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Championship Predictions 2020/21

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Any bold / not so bold predictions this season?

Watford
Norwich
Brentford
Bournemouth
-
Stoke City
Middlesbrough
Swansea City
Nottingham Forest
Cardiff City
-
Millwall
Blackburn
Bristol City
Preston
Derby County
Reading
-
Birmingham City
Queens Park Rangers
Huddersfield Town
Luton Town
Barnsley
Coventry City
Sheffield Wednesday
Wycombe
Rotherham

 

I see there being four tiers this season. The top tier are the only teams that I can see gaining automatic promotion. The three teams going down seem to the best equipped teams to go back up in a long time. Norwich have recruited well, Brentford always recruit well, Watford's squad on paper is very good for this level and Bournemouth have a togetherness that will get them far. 

The next tier are teams that I think can punch their way in to the playoffs. I was impressed with Stoke City under O'Neil and they appear to have recruited well, Warnock has already said he's aiming for the playoffs and his track record speaks for itself, Swansea seem to have a good infrastructure and have signed well, Forest will have a chip on their shoulder and again look to have recruited well and Cardiff seem to work for Neil Harris and will want to improve on last season.

The third category are teams that I cannot envisage going down and wouldn't surprise me if they made top half or flirted with playoffs. Milwall looked good under Gary Rowett who seems to be learning from Wilder, Blackburn should be better when Bradley Dack returns, Bristol City have good depth in their squad but im not sure how Dean Holden will do, Preston are always solid but I wonder if they hit a ceiling under Alex Neil, Derby im not particularly sold on their transfer business so far, Birmingham i think have improved but are some way off where the owners want them to be and Reading's owners seem all over the place.

The bottom category are teams that I think could all drop and should be thankful that Sheffield Wednesday have a big points deduction. On any given season these teams could go down. QPR have lost some real quality and are likely to lose more players, Huddersfield were terrible last season and could still lose their only efficient player in Karl's Grant, Luton and Barnsley were very fortunate to survive last season and wouldnt look out of place in League One, whilst none of the promoted clubs inspire me with any belief that they're going to be pulling up trees in this divison. Honestly think in terms of competition the bottom eight are the worst bottom eight for some time at this level.

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It's 2021, and we are seeing the best performance every seen by a Championship side. Somehow Forest are sitting on 75 points after 25 matches after they just thrashed @Mpache's Millwall side 6-0. Forest are a whopping 15 points on second place, and almost 30 points clear on the last playoffs spot! 

The win was massive and the team ends up going out for drinks after the match, to celebrate the amazing year they have had so far. All things are great up in Nottingham....

But the midweek fixture on January 20 against Middlesborough trips them up, and they lose a classic match to the score of 5-4, with Middlesborough getting ALL of their goals in stoppage time AND with penalties. Forest are obviously fuming, but fuck it...they are still WAYYYYYY ahead. 

But then they start thinking about it, they can't believe they lost a game that they were winning with such ease, and to penalties! The players call a team meeting, and decide to go forward to form an official compliant against the FA, they gather all the evidence they can, tapes, bank records of the ref in question, and witness that saw this ref getting out of a limo late the night before the match, and the limo had ties to the Russian mafia...they had this in the bag. They get all the evidence, and storm the FA offices on Thursday, and the FA, being clueless as usual, start to slowing look through all the evidence, and the entire Forest staff stay there, explaining everything and showing them all the stats...and they quickly begin to lose their patience as the FA interrupts their monologues TWICE just to ask them the simple question, 'Who are you again?', and the staff, tired of explaining the story of Clough and Champions Leagues, just scream FOREST, to which the FA becomes more confused because their isn't a team or player called FOREST is there? 

This goes on for hours and finally Sabri's phone starts to ring, and as he walks away to check his messages, only to realize it's now Saturday and they are late to their match AT Coventry...cursing under his breath, Sabri walks into the FA and demands a delay of 24 hours for their match against Coventry so that they go and play, but the FA responds with, "Who are you again?"

At this Sabri and Gabban reach over the table, and start to punch the FA croonies behind the table, which begins an all out brawl. Sow, manly due to lack of sleep, begins punching anyone in front of him, which includes two maids, a child, and Ameobi! Ameobi begin to punch back, but slips on the floor, and lands near Michael Dawson, which cause a slight vibration which ends up rupturing both of Dawson's legs, now it's just an absolute melee, with a bunch of grown ass men punching one another, and poor little Zach Clough trying to explain that yes, his name is Clough, but he isn't related to Nigel nor Brian, but he's clueless to the simple fact that no one is paying him any attention. 

