Early Doors

Championship preview

Early Doors

Eurosport-Yahoo!'s team-by-team guide to the 2011/12 Championship season.


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Manager: Sam Allardyce

10/11 Season: 20th, Premier League

Strengths: A core of experienced players running through the squad with developing young talent such as Freddie Sears, Jack Collison, Junior Stanislas and Zavon Hines which look set to set the Championship alight.

Weaknesses: With a number of the squad's transfer status shrouded in doubt, the continuing speculation may prove to be very unsettling for Allardyce's side, who will be desperate for the campaign to begin.

Key man: Kevin Nolan. The former Bolton and Newcastle captain was perhaps the steal of the summer transfer window with his leadership and goalscoring capabilities from midfield.

Ins: Abdoulaye Faye (Stoke, free); Kevin Nolan (Newcastle, undisclosed); Jordan Spence (loan expired); Joey O'Brien (Bolton, free); Matthew Taylor (Bolton, free)

Outs: Kieron Dyer (QPR, free); Radoslav Kovac (Basel, undisclosed); Demba Ba (Newcastle, free); Danny Gabbidon (QPR, free); Anthony Edgar (Yeovil, free); Thomas Hitzlsperger (released); Manuel Da Costa (Lokomotiv Moscow, undisclosed); Lars Jacobsen (released); Jonathan Spector (released); Matthew Upson (released); Jordan Spence (Bristol City, loan); Luis Boa Morte (released)

Prediction: Champions



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Manager: Sven-Goran Eriksson

10/11 Season: 10th, Championship

Strengths: Quite simply, Eriksson has bought, and bought well. In Matthew Mills and Sean St Ledger the Foxes have two solid and dependable defenders to shore up the back line and there are always goals around with such quality in attack.

Weaknesses: Eriksson will have a stern challenge attempting to incorporate his host of new signings within a squad which narrowly missed out on promotion last season. Oh, and there's also a fair bit of pressure on his side after such spending.

Key man: Andy King. The Leicester skipper is a leader beyond his years at just 22 and provides both steel and dynamism from midfield, scoring 16 goals in a consistent last campaign.

Ins: Matthew Mills (Reading, undisclosed); David Nugent (Portsmouth, free); Sean St Ledger (Preston, undisclosed); Lee Peltier (Huddersfield, undisclosed); Kasper Schmeichel (Leeds, undisclosed); Michael Johnson (Manchester City, loan); John Pantsil (Fulham, free); Paul Konchesky (Liverpool, undisclosed); Neil Danns (Crystal Palace, free); Ricardo (Unattached, free); Gelson Fernandes (St Etienne, loan)

Outs: Tom Parkes (Burton, loan); Aman Verma (released); Robbie Neilson (released); Cian Bolger (Bristol Rovers, loan); Luke O'Neill, released); Craig King, released); Ashley Chambers (York, undisclosed)

Prediction: Runners-up



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Manager: Steve McClaren

10/11 Season: Sixth, Championship

Strengths: McClaren has a track record of having his club sides very well drilled, both in defence and attack, and at Forest the former England boss has a group of players used to being in contention with the return of Andy Reid a popular addition.

Weaknesses: Forest are all too used to fading out of the promotion race at the death or not holding their nerve at the play-off stage. Unless McClaren can inspire a new ruthless edge, it could be another season of disappointment.

Key man: Lewis McGugan. Still only 22-years-old, McGugan has a cutting edge which McClaren will have to utilise if his side are to stage a promotion challenge. Thirteen goals and 15 assists in the last campaign bode well for the midfielder's upcoming season.

Ins: Andy Reid (Blackpool, free); Jonathan Greening (Fulham, undisclosed); George Boateng (Unattached, free)

Outs: Robert Earnshaw (Cardiff, free); Julian Bennett (Sheffield Wednesday, free); Paul McKenna (Hull, free); Dele Adebola (Hull, free); Kelvin Wilson (Celtic, free); Nathan Tyson (Derby, free); Nialle Rodney (Bradford, free); Mark Byrne (Barnet, free)

Prediction: Third; play-off winners



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Manager: Brian McDermott

10/11 Season: Fifth, Championship

Strengths: Reading
have goals in abundance with players who love to maraud forward from
defence and midfield, while strikers Shane Long, Simon Church and Noel
Hunt all contribute to the overall tally.

