Hull City in the Premier League

Hull City have been promoted to the Premier League after a nail biting end to their Championship season.

Under Steve Bruce they have certainly surprised me and did just enough to finish above Watford. A 2-2 draw against Cardiff City was one of the most entertaining endings to a game you will see and both clubs will be hoping that they can be as watchable in the Premier League. Bruce has now gained three promotions in his managerial career and this just proves how good he is as a Championship manager and he has proven in the past that he can succeed to a certain extent in the Premier League. His time at Sunderland did not end well but I still think he had enough ability to keep them in the league and they haven’t grown since or competed any higher up the table so he wasn’t doing much wrong. But with Hull he has won 25 of his 51 games in charge and this is an impressive record and maybe promotion wasn’t quite expected to happen so quickly so quite a few changes might be needed for them to stay up. If they can bring in the right players they have a manager that could keep them up.

However, they definitely need a goalkeeper because they relied too heavily on loan signings last season and need a number one. Two keepers that have been linked to the club are Chris Kirkland and Kasper Schmeichel. If they could get either of these then I think they would be fantastic choices. Defensively I do think they are poor as well, Paul McShane is someone that works hard but is probably not good enough for the Premier League and they just do not have enough quality in their backline.
Paul McShane
In the midfield it is a similar story with players that are hard working but do not really have enough quality. However, I do think Stephen Quinn could be a crucial player because he does have something else and his passing and creativity will certainly help the side. David Meyler is another that I feel has to have a good season if they are to stay up. He is a former Sunderland player and at times he did look ok for them and without the injuries he may have played a lot more for the club. Robert Koren is probably the standout player and someone that I do like a lot.
Stephen Quinn
Strikers are yet again a problem. They did not have anyone that could score goals in the Championship so I cannot see any of them having great seasons in the Premier League. Matt Fryatt is a good goal scorer and he was unfortunate with injuries last season. This will be his first season in the Premier League so he will be hoping to emulate the success of Rickie Lambert and Grant Holt in recent years, although he is a different player to them two.
Matt Fryatt
At this moment in time I am very worried about Hull City but I am sure many people have said that about Swansea City, Norwich City and Stoke City in recent seasons.

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Who will win the Championship playoffs?

The Championship had one of the best ever endings to a season with nobody knowing who will be in the playoffs until the last whistle.

Watford, Brighton, Crystal Palace and Leicester City will be hoping to win the playoffs and gain a place in the Premier League alongside Cardiff City and Hull City. Bolton Wanderers missed out on the playoffs by goal difference and Nottingham Forest only missed out on the last day after losing to Leicester. For me this is one of the most difficult to predict simply because of how close it all was at the end of the season.

Watford finished third and have been one of the most entertaining teams this season but they had such a disappointing end to the final game. They lost 2-1 to Leeds United but in their defence they conceded a late goal from a counter attack. If only they had managed to score a goal they would have actually finished second and gained automatic promotion. Troy Deeney got a red card in that game and so that means there will be more pressure on top goal scorer Matej Vydra. But, he isn’t in the greatest of form himself. Watford have been criticised this season because of all their loan signings but Gianfranco Zola deserves more credit for getting them to perform.

Brighton finished fourth and are going into the playoffs in the best form and with their experience they may be the team to go up. Wayne Bridge and Matthew Upson at the back shows they have a lot of quality and experience and they have been a large part of their rise to towards the top of the league. In midfield they have a lot of young and talented players like Liam Bridcutt , Will Buckley and Kazenga Lua Lua that probably deserve a chance to show their talents in the Premier League. Even though their top scorer only has 11 goals they still have good strikers with the efforts and determination of Craig Mackail-Smith and Jose Ulloa who has had an impressive start to his Brighton career, scoring 9 in 17 league games.

Crystal Palace under Ian Holloway have been very hit and miss and they need to find some form and quickly. Their win over Peterborough on the last day of the season could be crucial as it showed that they can come from behind to win games and still have a lot of quality in their team. Glenn Murray, the top scorer in the Championship scored one of the goals and Kevin Phillips got another so they have players that can score at anytime in a game. Their defence is a little bit of a worry but in midfield they have a lot of talented players like Wilifried Zaha and Jonathan Williams.

Leicester were the last team to qualify for the playoffs and I was really surprised that they got in there because they had to beat Nottingham Forest away and hope Bolton didn’t win. So this could push the team on because they will be very confident and maybe seen as outsiders. They have a lot of talent in their team and this could be Nigel Pearson’s last chance to get promotion with Leicester so there could be extra motivation for the players.

However, I do think Watford will beat Leicester and Brighton will beat Crystal Palace in the semi finals and then it will be a very exciting final. Then I am going to go for Brighton to win the playoffs and compete in the Premier League next season.