The cops are called, and the two sides are broken up, and most of the Forest team are placed in the London prison for disorderly conduct...the FA have zero charges against them (obviously). 

Forest, for failure to show up, are forced to forfeit their match against Coventry, giving Forest their first two losses on the year. 

While in prison, Gabban find God and ends up retiring from Football to follow God's path, Dawson is sadly forced into retirement, and Ameobi is forced into 6 months of 'hard time', and the brawl ended up releasing a lot of pint up anger and he can't seem to stop screaming and trying to punch people. Clough is sold off because he won't talk talking about his last name, and Sabri is fired for having to forfeit a match in such an embarrassing fashion. 

Most of the team finally gets released in prison before their upcoming match against Barnsley, but they are all emotionally unstable and now can't seem to find any motivation to keep playing this sport, especially now that they don't have a manager. 

The end up losing to Barnsley, then Wycome, Bournemouth, Swans, Blackburn, and Rotherham, and Derby...

The wheels are falling apart, and while they aren't sitting top of the table anymore, they are still 14 points secure for the last playoff spot, and while preparing for Luton, Gabban walks in to the cheers of the rest of the team, and after a player's only meeting, he ends up converting all da Costa, Silva, Lolley, Freeman, Sow, Yates, and Carvalho to his new religion and those Forest are now without enough players to form a team! 

So they do some switching, getting some of their youth up and getting ready to finish off this year and move back up to the EPL where they belong. 

They lose to Luton (Thanks Gabban), but with over a week to prepare, they actually are able to draw against Watford! Here we go, baby! 

They follow that up with a tie at Reading, but losses against Norwich and the Bees, so now they have 77 points, which should be plenty of the points for the playoffs, and they still have a chance for automatic promotion with just 8 matches to go. 

They lose to Cardiff, beat QPR, lose to Bristol City, Huddesfield, and beat Birmingham...putting them at a whopping 83 points with 2 games remaining! Forest have officially qualified for the playoffs, but they don't care as they are even on points with Brentford for the final automatic promotion spot. 

They finish the year beating Sheffield and drawing PNE, and Brentford can't keep pace so Forest grab the 2nd spot on the final day! Automatic promotion! 

While in the locker room celebrating, the FA chief walks in and informs the team that they are being investigated for playing an illegal players. Taken aghast, they start to go back and forth about the indictment and who the player is, with the tempers just flaring up quickly as their two parties have a deep and painful history. 

It is finally determined by Queen of England that Forest played a player who was an illegal immigrant, and those Forest have to forfiet all points in the games in which he played, and since he's 17, Forest have to abandoned all points since Gabban's missionary journey, leaving Forest with 70 points at the end of the season, which places them in 7th again and out of the playoffs thanks to the Fair Play tie breaker that has now been enforced, meaning the Preston take the last spot and Forest have to suffer another year of mid-table football. 

Sound about right @Stan?

 

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I think it's going to be a bit like last year, a pretty open race.

But here is my predictions

Top 6

1. Norwich 

Epitome of a 'yo-yo' club. They have kept the foundations of Godfrey, Cantwell and Pukki and added some quality names to bolster the squad.

I think Ben Gibson is a solid signing at the back for them and Kieron Dowell is a good Championship standard midfielder. But I think the one to keep an eye on is Adam Idah, young striker. I see him having a big impact.

The only question mark is the losing mentality they found themselves in once the Premier League resumes. They seemed to chuck the towel in far too early and it won't be easy just to click and settle into a groove straight away.

2. Brentford

Ah, Thomas Frank. For what it's worth, I felt sorry for them last season on the whole. I just hope Thomas Frank has learnt to quit the silly mind games that only served to shoot him the foot.

The 'BMW' is no more and there is every chance they'll lose the 'B' before the end of the window. That said, with the absurd Watkins money, they will surely have a back up plan if Benrahma goes. All eyes on Ivan Toney to see if he can justify his own self belief.

The defence is rock solid and even if they lose Reya, I don't think it will derail them too much.

