Who will win the Championship?

The Championship is always one of the most exciting leagues in the world and is always one of the hardest to predict.

The relegated teams have a good chance of going straight back if they can keep hold of their best players and as we have seen in previous seasons sometimes the teams that get promoted into the league carry on their momentum and get a second promotion on the bounce.

The favourites to win the league are Harry Redknapp’s QPR and he does have experience of leading a team to the Premier League in Portsmouth so does know what it is all about and will surely get more out of his team than he did last year. The signings he has made so far have been very good and they will definitely be committed to the cause. Richard Dunne and Danny Simpson are both good enough defenders to still be in the Premier League. Karl Henry will add steel to the midfield and Charlie Austin is a proven goal scorer at this level.

Reading only had one season in the Premier League but they have got rid of quite a few of the players that helped them to promotion the last time but they have brought in some good players themselves that have Champions League experience in the shape of Wayne Bridge and Royston Drenthe. Nigel Adkins is a good manager and I feel that he will get the team playing decent football and will be right near the top of the table come the end of the season.

Bolton Wanderers will be hoping for a better year than last year and will hope that Dougie Freedman can do what he started at Crystal Palace in the early part of the season. He has made some strange choices in my opinion letting Marvin Sordell got out on loan when he has proved his ability in the Championship before. But in his defence he has replaced him with Jermaine Beckford who will be looking to prove some of his doubters wrong. Alex Baptiste, Marc Tierney and Andre Moritz are also solid signings.

Whether you agree with what they did last season you have to give Gianfranco Zola and Watford credit for getting the team together and playing as well as they did straight away. It looks like it is a similar story this year but using a slightly different loophole to bring in the players that they want from their owners ‘parent’ clubs. But the most exciting signing they have made in my opinion is Lewis McGugan because he has a decent goalscoring record and will be hoping that he can add something to the already talented team.

The team that I personally think will win the league are Wigan Athletic. The signings new manager Owen Coyle has made are already really consistent players, they may not grab the headlines but they do everything that is asked of them. James Perch, Stephen Crainey and Chris McCann all fall into this category. Then they have brought in more attacking players that will definitely get goals in Grant Holt and Marc Antoine Fortune. Also Scott Carson will be a brilliant goalkeeper and could get the most clean sheets. The only worry I have is if their campaign in Europe takes too much out of them.

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Wolves in League 1

Wolves suffered their second relegation last season from the Championship and will now be hoping to stop the slump.
Wolves
To do this they have hired Kenny Jackett and this is a fantastic appointment and although I don’t think Dean Saunders was to blame fully for their relegation he should have never got the job in the first place. But I am much more confident that Wolves will finish towards the very top of the table next season under Jackett. He did a very good job at Millwall winning 130 games and during his time their winning promotion to the Championship through the playoffs. He may not be the biggest name or even the most adventurous appointment but he is exactly what Wolves need right now, a steady and consistent manager that may not excite the fans but he will certainly get the points on the board. I was surprised to see him leave his last job but sometimes managers do need a change and I really do hope it works out for both himself and Wolves. In my opinion it would not be a surprise if at the end of the coming season Millwall get relegated and Wolves get promoted.

Jackett does not have it easy because there are still a lot of players at the club that were there in the Premier League and they will be on high wages and need to leave the club. Karl Henry, Stephen Ward, Roger Johnson and Jamie O’Hara have all been transfer listed. Looking at the players that are still at the club and will stay they should still have a good defence with Danny Batth already experienced in League 1 after a loan spell with Sheffield Wednesday and new signing Sam Ricketts a capable player that can do a job in any of the four defensive positions.

Batth has only played 15 times for Wolves

Batth has only played 15 times for Wolves


The midfield is another story though and is looking a little light of experience so they will have to look towards David Davis who has played quite a lot but has maybe not quite shown his true potential. Anthony Forde is another that will have to play to his potential next season because there could be a reliance on him to create chances. He has played 31 times in his career and I would expect him to at least double that number next season. David Edwards will also be crucial to the team if as expected he stays at the club.
Davis has got 1 career goal in 87 games

Davis has got 1 career goal in 87 games


Next season Wolves could play with a young but exciting strike force with Leigh Griffiths coming back from his loan spell at Hibernian. Griffiths should be very confident after hitting 28 goals in 40 games last season. League 1 will be a different challenge but I think he could replicate this form and fire Wolves to promotion. He could be partnered by Jake Cassidy who has played in League 1 before at Tranmere Rovers and over two loan spells scored 16 league goals in 36 games. Kevin Doyle is still at the club but it may be better for both if he left because he has not had a great time and has not lived up to expectation.
Griffiths has only played in one cup game for Wolves

Griffiths has only played in one cup game for Wolves

Can Wolves bounce straight back to the Premier League?

Wolves will be playing in the Championship next season but at least away to Swansea they gave their fans something to shout about.