Who will be Blackburn Rovers next manager?

Steve Kean has finally left Blackburn Rovers after months and months of unrest at the Championship club and the fans have finally got what they wanted.

Yes, I agree with them he definitely shouldn’t have been in charge for as long as he was and when things weren’t going right in the Premier League he should have gone but some of them went about it in the wrong way and just showed how fickle football fans are, one minute they were singing, ‘We are top of the league’ then when the results weren’t going well, ‘Kean out.’ I am glad he has gone because now the club can go forward and the fans will return to Ewood Park and support their team, but if they do end up getting promoted then Kean deserves a lot of credit because he has assembled a decent squad and his signings in the summer were good, in particular Danny Murphy, Dickson Etuhu and Jordan Rhodes. However, only 21 wins in 74 games is not good enough, so who will replace him?

The favourite is Tim Sherwood, who was their captain in 1995 when they won the Premier League title so he obviously knows what it is like to be around the club when everyone is happy and things are going their way. Sherwood could bring the good times back but it would be very risky in my opinion because this would be first managerial job and his lack of experience could work against him, especially in the Championship when there are a lot of managers that know what they are doing in the division. However, he has worked under some good managers in Harry Redknapp and Andre Villas Boas so if he ever needed advice he could ask them and I’m sure he will have a lot of contacts in the game so he could make some shrewd loan signings, if needed.

The next person linked with the role is also someone that was part of that title winning side and that man is Alan Shearer. Shearer, does have a little more experience than Sherwood but his short spell in charge of Newcastle United ended in relegation after losing five of his eight games in charge. I’m sure the fans would take to him as he was a legend at the club and scored goals for fun at the club so they would hope he would get the best out of their strikers, in particular, Jordan Rhodes, who has been branded the next Alan Shearer.

Finally, someone that may not be as popular but would get results in my opinion and that man is Mick McCarthy. He may not be a big name or even someone that would excite fans but he knows what he is doing and has achieved some sort of success everywhere he has been. Gaining promotion from the Championship isn’t easy and he has done it with both Sunderland and Wolverhampton Wanderers, both times winning the league in the process so he obviously knows exactly what is needed unlike his rivals for the post.

Doncaster Rovers are relegated from the Championship

Doncaster Rovers have been relegated to League 1 after being beaten by Portsmouth in a must win game.

The game itself couldn’t have started much better with the team racing into a 2-0 lead but even if they did manage to win this game it still would have been very difficult for the team to stay up after what has been a pretty bad season however they were the favourites to go down at the start of the season so maybe it was expected. But looking to the future and if they can keep this squad together who will be good enough to get the team promoted at the first time of asking, which is not an easy thing to do as big teams have found out over the years such as Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest and Leeds United.

The first question that has to be asked is whether Dean Saunders is the right man to take the club forward? This is only his second job and he has only won seven games out of 37 which would suggest that he hasn’t been great but the club have had a lot of injuries and he has had to rely on loan signings which is never easy. I think he should be given the time to succeed and get his own team together.

Doncaster have a decent squad but for one reason or another it hasn’t quite worked out for them this season. Injuries have been quite cruel on them too. Tommy Spurr is one of the players that I believe has the potential to be a very good Championship defender but he struggled with injuries and he could have had added some much needed stability at left back and will be very important next season if he stays. Looking at the defence that have been playing and it is really surprising to see some of the players in the Championship never mind getting relegated from it. Habib Beye, who actually got sent off against Portsmouth, was a first team regular at Newcastle United in the Premier League only a few years ago and was signed by Aston Villa for quite a large fee. Pascal Chimbonda and Herita Ilunga have also played for the club this season and these yet again are players who are experienced and played at the highest level.

It is remarkable the amount of players Doncaster went through and how well known they actually are. In the midfield, they have Giles Barnes who was once rated as one of the best youngsters in England when he was at Derby County but his career has stalled and he may have to stay at Doncaster to kick start it. James Coppinger is a midfielder that I do like in the squad and I believe that if he stays then he will be vital if they are to bounce straight back to the Championship.

El Hadji Diouf has been at the club too and I cannot imagine him playing in League 1 but if he does decide to stay then he will score goals at that level and would be one of the favourites for top goal scorer at the start of the season. He cannot produce moments of magic. Yet again, they have had Premier League experience upfront with him in Frederic Piquionne but his two goals in seven games wasn’t quite enough to inspire the team to staying up.

A very poor season for Doncaster but maybe it wasn’t so much of a surprise, the fans will be hoping for a consistent look to the side next year and this will hopefully allow them to challenge for promotion next year. If they fail to bring in a few players and get rid of the ones of high wages it could be a real struggle next year.