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2015/16 Championship Previews: In Their Own Words - NF-Wv

We complete our fan led Championship odyssey with a look at clubs from Nottingham Forest down to Wolves.

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Use the links below to jump to the relevant preview.


Nottingham Forest

Nick Miller from In The Top One -  @InTheTopOne

You started the season in storming form but then suffered a massive slump that cost Stuart Pearce his job. Fortunes seemed revived under Dougie Freedman but what did Forest make of the season overall?

Ach, I dunno. The revival after Dougie took over seemed to be a classic case of New Manager Bounce, as after that he started mucking around with centre-backs at full-back or in midfield and all sorts of nonsense. In the long haul we were hit quite hard by Britt Assombalonga's injury, plus a collective bottle job at the end of the season. Which doesn't exactly bode well for the campaign ahead....

What changes has Dougie Freedman made so far this summer?

He hasn't been able to do much because of this pseudo transfer embargo we're under for financial naughtiness, but Jamie Ward and to a lesser extent your old chum Matt Mills look like reasonable additions on frees. We've also signed a left-back nobody has heard of from Spain called Daniel Pinillos and Ben Hamer on loan from Leicester.

What still needs to be done before the window closes?

We could probably do with a striker, but probably one on loan until Assombalonga comes back. The options on free transfers (under the terms of the embargo we're not allowed to sign anyone for a fee) don't really look terribly appealing.

Which Forest player should we look out for this season?

Benny Osborn. He's a little magician and scored an absolute peach at your place last season.

Any younger player that could burst on to the scene?

Tyler Walker (Des's kid) is a striker that everyone's very excited about, as is a winger called Oliver Burke. If Dougie plays either of them, of course.

Where do you expect to finish this season?

Probably mid-table somewhere, having briefly at one point flirted with the playoffs.

Finally, what have you made of Reading over the past 12 months and what do you expect of them going forward?

Bit concerned about your lot actually. The players you've lost v the players you've signed don't massively blow me away (although Paul McShane might be OK, actually), and I wonder about Steve Clarke. I reckon you'll be struggling a bit, but I should add the caveat that a) the Championship is obviously a mess of a division and b) I'm woeful at predictions.

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Steve Cowell, Preston fan

You finally managed to break your play-off curse last season to make it back to the Championship. How did North End fans feel about the 14/15 season?

If you get promotion then it as to be a good season so yeah we're all happy. In saying that, we did do it at the second attempt so to speak! A win at Colchester in the last game of the season would have seen us promoted automatically but we lost!! Sometimes in life you have to go backwards to go forwards and all that pain we felt on that day was worth it in the end as we finally nailed a play-off and won a final!! Oh my days.

What changes has Simon Grayson made so far this summer?

As we speak (two weeks ago) not a lot as happened on the transfer front. However, the resigning of Paul Gallagher, Jermaine Beckford and Joe Garner has got to be a bit of good business. The only signings so far are Greg Cunningham a left back from follow promotion rivels Bristol City and Michael Keane a striker from Manchester United on a 12 month loan.

What still needs to be done before the window closes?

Having watched Preston in the Championship the last time around there is no substitute for quality and with all due respect to the present squad, I still think we could be doing with a bit more of it. No doubt that's easier said than done as I'm sure every team in the championship is after that bit of extra quality to add to their ranks. Still time yet though!

Which Preston player should we look out for this season?

The three players mentioned above who all put pen to paper to rejoin the club will be the ones we hope will make things happen for us this season, along with the lad we got from Aston Villa Damien Johnstone. Each of them is capable of producing something out of nothing.

Any younger player that could burst on to the scene?

Difficult one that, our manager likes his experienced lads but in saying that both Alan Brown and Josh Brownhills are the ones you hope will get a chance and if they do, hopefully they'll have the confidence to really express themselves.

Where do you expect to finish this season?

Like all promoted teams we're on a high and still have the same team that smashed Swindon at Wembley in May. So if we can hit the ground running then who knows. Last time we came up from League One we did exactly that and reached a Championship play off final only to be stopped by Bolton at the last hurdle. If we can keep the momentum going then you never know history could repeats it's self, but, with my cautious hat on I'm saying 14th-15th position which would still be good..

Finally, what have you made of Reading over the past 12 months and what do you expect of them going forward?

Lot of time for Reading, our two teams have had our moments over the years but always thought Reading as a club do things the right way and reaching an FA Cup semi final last year was Reading at their best. Thought you flew the flag for all the championship clubs and gave us all hope for the future. Also in Steve Clarke I feel you've got the right man to mirror the club's and it's supporters' ambitions. I personally fancy Reading for at least a play off place this season.

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QPR fan Paul Finney - @paulfinney1969.