3. Watford

As it stands, they have an unbelievable squad on paper and should probably finish 1st.

But there is surely no way they will finish the window with some of those players, most notably the likes of Sarr and Deulofeu. You would assume they will be weakened somewhat.

The manager is an unknown quantity and whilst it has worked in the past with people like Jokanovic, that doesn't mean to say it will this time. Watford are known for their offfield issues

I don't know why but despite seeing so many tips of Watford to win it, I feel a bit of a 'Stoke City' vibe about them from when they came down. I feel like they might find this season a bit tricky and whilst I'm not fully convinced they will take 3rd, I can't ignore the obvious talent they have at their disposal.

Glenn Murray was a very canny signing and has gone completely under the radar. And Suarez and Quina look set for great seasons as this level.

4. Swansea

Snuck in by the skin of their teeth last season and are making good strides under Steve Cooper.

Rhian Brewster is a massive loss and they need to find a striker to go with Andre Ayew before the window closes for sure. Do that and they will be looking well set for another challenge.

Overall, a very tidy team with a good defence, play attractive football so the playoffs are a very realistic prospect. Keep an eye on Morgan Gibbs-White on loan from Wolves.

5. Stoke

Apart from when they played us, Stoke really finished the season strongly under Michael O'Neill and there's every reason to think they will carry on that vain. Momentum can sometimes be key.

They have seemingly got through the difficult spells, adjusted to Championship life and are now fairly comfortable in their surroundings having broken up the old side with a younger, much hungrier one.

6. Millwall

My dark horse. Gary Rowett is starting to build a promising team there.

Bialkowski kept the most clean sheets last season, Jake Cooper continues to grow at the back as well as a great goal threat in the box, Jed Wallace remains one if the division's best players and the loan signing of Troy Parrott promises to be an exciting prospect and great foil alongside big Matt Smith.

They will relish the 'underdog' tag and there is always one team that sneaks in the Top 6 unexpectedly.

Relegated

22nd Sheffield Wednesday

Minus 12 start is never ideal. I actually do think they have a great chance of turning that around and we've seen how teams react to these deductions.

But to ultimately stay up, they need to realistically have a 62-65pt season. Usually that is good enough for a solid midtable Championship side but I'm not convinced Wednesday are that side.

I feel they are more mid to lower, Gary Monk doesn't inspire me with his dour football, and I see them battling with Rotherham to stay up.

And I'd just tip Paul Warne's men to stay up, hence why I feel Wednesday will end up losing the fight.

23rd Huddersfield

I feel like Huddersfield are really on the decline. Since Wagner left they have just been going on a downward spiral and I think it's a tough as for our ex youth coach, Carlos Corboran to come in and lead them up the table.

I look at their squad and it doesn't impress me one bit. I can't say I've been too impressed with what they have done in the close season and they look well short of weapons.

The one outstanding player they have in Karlan Grant, is sure to be eyed up by someone, perhaps even in this same division and if he goes they really are fucked.

24th Wycombe

A true fairytale story for them being promoted, and whilst they will ruffle some feathers, I feel like they will come crashing back down to earth in the end. 

I still feel they were a little lucky to get the chance they did given they only got a playoff place on PPG much to the dismay of Peterborough and Sunderland and I'm not sure they were necessarily in the best shape to come up, unlike other teams in recent seasons.

They have an amazing team spirit on the face of it, the neutrals will back them and this will help them give an honest fight but the lack of quality will prevail.

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9 hours ago, Eco said:

It's 2021, and we are seeing the best performance every seen by a Championship side. Somehow Forest are sitting on 75 points after 25 matches after they just thrashed @Mpache's Millwall side 6-0. Forest are a whopping 15 points on second place, and almost 30 points clear on the last playoffs spot! 

The win was massive and the team ends up going out for drinks after the match, to celebrate the amazing year they have had so far. All things are great up in Nottingham....

But the midweek fixture on January 20 against Middlesborough trips them up, and they lose a classic match to the score of 5-4, with Middlesborough getting ALL of their goals in stoppage time AND with penalties. Forest are obviously fuming, but fuck it...they are still WAYYYYYY ahead. 