When they were 4-1 down they must have thought could this season get any worse but the players have done the club proud and managed to salvage a point which seemed very unlikely after the Danny Graham goal. Out of the three goal scorers for Wolves I only expect one of them to be there next season. Steven Fletcher has got 11 goals in the Premier League this season and in a struggling side that is enough to convince someone to take a chance on him, Fletcher is one of the best in the air and a lot of teams will be interested in the summer and unfortunately for Wolves he will probably be sold quite cheaply. Matt Jarvis scored two of the goals in the game and he is another that should be in the Premier League because he has a lot of ability and can take players on, occasionally though his final delivery can let him down. The other goal scorer on the day was Dave Edwards who has actually had an ok season in my opinion although I don’t think he is that great. He has only managed to get three goals this season and maybe he should have contributed more.

But now it is time to look into the future and the team seem pretty set to challenge for promotion next year because they have a lot of players that are very good in the Championship but have been unable to show their talents in the Premier League. In goal they will have Dorus De Vries who proved at Swansea that he is very good and kept a lot of clean sheets when he was at the club, he will probably be first choice as Wayne Hennessey is injured and could even be sold in the summer. It is in front of the goalkeeper that has been the problem, they have looked awful at times and Roger Johnson is clearly not happy at the club which hasn’t helped his performances and may have even disrupted the dressing room. But Stephen Ward has performed admirably at left back and will continue in that position next season and probably be a lot more effective. In the middle of the back four though they need some changes, Richard Stearman and Christophe Berra are lucky to be Championship defenders never mind first choice in the Premier League with them playing 31 and 33 games each.

At least they have some potential in the midfield with youngster David Davis who has been quite impressive in recent weeks and should be a first team regular next season. In my opinion Jamie O’Hara and Michael Kightly should also stay as they have had injury problems and the club have stuck by them so they should show some loyalty to the club. However, loyalty goes out the window sometimes when it comes to relegation. One player I do think they should get rid of is Karl Henry because he isn’t very good and it isn’t surprising that the team has struggled every year when he is their main midfielder, he is poor on the ball and dives into stupid tackles and picks up needless bookings.

Up front with the expected departure of Steven Fletcher they may struggle especially if Kevin Doyle also gets a move away but he is another that I think should show some loyalty as hasn’t really shown his best during his time at Molineux only scoring 21 goals in 102 games. One positive is that Sylvan Ebanks-Blake can score goals in the Championship and will perform a lot better than he has done in recent seasons. He only has one goal in the Premier League this year but has scored a lot of goals in the division below.

I believe whoever the manager is next year, I think they do need more experience than Terry Connor but he could still do a decent job, needs to bring in a few players especially in key areas such as centre back and centre forward but other than that I expect Wolves to be knocking on the door of the Premier League at this stage next year.

The end of the road for Mick McCarthy at Wolves?

So I decided to watch the Wolves Birmingham game instead of the Real Madrid Barcelona game which in itself seems like such a stupid decision but if I am honest I prefer watching English games because there is always a lot of commitment and desire in every game and I cannot stand watching European football with the constant diving, although I am the first to admit the quality is a lot better in Spain than in our country. Probably because they develop players footballing abilities whereas it seems in our country youth coaches are more focused on getting the players fit and competitive. This is a major reason why England are getting left behind in world football.

So, anyway onto Wolves and yet again they are battling relegation, I honestly thought this year that they would push on slightly and not exactly trouble the top half of the table but survive more comfortably than usual. But when you look at their team they have too many players that look good in the Championship but struggle in the Premier League.

If you just look at their strikers that started against Birmingham it shows they are lacking real quality up front to partner Steven Fletcher who has been their one bright spot in an otherwise dull season. Kevin Doyle works hard enough for the team which I do like about him and I will always defend him because he never lets the defenders rest and he will always give 100% however he needs to score goals if Wolves want to stay up and he only has three goals so far this season which is not good enough. Alongside him was Sylvain Ebanks Blake who I have never rated as a Premier League striker but he can score in the Championship and Wolves should maybe look to getting rid of him in the transfer window unless they are already preparing for life in the Championship.

The midfield is slightly stronger but when you have Karl Henry as one of your main men you are most definitely going to struggle, he always seems more intent on fouling the opposition players or when on the ball play a sideways pass and not look to go forward. He is far too negative. Adam Hammill is yet another player in the same bracket as Ebanks Blake, he can rip teams apart in the Championship but put him in the Premier League and he can’t take anyone on, his crosses hit the first man and he struggles to impose himself on the games.

Maybe I am being slightly harsh on Wolves as they were missing key players like suggested before Steven Fletcher makes a big difference to the side and can score goals but only having one striker that can score is a dangerous game to play. In midfield they have Stephen Hunt who is a very energetic player and can add a little bit of quality to the side. But their biggest worry is where does the creativity come, they can look to Matt Jarvis and Jamie O’Hara who are both a class above the rest of the squad but they can also be inconsistent but when they don’t play Wolves look worse than ordinary.

Should Mick McCarthy stay in charge or do they need someone else to come in and try to save their season?