QPR continued their yo-yo form with relegation last season. What went wrong on your return to the top flight?

After winning the play-off final a brave board would have replaced Harry Redknapp but we stuck with him and paid the price. Harry never seemed to 'get' QPR and it always seemed that the job was a pain for him. As a fan I always felt he came for the money and never wanted to be in W12.

I'm shocked that on the day he left agents didn't pitch up at Loftus Road with pictures of Harry, holding candles and weeping, heartbroken that such a cash generator had gone....  In truth our transfer policy was a mess and that wasn't just down to him but the club wanted big names and he got them. Sadly they were totally the wrong players for the wrong reasons and the league table reflected that.

What changes has Chris Ramsey made so far this summer?

Well as soon as Chris got the job the whole ethos of the club was changed. Talk of lessons learned and massive changes in mindset over who we were to bring in, no more Dad's army signings for one.

Les Ferdinand is the man in charge of all that now and Chris' role is more of the new style 'head coach'. Les is a legend at our club the pair of them will need time but at the end of the day they need results, something that's going to be hard this season.

With all said and done it's good to see younger players coming in,  footballers that are on the way up and not here for the money.

What still needs to be done before the window closes?

Simple, we need forwards like all teams in this league, especially if, or should I say when we lose Charlie Austin. It worries me to see such a lack of firepower in the squad but we also need to bring in some more defenders.  Midfield wise there's a lot of players fighting to fill too few spots.

Which QPR player should we look out for this season?

If they stay Phillips and Austin would help make a hell of a side. Of the new lads in, Luongo and Chery have both looked good in a shambles of pre-season and the return of Jamie Mackie will also be good for us. One trump card the club are holding is Jay Emmanuel-Thomas as this fella is one I  feel that if he gets  his mind on the job  could be key for us.

Also so good to see Faurlin back after amazingly making another comeback from three career ending injuries. It shows the guts and fight of the man and all football fans should respect what he's done in this day and age, it's so refreshing to see a lad who lives to play the beautiful game.

Any younger player that could burst on to the scene?

That is a question we have been asking for what seems like decades. Furlong, Doughty and Cox are important if they club is to get back to it's previous tradition of promoting from within.

Where do you expect to finish this season?

I will take 10th but you never know as a QPR fan. I see it more of a season of rebuilding and fans will be happy with that.

Finally, what have you made of Reading over the past 12 months and what do you expect of them going forward?

To me it looks like the club is still trying to find that one man to really take you forward, though I was impressed with the hiring of Steve Clarke. It's going to be a hell of a season in the Championship given the even bigger financial rewards in the Premier League next season!

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Jonathan Veal from It's Millers Time@jonathandveal83

You predicted a season of consolidation and that's what you ended up with. How did Millers fans view the last campaign?

They viewed it with great pleasure - staying up was the ultimate aim, it should have been easier than it was but with the late points deduction thrown in everyone was just happy to get the job done and stay in the Championship for another year.

What changes has Steve Evans made so far this summer?

Well it's pretty much been a usual Steve Evans summer - a complete overhaul. There's been 11 signings and 11 departures so there were plenty of introductions on the first day of training. But this year there has been a lot of quality additions - on the face of it at least - and that is the key difference to last summer.

What still needs to be done before the window closes?

The squad is looking good but Evans wants a couple more. A striker would be nice, Mr Le Fondre if you don't mind coming home, but other than that it looks like the squad has plenty of depth. Too many more additions and I'll be putting some money on the reserves winning the league.

Which Rotherham player should we look out for this season?

Grant Ward. He's come on a six-month loan from Spurs and he has really impressed during pre-season, scoring goals and spectacular goals. He's only 20 so has plenty to learn.

Any younger player that could burst on to the scene?

Steve Evans doesn't tend to promote young kids, why do that when you can go out and get someone on loan? But Jerry Yates is a young striker who is sniffing around the first team and has a good goalscoring record. Whether we will see him break through though remains to be seen.

Where do you expect to finish this season?

The target has been publicly set as mid-table looking up and that would be a superb achievement. Again staying up is the number one priority and despite everything above about quality additions that is still going to be a tough task. I think 18th.

Finally, what have you made of Reading over the past 12 months and what do you expect of them going forward?

Last year, from the outside at least, Reading looked a shambles and could have possibly been drawn into more of a relegation fight. It looked worrying when a few of your players left but I have been impressed with some of your signings, Quinn and Al-Habsi especially. Mid-table beckons I reckon though.

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Sheffield Wednesday

Joe Crann - @YesWeCrann

In speaking to us last summer you felt a play-off push was on the cards but you ultimately ended up mid-table. How do you look back on last season?