But then they start thinking about it, they can't believe they lost a game that they were winning with such ease, and to penalties! The players call a team meeting, and decide to go forward to form an official compliant against the FA, they gather all the evidence they can, tapes, bank records of the ref in question, and witness that saw this ref getting out of a limo late the night before the match, and the limo had ties to the Russian mafia...they had this in the bag. They get all the evidence, and storm the FA offices on Thursday, and the FA, being clueless as usual, start to slowing look through all the evidence, and the entire Forest staff stay there, explaining everything and showing them all the stats...and they quickly begin to lose their patience as the FA interrupts their monologues TWICE just to ask them the simple question, 'Who are you again?', and the staff, tired of explaining the story of Clough and Champions Leagues, just scream FOREST, to which the FA becomes more confused because their isn't a team or player called FOREST is there? 

This goes on for hours and finally Sabri's phone starts to ring, and as he walks away to check his messages, only to realize it's now Saturday and they are late to their match AT Coventry...cursing under his breath, Sabri walks into the FA and demands a delay of 24 hours for their match against Coventry so that they go and play, but the FA responds with, "Who are you again?"

At this Sabri and Gabban reach over the table, and start to punch the FA croonies behind the table, which begins an all out brawl. Sow, manly due to lack of sleep, begins punching anyone in front of him, which includes two maids, a child, and Ameobi! Ameobi begin to punch back, but slips on the floor, and lands near Michael Dawson, which cause a slight vibration which ends up rupturing both of Dawson's legs, now it's just an absolute melee, with a bunch of grown ass men punching one another, and poor little Zach Clough trying to explain that yes, his name is Clough, but he isn't related to Nigel nor Brian, but he's clueless to the simple fact that no one is paying him any attention. 

The cops are called, and the two sides are broken up, and most of the Forest team are placed in the London prison for disorderly conduct...the FA have zero charges against them (obviously). 

Forest, for failure to show up, are forced to forfeit their match against Coventry, giving Forest their first two losses on the year. 

While in prison, Gabban find God and ends up retiring from Football to follow God's path, Dawson is sadly forced into retirement, and Ameobi is forced into 6 months of 'hard time', and the brawl ended up releasing a lot of pint up anger and he can't seem to stop screaming and trying to punch people. Clough is sold off because he won't talk talking about his last name, and Sabri is fired for having to forfeit a match in such an embarrassing fashion. 

Most of the team finally gets released in prison before their upcoming match against Barnsley, but they are all emotionally unstable and now can't seem to find any motivation to keep playing this sport, especially now that they don't have a manager. 

The end up losing to Barnsley, then Wycome, Bournemouth, Swans, Blackburn, and Rotherham, and Derby...

The wheels are falling apart, and while they aren't sitting top of the table anymore, they are still 14 points secure for the last playoff spot, and while preparing for Luton, Gabban walks in to the cheers of the rest of the team, and after a player's only meeting, he ends up converting all da Costa, Silva, Lolley, Freeman, Sow, Yates, and Carvalho to his new religion and those Forest are now without enough players to form a team! 

So they do some switching, getting some of their youth up and getting ready to finish off this year and move back up to the EPL where they belong. 

They lose to Luton (Thanks Gabban), but with over a week to prepare, they actually are able to draw against Watford! Here we go, baby! 

They follow that up with a tie at Reading, but losses against Norwich and the Bees, so now they have 77 points, which should be plenty of the points for the playoffs, and they still have a chance for automatic promotion with just 8 matches to go. 

They lose to Cardiff, beat QPR, lose to Bristol City, Huddesfield, and beat Birmingham...putting them at a whopping 83 points with 2 games remaining! Forest have officially qualified for the playoffs, but they don't care as they are even on points with Brentford for the final automatic promotion spot. 

They finish the year beating Sheffield and drawing PNE, and Brentford can't keep pace so Forest grab the 2nd spot on the final day! Automatic promotion! 

While in the locker room celebrating, the FA chief walks in and informs the team that they are being investigated for playing an illegal players. Taken aghast, they start to go back and forth about the indictment and who the player is, with the tempers just flaring up quickly as their two parties have a deep and painful history. 

It is finally determined by Queen of England that Forest played a player who was an illegal immigrant, and those Forest have to forfiet all points in the games in which he played, and since he's 17, Forest have to abandoned all points since Gabban's missionary journey, leaving Forest with 70 points at the end of the season, which places them in 7th again and out of the playoffs thanks to the Fair Play tie breaker that has now been enforced, meaning the Preston take the last spot and Forest have to suffer another year of mid-table football. 

