Championship Grades Part 4

Written by Harry Martin

The Championship is a league that never fails to amaze, and what a fantastic season it has proven to be yet again, with the battle for second place going right to the last day at the Riverside Stadium. In a four part series All Out Football is going to run the rule over all twenty-four teams and assess how the campaign has fared for them.

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                                                                                       credit Sophia Boeer

Preston North End – Grade:B

North End’s first year back in the second tier should be seen as a very successful campaign, finishing 11th certainly takes some doing with the limited budget and strength of the squad as a whole. Before the season the aim would’ve been to avoid relegation and to establish themselves as a Championship team again. Daniel Johnson shone yet again chipping in with 9 goals and 2 assists in all competitions, very impressive from a midfield player. Mainly utilising a 5 at the back, Grayson made them hard to beat and this is arguably the most important tool to have in the division. A very steady season overall.

Queens Park Rangers – Grade:D

In my opinion, QPR had a very stale season, which never really got going. The West Londoners couldn’t find a rhythm after the departure of Charlie Austin in January and ultimately the goals dried up. Tjarron Chery had a very productive debut season at Loftus Road, showing moments of individual brilliance and netting 10 goals along the way. Finishing 12th may not seem all that bad, but Tony Fernandes can’t be all that impressed, with Rangers having one of the highest wage bills in the second tier. Hasselbaink certainly has a big Summer ahead in order to move them forward!

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                                                                                  credit Mark Hillary

Reading – Grade:E

A miserable season for the Berkshire club, it all started so well and looked like the Royals could push for the top 6, especially after a Summer where a lot of money was invested in to the playing staff. Matej Vydra came in for a massive £2.5 million on a season long loan, and to be quite frank failed to deliver. Orlando Sa and Lucas Piazon are among the other big names that joined the club. And when you couple the signings with the likes of Oliver Norwood, Garath McCleary and Chris Gunter, you have to wonder where it all went wrong. Big change needed at the club.

Rotherham United – Grade:B

A fantastic season for the Millers, and what a job Neil Warnock undertook! I’m sure most Rotherham fans would agree in that they looked dead and buried but a total revamp under Warnock kept them safe, comfortably safe in the end. The reason behind giving them B is that they really have no right to compete in the second tier with the budget available to them. But the unity and togetherness of that squad is top drawer. They never know when they’re beaten. If Rotherham can show that spirit from the off next year, then who knows where they could end up?

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                                                                                     credit John Lord

Sheffield Wednesday – Grade:A

Are the Owls heading up? What a remarkable season under Carlos Carvahal they have had. A summer of change which saw the likes of Barry Bannan, Marco Matias and Lucas Joao arrive at Hillsborough brought a sense of excitement around the place and the fans were certainly rewarded. Kieran Lee once again excelled in the midfield, making clever runs in to the box and causing a problem for his opposite number. Wednesday again were very solid defensively, only conceding 45 in 46 games, certainly a very impressive stat. All that lies between them and a return to the Premier League is Hull City at Wembley on Saturday!

Wolves – Grade:C

A 14th place finish for Wolves isn’t all that bad when you take into consideration the loss of the key trio which made them so successful last time round. Nouha Dicko only managed 6 appearances in all, and when news broke the Malian forward would be out for the season, not only did they lose goals, they lost that ability of running in behind. Bakary Sako is a player who can change a game in a moment, someone who gets fans of their seats and they failed to replace that, which in large was shown by the lack of goals scored. Benik Afobe’s departure in January also hit the club hard, as I feel he is one of the best natural finishers around. Moving forward, if they are to stick with Kenny Jackett, a striker has to top of the agenda, otherwise next season could be a struggle.

What do you make of your grade? Let us know in the comments below!

featured image by John Lord