Written by William Perrott
The Championship is said to be one of the best leagues in the world and with the fight for promotion to the top flight at stake and with Newcastle, Aston Villa and Norwich joining one of the most competitive leagues in the world, the 16/17 campaign is set to be an excellent one.
Just under two weeks left till the football season kicks off I look at three teams who could shock the championship and cause a real upset.
After a disappointing campaign last time out it looks as if Massimo Cellino is owning up to his mistakes and trying to rectify them, by bringing in a brilliant manager in Garry Monk, as well as splashing the cash on some good talent such as Robert Green, Kemar Roofe, Matt Grimes and Kyle Bartley. It’s obvious that Cellino is trying to redevelop a relationship with the Leeds fans after it was lost last season and what better way to do that than building a team capable of achieving promotion. I believe that Leeds have a very good chance of at least reaching the top six, and that’s the least the Leeds fans deserve after sticking by their team in last seasons disappointing campaign. We all know pre-season friendlies are nothing to go off but Leeds have put in some positive performances despite losing against Peterborough United, they put on a real show in the first half and their squad looks like it’s coming together, new signing Matt Grimes was one player of many who was outstanding in that friendly and by the looks of it Garry Monk is putting a side together who are hungry for success. Elland Road will be rocking next season as Leeds will be looking to march on together to the Premier League and I feel they have the right players with the right mentality to do so. Leeds United are sure to be a team to watch out for this season.
Barnsley provided a real shock last season, on the 28th November 2015 they were sitting rock bottom of League One but from New Year’s Day. That all changed as The Tykes hit a tremendous bit of form, they played 23 games and won 15 of them despite a change of manager in February. Barnsley didn’t go downhill after they lost their highly rated manager Johnson as many thought they would, but instead they only got stronger under new boss, Paul Heckingbottom who took over as caretaker, for the second time until the end of the season. Heckingbottom and his young side booked there place in the Championship for August the 6th after a very convincing play off final win over Millwall. Barnsley’s form was so good towards the back end of the season, that the fans believe that the talented players they already have such as Conor Hourihane who got 10 goals and 11 assists last campaign, can be a success in the highly competitive Championship! They have added some fresh faces to their squad in the likes of George Moncur and Tom Bradshaw who are highly rated in the English leagues. If those players and the players they had last season, such as Adam Hammill come together then Barnsley could put up a good fight this season and finish in the top half and maybe even the top six. Many are expecting them to go straight back down, but Paul Heckingbottom is hungry for success yet again this season, and with the signings they have made and the performances they have put in over pre-season the Tykes are not to be written off as they will certainly surprise a few.
The Terriers will be confident going into the 16/17 Campaign, they look a different side this time round compared to this time last year. New boss David Wagner has installed ambition and confidence into the club with some fantastic signings such as Jack Payne and there record signing Christopher Schindler. The Yorkshire based club have signed a number of new players, yes they have lost a few players on top of that, but they haven’t been players that the fans are worried about losing which is definitely a positive. It shows that David Wagner is building a squad who can compete and he has exactly the right mix of players that is needed in a winning squad. He has the experience in players such as Dean Whitehead and the flair and the hunger of the young players such as Jack Payne, and Kasey Palmer. In every team you need a goal scorer and Huddersfield have one of those in Nakhi Wells, who has netted 39 goals for Huddersfield Town since signing from Bradford in 2014 and he knows he has the ability to hit 15+ in a single season. With the squad around him now strengthened I think he could be looking at a 20 goal a season campaign. Huddersfield could certainly be a team to challenge the likes of newcomers Aston Villa and Newcastle in the race to the promised land.
Do you agree with these three choices? Who are your teams to watch in the 16/17 season? Let us know in the comments!