Sound about right @Stan?

 

Yes! 

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Brentford and Forest top two. 
Norwich, Swansea, Preston and Stoke for the play-offs. 
Luton, Wednesday and Wycombe to go down. 

 

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Baffled by so many shouts for Watford. Basket case of a club and there’s already rumours that the players don’t like the new manager. They absolutely reek of “should be top six with the squad they have but they won’t settle, they’ll rattle off four managers and end up 12th”. 

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  1. Brentford
  2. Norwich
  3. Swansea
  4. Bournemouth
  5. Cardiff
  6. Nottingham Forest (yes, really @Eco)
  7. Derby
  8. Preston
  9. Watford
  10. Millwall
  11. Blackburn
  12. Bristol City
  13. QPR
  14. Reading
  15. Stoke
  16. Middlesbrough
  17. Coventry
  18. Luton
  19. Huddersfield
  20. Birmingham
  21. Rotherham
  22. Barnsley
  23. Sheff Weds
  24. Wycombe

As usual with the Championship, it'll go down to the final couple of weeks for play-offs positions to be determined. Realistically, anyone who I've not picked in top 6 all the way down to 12/13th could have a shot at it. It's hard to separate that bunch from 6-12th to be honest.

I think the top 3 have squads capable to have a promotion race like we did last season. Right down to the wire please!

The teams 14th downwards have little to no excitement about them. Bang average at best. Won't light up the league in any way apart from being involved in a goal-fest here or there across the season, most likely on the receiving end of a lube-less pounding. 

Ironically, Sheff Weds probably have the most about them but as above, they need a hell of a season to overturn that 12 point deduction. Embarrassing for any club to finish below them with that advantage on them. I think for Wycombe there's only so far Akinfenwa and a manager who looks like he's in a punk-rock band can take you. Similar to how wide open the play-offs can be, I think anyone I've picked from 17-22nd will follow Wednesday and Wycombe down to League One. 

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As I said earlier, Millwall are my big 'dark horse' to spring a surprise, really liking the make up of their team there.

But aside from them, I'm interested to see what Warnock does with Boro. Love him or loathe him, he has a knack of getting players pulling in the right direction.

Ashley Fletcher and Brit Assombalonga are a decent partnership in the making and they have a nice mix of youth and experience.

You would think Gibson would support Warnock so a couple more in through the door and they could make a surprise challenge for playoffs.

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On 11/09/2020 at 00:56, Lucas said:

I think it's going to be a bit like last year, a pretty open race.

But here is my predictions

Top 6

1. Norwich 

Epitome of a 'yo-yo' club. They have kept the foundations of Godfrey, Cantwell and Pukki and added some quality names to bolster the squad.

I think Ben Gibson is a solid signing at the back for them and Kieron Dowell is a good Championship standard midfielder. But I think the one to keep an eye on is Adam Idah, young striker. I see him having a big impact.

The only question mark is the losing mentality they found themselves in once the Premier League resumes. They seemed to chuck the towel in far too early and it won't be easy just to click and settle into a groove straight away.

2. Brentford

Ah, Thomas Frank. For what it's worth, I felt sorry for them last season on the whole. I just hope Thomas Frank has learnt to quit the silly mind games that only served to shoot him the foot.

The 'BMW' is no more and there is every chance they'll lose the 'B' before the end of the window. That said, with the absurd Watkins money, they will surely have a back up plan if Benrahma goes. All eyes on Ivan Toney to see if he can justify his own self belief.

The defence is rock solid and even if they lose Reya, I don't think it will derail them too much.

3. Watford

As it stands, they have an unbelievable squad on paper and should probably finish 1st.

But there is surely no way they will finish the window with some of those players, most notably the likes of Sarr and Deulofeu. You would assume they will be weakened somewhat.

The manager is an unknown quantity and whilst it has worked in the past with people like Jokanovic, that doesn't mean to say it will this time. Watford are known for their offfield issues

I don't know why but despite seeing so many tips of Watford to win it, I feel a bit of a 'Stoke City' vibe about them from when they came down. I feel like they might find this season a bit tricky and whilst I'm not fully convinced they will take 3rd, I can't ignore the obvious talent they have at their disposal.

