England League Championship 2012-13 (Part 4)
We finish off the preview of the England Championship with the remaining 6 teams. We will asses their strengths and weaknesses and provide some bookmakers odds.
Millwall (16th/9th/L1/L1) Millwall have consolidated in the division after two tough seasons. They are a limited side but a hard team to play against and The Den is a difficult place to go. Could struggle this season as they are struggling for numbers.
Squad Analysis - The squad is paper thin even after the additions of Leeds’ Maik Taylor, Oldham’s Chris Taylor, Brentford’s Karleigh Osborne and Bournemouth’s Scott Malone. Club captain Paul Robinson is injured and will be a big loss for Millwall. Coach Jackett is seeking a stand in but on a limited budget its proving a difficult task. Darius Henderson is an accomplished target man and leads the line well and forms a great partnership with Andy Keogh. Elsewhere Millwall struggle for quality and need to re-inforce to have a chance of avoiding relegation.
Manager - Kenny Jackett has done an admirable job at Millwall, been the manager there for nearly 5 years now. Respected within the game and has great experience. Has worked wonders on a limited budget for years now and has done his best this year to strengthen. Plays the 4-4-2 mainly but towards the end of the season tried a multitude of different formations without settling on any one.
Championship Odds:67.0. Promotion 21.0. Relegation:4.50. Top Scorer:D.Henderson 51.0.
Nottingham Forest (19th/6th/3rd/19th) Forest had an abysmal season last year finishing only 10 points above the relegation zone. However the fans were to be cheering after the news of a takeover from mega rich Kuwaiti owners the Al Hasawi family.
Squad Analysis - The squad is brimming with talent, Defender Collins,Hardy and Halford have been drafted in and are all good players.Daniel Ayala joins from Norwich, very little experience but a good player. The defence is good but short of playing time together. Harding, Gillett and Halford are good players at this level. The midfield has talent, Moussi and Guediouria are good central midfielders and will be assisted by Andy Reid, Majewski and the extremely talented Lewis McGugen. The forward line is well stocked with frontline pair Blackstock and Tudgay backed up with Derbyshire,Miller and Findley. All five forwards are capable players.
Manager - Sean O'Driscoll was taken on directly by the new Kuwaiti owners. He knows the club having coached here January - May. Had a strange month in which he left for Crawley but only stayed for a month in the close season before leaving. Is a very experienced coach, likes to play a viriety of styles. Will have a job getting all the new faces to gel quickly. Also a lot of these monied owners want instant success so any early season problems could be disastrous for O'Driscoll.
Championship Odds:13.0. Promotion 5.50. Relegation:15.0 - Top Scorer:D Blackstock 34.0
Peterborough (18th/L1/24th/L1) London Road is the place to be for goals! Peterborough matches are known to be goal laden and coach Ferguson style of play gives the opposition chances but his own team know where the net is. They have bounced between the divisions over the years but are confident of staying in the Championship a little longer.
Squad Analyis - Need to re-inforce after a series of injuries,left-back Tommy Rowe (fractured collarbone) pick up a serious injury this summer. Strikers Emile Sinclair and Dave Hibbert, and right-back Craig Alcock have yet to be seen in pre-season friendly action. New signing's already made are Danny Swanson, Michael Bostwick, Nat Knight-Percival, Bobby Olejnik and Nat Mendez-Laing. Swanson is a good player but most anticipated is Michael Bostwick. Cultured midfielder with great passing ability. The team is packed with lower league players who generally make the step up with ease. Peterborough like to shine the rough diamonds and regularly sell on for profit.
Manager - Darren Ferguson is in his second spell at London Road. After two successive promotions he was unfairly sacked after an early season struggle in the championship. Left for Preston were he another struggle and was relieved of duties there too. Signed a long contract on his return to Peterborough. Tries to play expansive football and loves his players to pass and move. Never deviates from a 4-3-1-2 formation with the emphasis on attacking play.
Championship Odds:151.0. Promotion Odds:67.0. Relegation 2.88. Top Scorer:T.Barnett 81.0.
Sheffield Wednesday (L1/L1/22nd/12th) After a few years in league 1 Wednesday return to the 2nd tier with some optimism. With a bit of investment and taking on an excellent manager the fans are flocking back to Hillsborough. Consolidation should be easy but many poeple are tipping the Sheffield side to at least make the playoffs.
Squad Analysis - strengthened in all areas over the summer. In goal by capturing Stephen Bywater he has excellent cover for ex- England keeper Chris Kirkland. Joe Mattock and Kieran Lee have arrived for fullback areas, and the experience of Anthony Gardner will be a useful addition at centreback. Nejc Pecnik and Michail Antonio will offer an attacking/wide midfield threat as well as young prospect Rhys McCabe and Diogo Amado adds depth to the central area. The only area that needs options is the forward line, Chris Maguire adds to the Owls attacking options but after the sale of Ryan Lowe to MK Dons along with the summer departure of Clinton Morrison has left Wednesday a little light up top. Marlon Harewood looks a likely addition after his hattrick in a midweek friendly against Kilmarnock.
Manager - Dave Jones is one of the top managers outside the Premiership, Wednesday showed the stregnth of their ambition by persuading him to drop to League 1. Has made his mark on the squad already with plenty of players turned over. Has his squad in great shape and they look good for life in the higher league. Plays a rigid 4-4-2 formation and his side play good football. Has yet to taste defeat at Wednesday.
Manager - Gianfranco Zola was drafted in by the Pozzo family. He will bridge the two countries and help in the integration of the Italian based players and when dealing with the owners. Plays expansive, passing football and is a tactically aware coach. Didnt have much success at West Ham but it was a bad time with the ownership problems there. Likes to play the 4-4-2 formation.