Nowhere near pushing for the playoffs over the last few years they did however show signs of turning the corner last season. They have added good players and have a good manager. They do have a good chance of finally returning to the Prem.
Squad Analysis - Have a real cosmapolitan squad with players from all corners of the globe. Borough have a really good 1st eleven and good backup players too. Jonathon Woodgate injury free would be amazing and Mcmanus,Hoyte and Parnaby is a Prem defence. In the middle they have a range of different players. Arca is a club legend and has stuck with them over the barren years, fellow Argentine Ledesma looked really good for Walsall in a handful of games he played there last year, enough to gain a permanent transfer here.They have internationals all across the middle and upfront Emnes,Jutkiewicz and Main are three good forwards.
Manager - Tony Mowbray is a club legend and has managed at the highest level with Celtic and WBA. He likes to play an attacking brand of one touch football, he isnt afraid to try out members of the youth sides either. Does not stick to a favourite formation as he changes it game to game.
Championship Odds:23.0. Promotion Odds:8.0. Relegation Odds 17.0. Top Scorer:M.Emnes 34.0.
Part 4 to follow with the remaining teams M-W.