Weaknesses: The
losses of defensive stars Ivar Ingimarsson and Matthew Mills to Ipswich
and Leicester respectively represent big blows to McDermott's side. It
will be a hugely impressive effort for the boss to recover such a solid

Key man: Jobi McAnuff. The midfielder has excelled
since being handed the captaincy by McDermott, and his pace and guile is
a potent combination in terrorising opposing defences in the

Ins: Mikele Leigertwood (QPR, free); Cameron Edwards (Perth Glory, free); Bongani Khumalo (Tottenham, loan)

Outs: Matthew
Mills (Leicester, undisclosed); Ivar Ingimarsson (Ipswich, free);
Abdulai Bell-Baggie (released); Dave Mooney (released); Julian Kelly
(Notts County, free); Scott Davies (Crawley, undisclosed); Jake Taylor (Aldershot, loan)

Prediction: Fourth



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Manager: Paul Jewell

10/11 Season: 13th, Championship

Strengths: Town
have been also-rans in recent seasons, but Jewell has wisely acquired
the experience of Lee Bowyer and Ivar Ingimarsson, while adding the
proven goalscorer Michael Chopra. While not being a large squad, Jewell
has talent at his disposal.

Weaknesses: Consistency has
been the real problem for Ipswich in recent seasons and Jewell needs to
instil a winning mentality. The losses of goalscoring midfielder David
Norris and defender Gareth McAuley could prove costly.

Key man: Michael
Chopra. The former Newcastle and Cardiff striker has proven himself to
be a prolific goalscorer at Championship level, and he has the potential
firepower to drive Ipswich up into contention.

Ins: Nathan
Ellington (Watford, free); Ivar Ingimarsson (Reading, free); Michael
Chopra (Cardiff, undisclosed); Lee Bowyer (Birmingham, free); Aaron
Cresswell (Tranmere, free); Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Arsenal, undisclosed); David Stockdale (Fulham, loan)

Outs: Gareth McAuley (WBA,
free); Connor Wickham (Sunderland, £8.1m); David Norris (Portsmouth,
free); Troy Brown (Rotherham, free); Tom Eastman (Colchester, free); Conor Hourihane (Plymouth, free); Luciano Civelli (released); Alan Quinn (released); Kevin Lisbie (released); Pablo Counago (released); Billy Clark (released); Reggie Lambe (released); Brian Murphy (released)

Prediction: Fifth


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Manager: Malky Mackay

10/11 Season: Fourth, Championship

Strengths: The
signing of Robert Earnshaw sees one of the club's most potent forwards
return to the club and he should get good supply courtesy of Peter
Whittingham, Aron Gunnarsson and Stephen McPhail, among others.

Weaknesses: The
onus will be heavily upon Earnshaw to score goals with the Bluebirds
having seen Michael Chopra, Craig Bellamy and Jay Bothroyd all depart.

Key man: Peter
Whittingham. Having scored 20 goals in the 2009-10 campaign,
Whittingham had a rather more fragmented last season. Expect the former
Villa midfielder to thrive under Mackay's guidance and provide valuable
creativity and goals.

Ins: Joe Mason (Plymouth,
undisclosed); Aron Gunnarsson (Coventry, free); Robert Earnshaw
(Nottingham Forest, free); Andrew Taylor (Middlesbrough, free); Don
Cowie (Watford, free); Craig Conway (Dundee United, free); Kenny Miller (Bursaspor, undisclosed); Filip Kiss (Slovan Bratislava, loan); 

Outs: Jay Bothroyd (QPR, free); Adam Matthews (Celtic, free); Michael Chopra (Ipswich, undisclosed); Chris Burke (Birmingham, free); Gavin Rae (released); Martin John (released)

Prediction: Sixth



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Manager: Chris Hughton

10/11 Season: 18th, Premier League

Strengths: Experience. Hughton has recently steered Newcastle out of the Championship, while many of the players still left at his disposal have a wealth of experience. If the Blues can keep some of their key Premier League stars, a swift return is possible.

Weaknesses: The financially stricken Midlands club have seen many of their stars depart following relegation, including their defensive rock, Roger Johnson. Can they find fresh impetus despite such recent blows?

Key man: Steven Caldwell. The free signing from Wigan possesses crucial experience for the Blues after the high-profile departures of stalwarts such as Lee Bowyer, Barry Ferguson, Roger Johnson and Kevin Phillips. Caldwell needs to be the signing which steadies the ship for Hughton's side.