Glenn Murray was a very canny signing and has gone completely under the radar. And Suarez and Quina look set for great seasons as this level.

4. Swansea

Snuck in by the skin of their teeth last season and are making good strides under Steve Cooper.

Rhian Brewster is a massive loss and they need to find a striker to go with Andre Ayew before the window closes for sure. Do that and they will be looking well set for another challenge.

Overall, a very tidy team with a good defence, play attractive football so the playoffs are a very realistic prospect. Keep an eye on Morgan Gibbs-White on loan from Wolves.

5. Stoke

Apart from when they played us, Stoke really finished the season strongly under Michael O'Neill and there's every reason to think they will carry on that vain. Momentum can sometimes be key.

They have seemingly got through the difficult spells, adjusted to Championship life and are now fairly comfortable in their surroundings having broken up the old side with a younger, much hungrier one.

6. Millwall

My dark horse. Gary Rowett is starting to build a promising team there.

Bialkowski kept the most clean sheets last season, Jake Cooper continues to grow at the back as well as a great goal threat in the box, Jed Wallace remains one if the division's best players and the loan signing of Troy Parrott promises to be an exciting prospect and great foil alongside big Matt Smith.

They will relish the 'underdog' tag and there is always one team that sneaks in the Top 6 unexpectedly.

Relegated

22nd Sheffield Wednesday

Minus 12 start is never ideal. I actually do think they have a great chance of turning that around and we've seen how teams react to these deductions.

But to ultimately stay up, they need to realistically have a 62-65pt season. Usually that is good enough for a solid midtable Championship side but I'm not convinced Wednesday are that side.

I feel they are more mid to lower, Gary Monk doesn't inspire me with his dour football, and I see them battling with Rotherham to stay up.

And I'd just tip Paul Warne's men to stay up, hence why I feel Wednesday will end up losing the fight.

23rd Huddersfield

I feel like Huddersfield are really on the decline. Since Wagner left they have just been going on a downward spiral and I think it's a tough as for our ex youth coach, Carlos Corboran to come in and lead them up the table.

I look at their squad and it doesn't impress me one bit. I can't say I've been too impressed with what they have done in the close season and they look well short of weapons.

The one outstanding player they have in Karlan Grant, is sure to be eyed up by someone, perhaps even in this same division and if he goes they really are fucked.

24th Wycombe

A true fairytale story for them being promoted, and whilst they will ruffle some feathers, I feel like they will come crashing back down to earth in the end. 

I still feel they were a little lucky to get the chance they did given they only got a playoff place on PPG much to the dismay of Peterborough and Sunderland and I'm not sure they were necessarily in the best shape to come up, unlike other teams in recent seasons.

They have an amazing team spirit on the face of it, the neutrals will back them and this will help them give an honest fight but the lack of quality will prevail.

I boiled the kettle after the first two and then you went from 6th to 22nd 😂

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On 11/09/2020 at 13:26, Lucas said:

As I said earlier, Millwall are my big 'dark horse' to spring a surprise, really liking the make up of their team there.

But aside from them, I'm interested to see what Warnock does with Boro. Love him or loathe him, he has a knack of getting players pulling in the right direction.

Ashley Fletcher and Brit Assombalonga are a decent partnership in the making and they have a nice mix of youth and experience.

You would think Gibson would support Warnock so a couple more in through the door and they could make a surprise challenge for playoffs.

I do like how Gary Rowett has implemented the Wilder way with his center backs. Quite surprised Cooper is still there in all honestly and the other two out performed him at times last season. I think a lot of their season depends on how Troy Parrot adapts. If he bangs then his goals should lift them from outsiders to firminly consolidated in the playoffs.

Middlesbrough have signed Sam Morsy who just strikes me as a Neil Warnock leader. Good on the ball and good off it. There's enough players there for him to work with and to listen to him. I think they need another center back with Hall and another versatile full back as they'll miss Friend, Ayala etc but I imagine (like you said) Gibson will back him.

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2 hours ago, The Palace Fan said:

I boiled the kettle after the first two and then you went from 6th to 22nd 😂

Yeah my bad. I started that post late and then found myself tiring so kept it to the positions that matter most.

The problem I find is the Championship is so open that its easy to waffle on and say similar things about similar clubs, especially your Preston's, Bristol City's, Cardiff's, Derby's etc.

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