Yeah, I think I was being a little bit over-optimistic last season with the squad that we had, however it was very pleasing to see how solid we were defensively. If we can build on that and add goals then we could do something this year. There were pros to take from last season, however out bluntness up front is really something to worry about.

You've got a new manager in Carlos Carvalhal, what changes has he made so far this summer?

Lots and lots of changes to be honest! We've made nine new signings so far, all of whom are genuine potential starters for us, so it'll be interesting to see his starting XI in the first few games. He's been a bit of a journeyman, which worries me a little, but obviously I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt for now. The signings we've made are exciting on the face of it, so we'll have to see how we do.

What still needs to be done before the window closes?

A striker. We've been lacking a proper, proper goalscorer for a while now and yes, we've just brought in young Lucas Joao, but I'm not sure he's a 15-goal a season man, which is something we desperately need.

Which Wednesday player should we look out for this season?

Marco Matias is the big signing for us this season. He was flying in Portugal last season and came in for big money. He's looked pretty good in preseason and seems to be settling well, if he can continue improving when the real games kick off then he could be a super buy for us.

Any younger player that could burst on to the scene?

Not really young, but Joao is only 21 and has been making a decent name for himself at Nacional over the last couple of seasons. He could be an exciting prospect for us if he can hit the ground running.

Where do you expect to finish this season?

I think with the money we've spent I don't think I'm being unreasonable to expect a playoff push for us. I think we're still way off being title contenders, but if we can push for 6th come the end of the season I'll be happy.

Finally, what have you made of Reading over the past 12 months and what do you expect of them going forward?

I think if you guys can steady that defence of yours and put away some more of your chances then you can definitely have a better season than last year. It seems like you've made a handful of decent signings, so I'm expecting you to finish much further away from the relegation zone this season.

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Tom from WolvesBlog@WolvesBlog

In speaking to us last summer you felt a play-off push was on the cards but you ultimately ended up falling short. How do Wolves fans look back on last season?

It was a missed opportunity. By the end of the season when we had Sako, Dicko and Afobe all firing I thought we looked very strong. Individual errors were made in a couple of games and it cost us. Had we made it into the play-offs I would have fancied us. We were also a tad unfortunate. To get 78 points and not make the top six is unheard of and missing out on goal difference was a real pill.

What changes has Kenny Jackett made so far this summer?

As far as most are concerned, not nearly enough. Sako ran his contract down and has now departed, which leaves a gaping chasm in our attack. That said, Kenny spent a few million in bringing Connor Coady down from Huddersfield and if he can link up with and complement Kevin McDonald, we might really be in business. Young Jed Wallace has also arrived from Portsmouth with a reputation for scoring goals from midfield. He could be a name to look out for.

What still needs to be done before the window closes?

I think we need a striker to back-up Nouha Dicko and Benik Afobe. Both of those players can realistically target a 20+ goal season but if one got injured, we have no cover. We're also lacking width after losing Sako and selling Michael Jacobs to Wigan, so a left winger would be handy.

Which Wolves player should we look out for this season?

I'm going to pick young Dominic Iorfa who has been primarily deployed at right back. Every once in a while (but not very often) a youth team player comes through and you can instantly see they've got the stuff. I saw it in Robbie Keane, Joleon Lescott and Matt Murray and I see in Iorfa. He's got all the physical attributes to be a wonderful defender and can actually play a bit. If he progresses as I anticipate he might, his future lies higher up the food chain.

Any younger player that could burst on to the scene?

Kortney Hause is another young defender who broke in last season and looks a good prospect. Striker Bright Enobakhare has also shown glimpses of brilliance in preseason and seems to be getting fast tracked towards first team football. He may go out on loan before being blooded at Molineux though.

Where do you expect to finish this season?

Always a difficult one. There's 'hope' and there's 'expectation'. I hope we'll finish in the top six. I expect and worry we might come up just short again. Over the years we've been specialists at finishing seventh and it wouldn't surprise me if we repeated the trick. The nucleus of the squad is pretty good, but a lot of teams (e.g. Fulham, Middlesbrough and Brentford) are throwing the kitchen sink at a promotion push and I'm concerned our 'steady progression' approach might not be enough.

Finally, what have you made of Reading over the past 12 months and what do you expect of them going forward?

I thought Steve Clarke was a good appointment and when you came down and won at Molineux earlier in the year, I was impressed with what I saw. You were well drilled and difficult to break down, whilst also possessing a threat on the counter. It doesn't look like you've added much over the summer though, so my gut feeling is that you'll give us two difficult games (as you always do) but might again struggle with consistency over the season. It's impossible to say with any degree of certainty though. I'm not sure many would have said Bournemouth and Watford for automatic promotion this time last year, so I won't be making any emphatic declarations.