Ins: Steven Caldwell (Wigan, free); Adam Rooney (Inverness, free); Morgaro Gomis (Dundee United, free); Boaz Myhill (West Brom, loan); Chris Burke (Cardiff, free); Marlon King (Coventry, free); Jonathan Spector (West Ham, free)

Outs: Roger Johnson (Wolves, £7m); Kevin Phillips (Blackpool, free); Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland, free); Craig Gardner (Sunderland, undisclosed); Ben Foster (West Brom, loan); Jay O'Shea (MK Dons, free); Barry Ferguson (Blackpool, undisclosed); Martin Jiranek (Terek Grozny, free); Lee Bowyer (Ipswich, free); James McFadden (released); Dan Preston (released); Stuart Parnaby (released); Maik Taylor (released); Marcus Bent (released); Mitchell McPike (released); Robin Shroot (released)

Prediction: Seventh



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Manager: Nigel Adkins

10/11 Season: Second, League One

Strengths: The Saints have the momentum from League One promotion and a bright manager in Adkins who encourages them to play with freedom and flair. In Adam Lallana, Alex Chamberlain and Morgan Schneiderlin they have creativity from midfield.

Weaknesses: Adkins has not been able to bring in many new players in the transfer window and his squad may be severely tested with many youngsters having the pressure of stepping up a level.

Key man: Ricky Lambert. Southampton have flashier players within their ranks, but Lambert's 21 goals in the last campaign effectively ensured promotion and Adkins will be looking for his centre forward to deliver the goods to keep his side up.

Ins: Jack Cork (Chelsea, undisclosed); Steve De Ridder (De Graafschap, undisclosed)

Outs: Oscar Gobern (Huddersfield, undisclosed); Anthony Pulis (released); Callum McNish (released); Tony Garrod (released); Ryan Tafazolli (released)

Prediction: Eighth



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Manager: Simon Grayson

10/11 Season: Seventh, Championship

Strengths: If Leeds can be solid at the back then they could stage a promotion push. There will always be goals with Luciano Becchio around, who scored 19 times last season, while Michael Brown adds steel in midfield.

Weaknesses: Having sold Kasper Schmeichel to Leicester, Leeds have a great deal of uncertainty between the posts, and a defence which has not proved the sturdiest at the best of times.

Key man: Robert Snodgrass. The instrumental midfielder racked up 39 appearances in the Championship last season and proved a key player for Grayson's side. With Leeds having held on to Snodgrass, expect him to thrive again in this campaign.

Ins: Michael Brown (Portsmouth, free); Paul Rachubka (Blackpool, free); Andy Lonergan (Preston, undisclosed); Darren O'Dea (Celtic, loan)

Outs: Bradley Johnson (Norwich, free); Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester, undisclosed); Richard Naylor (released); Shane Higgs (released); Neil Kilkenny (Bristol City, free)

Prediction: Ninth



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Manager: Tony Mowbray

10/11 Season: 12th, Championship

Strengths: In
Mowbray, the Boro faithful have a manager they trust and the former
defensive stalwart has been busy attempting to instil a steely edge to
his side. Expect Boro to be well drilled at the back, and solid in

Weaknesses: Boro's midfield is much maligned for a
lack of creativity and if that is not remedied ahead of the upcoming
campaign then a dearth of goals could again be the result.

Key man: Scott
McDonald. The Australian had a patchy last campaign with 12 goals in 38
games, but his goalscoring abilities are undoubted and if he can find
his confidence in front of goal he could just inspire Boro to a strong

Ins: Curtis Main (free); Malaury Martin (Blackpool, free); Carl Ikeme (Wolves, loan)

Outs: Willo
Flood (Dundee United, free); Andrew Taylor (Cardiff, free); Maximilian
Haas (released); Didier Digard (Nice, undisclosed); Kris Boyd
(Eskisehirspor; undisclosed); Sam Filler (Stirling, free); Leroy Lita (Swansea, £1.75m)

Prediction: 10th



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Manager: Gus Poyet

10/11 Season: First, League One

Strengths: A new home at the Falmer Stadium, momentum from having romped away with the League One title, and a bright young manager who has brought in numerous new faces: Brighton have a lot going for them, particularly in attack.

Weaknesses: Despite having lots of talent going forward, Brighton could be tested at the back against superior attacks in the Championship. Poyet is aware of the potential problem of shipping goals, and his side will need to be on their guard.

