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Championship Previews In Their Own Words: Part 5

The new Championship season kicks off tonight and to celebrate, we finish up our look through the division through the eyes of the fans themselves.

Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

For a look at the other 19 teams in the division, you should click this handy link right here.


Who cares about Rotherham right? Sadly our regular Millers voice couldn't help us in time for today's preview so you're stuck with me.

How was last season for Rotherham?

A topsy turvy one of three managers but ultimately survival. Cult hero Steve Evans left for Leeds and it looked as if former Leeds boss Neil Redfearn had Rotherham on a course for League One until Neil Warnock pitched up in mid-February. Warnock masterminded a remarkable turnaround that saw the club escape from five points inside the drop zone to ultimately end it NINE points clear and only three behind Reading.

What have they been up to this summer?

The big news was that Warnock wouldn't be extending his stay at the New York Stadium and in his place came Hibs Head Coach Alan Stubbs, a man who can never be forgiven for playing for that 1995 Bolton side.... Transfer wise and there's been a hefty turnover of players but few standout names have really arrived at the club. Defender Kelvin Wilson brings plenty of Championship experience from Nottingham Forest while midfielder Jon Taylor joins after a season where he scored 13 goals from the midfield for Peterborough. Another familiar name to arrive is that of Jake Forster-Caskey who come in on loan from Brighton.

Who should we keep an eye on in their squad?

Forster-Caskey has been capable of magic in the past but his career seems to have stalled in the last couple of years, with this a second successive loan spell at a struggling Championship side after spending most of last year at the MK Dons. Former Royal Stephen Kelly joins an experienced back-line that also includes keeper Lee Camp and defenders Joe Mattock, Greg Halford and Kirk Broadfoot but it's up front where the team looks to be light right now. Last year's top scorer Matt Derbyshire has gone leaving Johnson Clarke-Harris and Danny Ward to score the goals, with the pair only managing 10 between them last season.

What are expectation levels for 2016/17

Not very high. Stubbs did a decent job with Hibs but his managerial pedigree is still to be proven and he's inherited a squad that until Warnock arrived looked pretty overwhelmed at this level. The senior back-line mentioned above is going to be crucial because there's not a lot of goals in the squad. A relegation battle seems inevitable but the drop is far from certain.

Sheffield Wednesday

Owls fan Joe Crann - @YesWeCrann

How would you sum up last season for Wednesday?

Close but no cigar!! I thought we did fantastically well to get to the Playoff final - more than we ever imagined - but Hull deserved to be at us. Now it's time to prove that it wasn't a fluke.

What's been your main transfer business over the summer?

Very good, I think. Last year we basically signed a whole new team, but this time it's more about tweaking. Steven Fletcher and Almen Abdi could be huge signings for us. And bringing Danny Pudil back is great too.

How do fans feel about Carlos Carvalhal

They love him! I don't know if you've managed to see any of his interviews on TV, but he's a really likeable bloke. Very personable and straight talking. Some weren't convinced at first, but most are now.

What are the expectation levels heading into the new season?

I think after last season our expectations have to be playoffs or better. Anything else would be a bit of a step back. However, if we're playing good football and at least pushing for the playoffs, I don't think many would be too upset.

Name one player we should keep an eye out for

Has to be Fernando Forestieri. Fessi we like to call him. He's the best player I've seen at Wednesday for a long time, he's just got something very, very special about him. Am I allowed to mention Barry Bannan, too? He's top class.

Plus one younger player who might make a name for himself down the line.

I think it's probably young George Hirst to be honest. He's the son of David Hirst and is really starting to make a name for himself. Played for England youth - scored too - and we've all got pretty high hopes for him.

Finally, where do you reckon you'll finish?

Now you're asking! Haha. I'd really, really love to finish top two, but I think we could end up fourth or fifth.


Wigan Athletic

Alan from This Northern Soul - @TNS_WAFC

How would you sum up last season for Wigan?

It wasn't exactly the dramatic season we've got used to over the last few years but our fans did their best to turn what was a slow build up to an inevitable promotion into an emotional roller coaster - but at least we had our own soundtrack.

