Over a quarter of the way into the season, the Championship has once again has produced the goods. Back in August I had a go at making my predictions and have already been left red faced by the most unpredictable and competitive division in English football. Despite this there are so many games left to be played and anything can happen from now until May. However with the foundations set for the season ahead I assess each club’s start to the campaign. Links to the other parts can be found at the bottom of this article.
Burton Albion – 22nd – Grade: B-
Probably the season you’d expect from the Brewers so far and that itself deserves some credit. Some decent points away from home can certainly get them out of trouble but it is at home where you’d expect them to decide their fate. So far a couple of wins have come at the Pirelli Stadium and they need to build on that to survive again. When you look at Bolton’s troubles it puts it into perspective that Burton Albion are a very competitive side more often than not and that should be praised.
Cardiff City – 2nd – Grade: A+
This Neil Warnock side has shown a lot of different qualities to suggest they won’t be easily pushed away from their automatic spot they currently hold. That alone deserves an A+, when you looked at the line up that lost to Birmingham last game it demonstrates the job Warnock has done, getting the most out of a combative but unspectacular group.
Derby County – 13th – Grade: C
The Rams have played one fewer than the majority of sides in the league and occupy themselves in mid-table. Gary Rowett hasn’t seen the best of his side yet you would think, they’ve not put anymore than two wins together and the Derby of old were more than capable of doing that. Despite not having the spending power that the likes of McClaren had, Rowett for me has enough in his ranks to work his magic. I think Derby should definitely be flirting with the play-offs come May so they’ve set themselves up to have a go but I think they’re still under-performing slightly.
Fulham – 9th – Grade: C+
A lot was expected of Fulham after the play-off disappointment and I don’t think they’ve really shown what they’re capable of yet. Their last match where they overturned a 2-0 deficit is very encouraging though and shows the Cottagers are an unpredictable side. A play-off push again would be a decent outcome from what is often described as the best footballing outfit in the division, they’re on track just two points behind the top six so a steady start for Jokanovic’s men.
Hull City – 16th – Grade: C-
I’d probably expect this from the Tigers. They aren’t in the best shape following the transfer window and Slutsky was always going to be faced with a challenging job, they’ve had some emphatic wins but a real mix of fortunes means there is plenty of improvements to be made. Jarrod Bowen is arguably the youngest success story of the season so far, having notched 7 goals. I would continue to expect inconsistency and a mid-table finish so with it being so tight on points I’d say Hull have been slightly under par.
Ipswich Town – 10th – Grade: A-
Mick McCarthy continues to succeed as Ipswich Town boss. 4 straight wins got them off to a flyer and they deserve a lot of credit for going up against some big spenders in the division, they have tailed off a little but with a game in hand, sit just 2 points off the top six which makes for good reading in my opinion.
Do you agree with your clubs grade? Let us know in the comments below!
Part 1 Here