Key man: Craig Mackail-Smith. The forward signed from Peterborough is a born goalscorer and scored 27 goals in the last campaign. Poyet's flagship signing of the summer, expect the striker to be near the top of the scoring charts.

Ins: Romain Vincelot (Dag & Red, undisclosed); Kazenga LuaLua (Newcastle, loan); Craig Mackail-Smith (Peterborough, undisclosed); Roland Bergkamp (Excelsior, undisclosed); Will Buckley (Watford, £1m); Will Hoskins (Bristol Rovers, undisclosed)

Outs: Jim McNulty (Barnsley, undisclosed); Elliott Bennett, undisclosed); James Tunnicliffe (Wycombe, free); Glenn Murray (Crystal Palace, free); Gary Hart (Eastbourne, undisclosed); Francisco Sandaza (St Johnstone, free)

Prediction: 11th



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Manager: Nigel Pearson

10/11 Season: 11th, Championship

Strengths: Manager, strike force. The manager has great Championship know-how and has assembled a squad that is difficult to beat. In Fryatt, McLean, Simpson and Adebola he also has a strike force that should ensure the Tigers avoid the scoring problems they endured last year.

Weaknesses: Bullard. Lack of defensive numbers. The Jimmy Bullard saga is still unresolved; they must not let it be a distraction again. They also look at least one centre-half short at the moment. Any injuries early in the season and they could be exposed.

Key man: Matty Fryatt. The 25-year old hot-shot striker made his move to the KC Stadium in January 2010 and notched 9 goals in 22 appearances. The proven Championship striker was previously a hit with Leicester City and should be on goal-scoring form ahead of the 2011-12 campaign.

Ins: Peter Gulacsi (Liverpool, loan); Paul McKenna (Nottingham Forest, free); Dele Adebola (Nottingham Forest, free); Joe Dudgeon (Manchester United, undisclosed); Jack Hobbs (Leicester, undisclosed); Corry Evans (Manchester United, undisclosed); Robert Brady (Manchester United, loan)

Outs: Liam Cooper (Huddersfield, loan); Nolberto Solano (Hartlepool, free); Mark Cullen (Bury, loan)

Prediction: 12th



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Manager: Ian Holloway

10/11 Season: 19th, Premier League

Strengths: Holloway has ensured that his side is brimming with experience and the addition of Kevin Phillips should help assist the younger players in the squad. Despite numerous departures, Blackpool will play with aggression.

Weaknesses: The Tangerines have been forced to sell many key players, none more important than the talismanic Charlie Adam and David Vaughan. Recovering from relegation without such important stars will be extremely difficult.

Key man: Gary Taylor-Fletcher. The 30-year-old was a hit as Blackpool secured their promotion from the Championship and he is expected to thrive once more as the Tangerines look to bounce straight back up.

Ins: Kevin Phillips (Birmingham, free); Josh Egan (Cheltenham, free); Bojan Djordjic (Videoton, free); Matt Hill (Unattached, free); Bob Harris (Queen of the South, free); Barry Ferguson (Birmingham, undisclosed); Paul Bignot (Newport, undisclosed); Angel (Espanyol, free); Tom Ince (Liverpool, loan); Miguel Llera (Charlton, free)

Outs: David Vaughan (Sunderland, free); Charlie Adam (Liverpool, undisclosed); Andy Reid (Nottingham Forest (free); Rob Edwards (Barnsley, free); Paul Rachubka (Leeds, free); Danny Coid (Accrington, free); Ishmel Demontagnac (Notts County, free); David Carney (released); Jason Euell (released); Richard Kingson (released); Marlon Harewood (released); Malaury Martin (Middlesbrough, free); DJ Campbell (QPR, £1.25m)

Prediction: 13th



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Manager: Eddie Howe

10/11 Season: Eighth, Championship

Strengths: Burnley have an abundance of creativity from midfield with Martin Paterson, Chris McCann and Wade Elliott among those who can inject a touch of flair when required to break down opposing defences.

Weaknesses: Howe has a very thin first-team squad and has been unable thus far to bolster his ranks. Burnley will have to hope they can keep their starting XI fit for the vast majority of the season.

Key man: Chris McCann. The midfielder has gone from strength to strength since being named as captain and he will have the onus on him to carry his side through the campaign with Howe having a threadbare squad at his disposal.