What's been your main transfer business over the summer?

I suppose that honour falls to Nick Powell, a player who's starting on the back foot after going missing in the second half of his loan a couple of years back. Hopefully Wigan's night life won't have the same draw as Hull's allegedly did and the youngster can start to rebuild his career.

How do fans feel about Gary Caldwell?

He's superman. Or at least he will be until his side lose two games on the bounce when he'll become that thick Scotsman who just follows that effin' Spaniard's way of playing to the letter.

Is Will Grigg still on fire and hype aside, how good can he be?

As good as he wants to be? Cliches aside, the lad is a good one and despite the myth that he's failed at this level before, he's never really stuck around long enough to find out whether he's good enough. There are question marks over his pace, but he didn't exactly bust a gut to get his goals last season so I reckon he's still got plenty fuel in his tank to keep his fire going.

What are the expectation levels heading into the new season?

I don't honestly know, I'm still in cricket mode and haven't really been keeping up with fans' feelings. If history is anything to go by, 40% will be fully expecting to be in the Premier League this time next year, 40% will have commenced on a suicidal spiral because we'll be relegated by November and 20% will just be looking forward to watching some football with their mates.

Name one player we should keep an eye out for

I suppose it'll have to be Grigg. Hopefully though, he'll be aided and abetted by Yanic Wildschutt and Micheal Jacobs who both starred last season.

Plus one younger player who might make a name for himself down the line.

Jordan Flores has been talked up over the years, but possibly more because he grew up as a Latics fan and his dad is well known and well liked by many people. Last season looked like it would be a breakthrough for him, but for one reason or another it didn't quite happen. This season might be make or break for him.

Finally, where do you reckon you'll finish?

I'm hoping for a nice, boring mid-table finish, but my gut is telling me that we'll get all sorts of end of season emotional turmoil over making the play-offs, only to fail at the last minute. 8th it is then.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Tom from WolvesBlog@WolvesBlog

How would you sum up last season for Wolves?

Awful. Midtable wasn't exactly a disaster but we had greater aspirations having narrowly missed out on the play-offs the season prior. We were gradually worn down by a series of key players getting injured or sold. The chairman decided he wanted to sell up early doors so there was minimal investment in replacements. Truly felt like we were going backwards after two very good years.

What's been your main transfer business over the summer?

So far, we've added a backup goalkeeper in Andy Lonergan and sold Kevin McDonald, another important player. But new owners arrived last week stating they hope to add 5-8 new players before the end of August so hopefully things will start looking up. Our current squad would do well to avoid the bottom three.

What about the new owners, any good or bad vibes so far?

Mainly positive. They've said their potential to invest is enormous and their only goal is buying better players and getting us into the Premier League as quickly as possible. Words are cheap of course but fans will only warm to such statements. My major concern is it looks like we'll mainly be shopping abroad and the last time our team was made up of players from the continent we were relegated. But really it's still too early to make any definitive judgements.

What are the expectation levels heading into the new season?

Prior to the new owners, very low. Now, sky high. I think we've got to see what the squad is looking like at the end of August and then re-evaluate. My gut instinct is we'll be around midtable again, as it's a tough league and we're now rebuilding a team, which is difficult to do in the space of a few months.

Name one player we should keep an eye out for

I'll say Matt Doherty who is our right back currently playing down the left. Sounds an odd choice but his performance level went up considerably from the turn of the year. He's very good at getting forward and in behind defences, which we've needed as we don't have many wingers these days.

Plus one younger player who might make a name for himself down the line.

We've seen young Niall Ennis scoring goals in pre-season and he looks a tremendous prospect. He's played for various England youth groups and Man Utd have been sniffing around, so there's obviously something there. We've done a great job of bringing players through in recent years and he's a good bet to be the next.

Finally, where do you reckon you'll finish?

Impossible to know right now as there's about to be some serious flux in the squad. I'll sit on the fence and say midtable but could really go either way.


A massive thank you to all of our guest writers who'll hopefully be popping up again throughout the season to give us their perspectives ahead of games against Reading.