What Bolton Wanderers will be up against in the Championship next season

James McArthur was a class act in the Championship last season

James McArthur was a class act in the Championship last season

First published in Sport
Last updated

WITH the Championship membership now complete and the new set of fixtures due to be released in nine days, this two-part feature by chief football writer Marc Iles looks at who were the winners and losers at each club last season, and the do’s and don’ts for each this summer if they are to achieve success. In this second part he casts his eye over the other half of the 24 Championship clubs

 

IPSWICH TOWN

Big winner: Aaron Cresswell – the Championship’s best full-back? Probably.

Big loser: Sylvain Ebanks-Blake – the ex-Wolves striker just did not fire at Portman Road and will be released in the summer.

What they need this summer: Try to keep hold of Cresswell but otherwise listen to Mick McCarthy – he is a canny operator at Championship level.

And what they need to avoid: A bit like Wanderers, they suffered for the amount of draws they got last season.

LEEDS UNITED

Big winner: Ross McCormack – the Scottish striker elevated himself to hero status at Leeds with a raft of goals.

Big loser: Anyone above boardroom level – Elland Road seems a complete and utter mess at the moment.

What they need this summer: Some sensible financial decisions and a bit less courtroom action.

And what they need to avoid: More loans, more asset stripping and, hence, not more of the above.

MIDDLESBROUGH

Big winner: George Friend – a model of consistency at the back for Boro in what was a strange old season.

Big loser: Tony Mowbray – the Boro legend just could not get it right despite the best wishes of those around him.

What they need this summer: Those at the Riverside say a striker is a must – which makes Lukas Jutkiewicz look a tempting prospect.

And what they need to avoid: Trying to change too much too soon. Boro had their fingers burned by big earners under Gordon Strachan.

MILLWALL

Big winner: Ian Holloway – like him or loathe him, he kept the Lions afloat last season.

Big loser: Andy Keogh – released after a tough season. The ex-Bury loanee is now on the lookout for a new club.

What they need this summer: To go back to the drawing board and give Holloway time to introduce his brand of football. Key areas need strengthening.

And what they need to avoid: Another club that would suffer by making wholesale changes, particularly on one of the division’s tightest budgets.

NORWICH CITY

Big winner: John Ruddy – did not make the World Cup squad but still one heck of a keeper. Did himself no harm despite relegation.

Big loser: Ricky van Wolfswinkel – the Dutchman cost £8million but did very little for the Canaries in his debut season, with some reports claiming he stormed out on the last day after being dropped.

What they need this summer: To trim the squad.

And what they need to avoid: Complacency. Wigan and Reading proved, like Wanderers before them, an instant return to the top flight is not straightforward.

NOTTINGHAM FOREST

Big winner: Jamie Paterson – the 22-year-old’s first season at Forest gleaned 12 goals and earned him an improved contract in April.

Big loser: Billy Davies. It looked good for his second coming at one point before the tide of results turned and he inevitably lost his job.

What they need this summer: Make sure they keep hold of young talent like Paterson and Jamaal Lascelles.

And what they need to avoid: Spending beyond their means and falling foul of Financial Fair Play rules.

READING

Big winner: Adam Le Fondre – 15 league goals despite starting 13 of 38 games on the bench has earned him a move to Cardiff City Big loser: Goalkeeper Adam Federici was once a mainstay in the side but just four appearances this season have cost him his World Cup place with Australia.

What they need this summer: Cull a squad that has several big earners on the books.

And what they need to avoid: Falling at the final hurdle. Consistency kept Reading up in the play-off mix until a run of just three wins in the last nine games.

ROTHERHAM UNITED

Big winner: Steve Evans – a Marmite kind of manager, but deserves credit for securing back-to-back promotions for the Millers.

Big loser: There are no losers at the Millers after two unbelievable campaigns have taken them into the Championship.

What they need this summer: Learn from South Yorkshire rivals Doncaster last season, who relied on big-name loans like Federico Macheda and it did not work as they went straight back to League One.

And what they need to avoid: Overspending on big-name arrivals – it would upset the applecart and is unlikely to pay off.

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY

Big winner: Liam Palmer – the academy graduate filled in in a few different positions and scooped the player-of-the-year award for the Owls.

Big loser: Gary Madine – striker jailed for two assaults at the end of last year and released in February.

What they need this summer: Judging by Wanderers’ last visit, some pace at the back.

And what they need to avoid: Injuries stacked up for Wednesday this season – exposing a major lack of cover in certain positions.

WATFORD

Big winner: Troy Deeney – stepped out of Matej Vydra’s shadow to lead the charge on his own with 24 goals.

Big loser: Gianfranco Zola. The Italian could not shrug off the disappointment of play-off defeat.

What they need this summer: A few more dependable types. And a decent press box.

And what they need to avoid: Too many loans. The Hornets finally look to have a settled squad.

WIGAN ATHLETIC

Big winner: James McArthur – Scottish midfielder oozed Premier League class this season.

Big loser: Owen Coyle. The ex-Whites boss just could not get the Latics going despite making good signings.

What they need this summer: To keep their squad together. The vultures are already circling.

And what they need to avoid: Will benefit from no more European football. Just got in the way last season.

WOLVES

Big winner: Kenny Jackett – brought order to a club that had threatened to implode after relegation.

Big loser: The well-paid stars who were scattered to all four corners when the Old Gold went down.

What they need this summer: More Championship experience – and a few more like Sam Ricketts.

And what they need to avoid: Making random managerial changes, especially foreign ones – they don’t tend to work.

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