Ins: Ben Mee (Manchester City, loan); Kieran Trippier (Manchester City, loan); Keith Treacy (Burnley); Jon Stewart (Unattached, free)

Outs: Chris Iwelumo (Watford, undisclosed); Steven Thompson (St Mirren, free); Nathan Delfouneso (Aston Villa, loan expired); Clarke Carlisle (Preston, loan); Kevin McDonald (released); Remco van der Schaaf (released); Chris Anderson (released); Michael King (released); Graham Alexander (released); Chris Eagles (Bolton, undisclosed); Tyrone Mears (Bolton, undisclosed)

Prediction: 14th



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Manager: Kenny Jackett

10/11 Season: Ninth, Championship

Strengths: Millwall conceded just 48 goals last season which should have secured them promotion had the scored more at the other end. If Darius Henderson et al can put that right, don't rule the London club out of contention.

Weaknesses: The club will need more than another striker to ensure that they score more goals in the upcoming campaign: Jackett is desperate for more creativity from midfield and it will certainly be required.

Key man: Darius Henderson. The former Sheffield United and Watford forward has proved himself to be a prolific goalscorer at Championship level and he should respond very positively to having secured a fresh move away from

Ins: Jordan Stewart (Skoda Xanthi, free); Ryan Allsop (WBA, undisclosed); Therry Racon (Charlton, free); Darius Henderson (Sheffield United, undisclosed)

Outs: Marc Laird (Leyton Orient, free); Theo Robinson (Derby, undisclosed); Danny Schofield (Rotherham, free); John Sullivan (Charlton, free); Andy Frampton (Gillingham, free); Ashley Grimes (Rochdale, free); Neil Harris (Southend, free); Steve Morison (Norwich, undisclosed); Kiernan Hughes-Mason (released); Patrick O'Connor (released)

Prediction: 15th



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Manager: Nigel Clough

10/11 Season: 19th, Championship

Strengths: Frankie
Fielding. The Rams shipped the second highest amount of goals outside
of the relegation places last season. England under-21 goalkeeper Fielding will shore up their defence and will be looking forward
to some regular first-team action.

Weaknesses: Conceding
late on. Derby suffered with this for the duration of the season. They
conceded more goals in the last 10 minutes than any other side in the
Championship. Boss Nigel Clough admitted that it was a 'mental problem'
that needed eradicating before the start of the new season.

Key man: Fielding. The former Blackburn Rovers keeper is just what was required
at Pride Park. The 23-year old had successful loan spells with the Rams
and will be keen to improve upon them now he is a permanent member of
the squad.

Ins: Adam Legzdins (Burton, undisclosed); Chris
Maguire (Aberdeen, undisclosed); Theo Robinson (Millwall, undisclosed);
Jason Shackell (Barnsley, undisclosed); Craig Bryson (Kilmarnock,
undisclosed); Jamie Ward (Sheffield United, undisclosed); Frank Fielding
(Blackburn, undisclosed); Nathan Tyson (Nottingham Forest, free)

Outs: Arnaud Mendy (Macclesfield, free); Luke Varney (Portsmouth, undisclosed); Miles Addison (Barnsley, loan); Chris Porter (Sheffield United, free); Greg Mills (released); Ben Pringle (Rotherham, free); Michael Boulding (released); Robbie Savage (retired)

Prediction: 16th



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Manager: Steve Cotterill

10/11 Season: 16th, Championship

Strengths: Pompey have an abundance of talent in attack, besides the veteran forward Nwankwo Kanu. Luke Varney and Dave Kitson are both proven goalscorers at this level, and Liam Lawrence always chips in with a fair tally from midfield.

Weaknesses: It's the perennial problem for Cotterill. Portsmouth have a threadbare squad and it will be a stern challenge for the manager to shuffle his pack accordingly throughout an arduous campaign.

Key man: David Norris. The former Ipswich captain represents a very shrewd signing for Cotterill and a real coup. If the midfielder can score goals and create as much as he did at Portman Road, Portsmouth could excel.

Ins: Greg Halford (Wolves, undisclosed); Stephen Henderson (Bristol City, undisclosed); Luke Varney (Derby, undisclosed); Jason Pearce (Bournemouth, undisclosed); David Norris (Ipswich, free)

Outs: Michael Brown (Leeds, free); David Nugent (Leicester, free); Nadir Ciftci (Kayserispor, free); Richard Hughes (released); Darryl Flahavan (Bournemouth, free); Peter Gregory (released); Tom Kilbey (released); Danny Webber (released); Marlon Pack (Cheltenham, free)

Prediction: 17th



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Manager: Keith Millen

10/11 Season: 15th, Championship

Strengths: Millen's side scored as many goals as Millwall, who finished ninth - six places higher in the table. If as many goals are scored this season then the play-offs could be possible, with a better record at the back also vital.

Weaknesses: City conceded far too many goals last season to secure a top-half finish in the Championship, and Millen will have to work extremely hard to shore up his defence prior to the upcoming season to put that right.

Key man: Jon Stead. The former Blackburn forward's ability is undoubted, and he scored nine goals in 27 games last season. If he can take his form into the upcoming campaign he could fire City to a decent standing.

Ins: Ryan Taylor (Rotherham, undisclosed); Neil Kilkenny (Leeds, undisclosed); Yannick Bolasie (Plymouth, undisclosed); Jordan Spence (West Ham, loan)

Outs: Stephen Henderson (Portsmouth, undisclosed); John Akinde (Crawley, undisclosed); Jordan Spence (West Ham, loan expired); Ivan Sproule (Hibernian, free)

Prediction: 18th



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Manager: Andy Thorn

10/11 Season: 18th, Championship

Strengths: Joe Murphy. The Sky Blues shipped a lot of goals last season and had a very poor goal difference at the end of the campaign. The signing of Joe Murphy, who proved to be a success at Scunthorpe United over the past five seasons, will please the Coventry faithful.

Weaknesses: Allowing key players to leave. Three important players have recently been allowed to leave the club which will be a disadvantage to the side next season. Marlon King, Kieren Westwood and  Aron Gunnarsson have all moved on which will affect the side's chances of chasing promotion.

Key man: Joe Murphy. Murphy was one of seven players to be released by Scunthorpe United in May 201. He was not offered a contract owing to cost-cutting measures following the Iron's relegation, and once bigger clubs' interest had become obvious.

Ins: Joe Murphy (Scunthorpe, free); Chris Dunn (Northampton, free)

Outs: Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff, free); Stephen O'Halloran (Carlisle, free); Keiren Westwood (Sunderland, free); Isaac Osbourne (Aberdeen, free); Marlon King (Birmingham, free); Lee Carsley (retired); Michael McIndoe (released); Michael Quirke (released)

Prediction: 19th



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Manager: Sean Dyche

10/11 Season: 14th, Championship

Strengths: Experience of key players. Dyche has recruited the likes of well-travelled Chris Iwelumo as well as Mark Yeates. Players such as this will help to lead the line and spur the Hornets on to a better finish this time around.

Weaknesses: Strength in depth. The Hornets won a quite dismal four of their last 21 games of the 2010-11 season - slipping from a play-off position of 6th to a disappointing 14th in the process.

Key man: Chris Iwelumo. With the departure of the Championship's top goalscorer Danny Graham, Dyche has brought in the experienced Iwelumo, who is sure to have a healthy goal return. 

Ins: Chris Iwelumo (Burnley, undisclosed); Mark Yeates (Sheffield United, undisclosed); David Mirfin (Scunthorpe, free); Craig Forsyth (Dundee, undisclosed); Carl Dickinson (Stoke, undisclosed); Prince Buaben (Unattached, free)

Outs: Don Cowie (Cardiff, free); Nathan Ellington (Ipswich, free); Danny Graham (Swansea, £3.5m); Will Buckley (Brighton, £1m); Liam Henderson (York, undisclosed); Mat Sadler (Walsall, free); Tom Aldred (Inverness, loan); Rob Kiernan (released)

Prediction: 20th



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Manager: Darren Ferguson

10/11 Season: Fourth, League One

Strengths: Scoring. The League 1 promotion winners notched more goals than any other club in that division last season and will look to continue their fine scoring record this season. However, top goal scorer Craig Mackail-Smith has since departed to Brighton and Hove Albion so they will look to find goals elsewhere.

Weaknesses: Defending. Despite scoring the most goals in the league, Posh also shipped more than any side that avoided relegation - a worrying statistic ahead of their return to the Championship.

Key man: Ryan Tunnicliffe. With Posh looking to build on their defensive astuteness ahead of the 2011-12 campaign, Darren Ferguson has brought in a number of Manchester United loanees from his father - none more important than defender Ryan Tunnicliffe.

Ins: Scott Wootton (Manchester United, loan); Ryan Tunnicliffe (Manchester United, loan); Craig Alcock (Yeovil, undisclosed); Nicky Ajose (Manchester United, undisclosed); Paul Jones (Exeter, free)

Outs: Rene Howe (Torquay, free); Charlie Lee (Gillingham, undisclosed); Craig Mackail-Smith (Brighton, undisclosed); Chris Whelpdale (Gillingham, undisclosed); Nana Ofori-Twumasi (Northampton, free); Steve Collis (released); Arron Davies (Northampton, free); Dominic Green (released)

Prediction: 21st



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Manager: Dougie Freedman

10/11 Season: 20th, Championship

Strengths: Strong spine. The Eagles have very accomplished players throughout the spine of their team which will help the less-experienced players improve and hopefully help them achieve a higher placed finish. Players like Speroni, Clyne, Moxey, Ambrose, Dikgacoi and Easter will be key this season.

Weaknesses: Scoring. Palace struggled with goals last season, and with their strike force's collective goal return it is no wonder why. Manager Dougie Freedman has brought in two midfielders so far, but will surely be looking to bolster his attacking options or they could find themselves in trouble again.

Key man: Kagisho Dikgacoi. The South African joined Palace on loan from Fulham in January and made an immediate impact. So much so that Freedman was keen to bring him to the club permanently. The 26-year old midfielder has made 37 appearances for Bafana Bafana and is sure to bring all his experience and knowledge to Crystal Palace.

Ins: Mile Jedinak (free); Kagisho Dikgacoi (Fulham, undisclosed); Glenn Murray (Brighton, free); Jonathan Parr (Aalesund, undisclosed); Andrew Davies (Stoke, loan); Ryan McGivern (Manchester City, loan)

Outs: Alassane N'Diaye (Southend, loan); Neil Danns (Leicester, free); Adam Barrett (Bournemouth, undisclosed); Kieran Djilali (released); Claude Davis (released); Charlie Mann (released)

Prediction: 22nd; relegated



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Manager: Keith Hill

10/11 Season: 17th, Championship

Strengths: Barnsley have excellent young players coming through such as Jacob Butterfield and Reuben Noble-Lazarus.

Weaknesses: Losing assured centre-half and captain Jason Shackell to Derby is a big blow. The quality of the Tykes squad is also a worry, with the new boss bringing in lower-league players so far.

Key man: Bobby Hassell. The auxiliary defender can play anywhere across the back line and has become the fans' favourite since signing in 2004.

Ins: Scott Wiseman (Rochdale, undisclosed); Jim McNulty (Brighton, undisclosed); Rob Edwards (Blackpool, undisclosed); Miles Addison (Derby, loan); Craig Davies (Chesterfield, free); Matt Done (Rochdale, undisclosed); David Perkins (Colchester, free); Ricardo Vaz Te (Unattached, free)

Outs: Jason Shackell (Derby, undisclosed); Matt Hill (released); Conor Branson (released); Danny Fearnehough (released); Martin Devaney (released); Hugo Colace (released); Kern Miller (Accrington, loan); Liam Dickinson (Southend, free); Steven Bennett (released)

Prediction: 23rd; relegated



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Manager: Sean O'Driscoll

10/11 Season: 21st, Championship

Strengths: Solid structure of British players. All but one of their 24 players are British. This should see them build upon their impressive team spirit, which proved so key in their battle for survival last season.

Weaknesses: Strength in depth. The side narrowly avoided the drop last term after a poor run of form and substantial injury list. Manager Shaun O'Driscoll is determined to bolster the squad, which is a must if the side are to survive again this season, but has only acquired two new players.

Key man: Billy Sharpe. Since first appearing for the Rovers 2009, where he spent this season on loan before making a record £1.3 million move, Billy Sharpe has notched an impressive 30 goals in 62 appearances. Expect the striker to continue his rich run of form for the upcoming campaign.

Ins: Richard Naylor (free); Kyle Bennett (Bury, undisclosed); Chris Brown (Preston, free); Tommy Spur (Sheffield Wednesday, £200,000); Ryan Mason (Tottenham, loan); Rachid Bouhenna (Sedan, free)

Outs: Ryan Burge (Hyde, undisclosed); Wayne Thomas (Atromitos, free); Byron Webster (Northampton, free); Dean Shiels (Kilmarnock, loan); Waide Fairhurst (Macclesfield, undisclosed); Brad Grayson (released); Jordan Bradshaw (released); Dennis Souza (released); Steve Brooker (released)

Prediction: 24th; relegated

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