Fans of Yorkshire’s six Championship clubs are full of optimism ahead of the new season. Here they have their say on the campaign ahead.
Huddersfield Town - David Fryer
Verdict: I believe we have made some good signings during the summer. If they can gel as a unit from the start of the season, then I honestly fancy us to make progress up the table as the season unfolds. Key to this is a good start, as quite often a team sets off at a pace and then both maintains and builds on that initial momentum. When you look at some of the teams around us, it promises to be a challenging Championship - though we should fear no-one and focus on our own game.
Key man: A fit and firing James Vaughan.
Potential boo boy: Several hundred of the home support!
Advice to manager: Please can we have a good Cup run?
What will make/break your season: Vaughan’s fitness and Sean Scannell’s consistency.
Any changes needed off the field: We need to generate some atmosphere at home, though our occupancy in the Chadwick Lawrence (South) Stand should help to drive this initiative.
Which team would you like to beat and why: Hull City – day one, game one and win one?
Promoted: QPR, Burnley and Middlesbrough.
Relegated: Rotherham, MK Dons, Leeds.
Predicted finish: 11th.
Hull City - Gareth Richardson
Verdict: It has been a tough summer in many ways, with good players leaving and it taking a while for our own recruitment to get under way. Our pricing is too high and I can see us having 15,000 crowds this season. On the field, we have to be more adventurous in our approach to games. Steve Bruce was too cautious last season, especially away from home against the teams we needed to take points off. We’d go 1-0 down against teams like West Brom and Stoke but never look like equalising.
Key man: Mohamed Diame. Could make a big impact, even if he leaves in January when back to full fitness.
Potential boo boy: Abel Hernandez.
Advice to manager: Be more attacking.
What will make/break your season: Who we manage to sign this month.
Any changes needed off the field: Bring ticket prices down to affordable levels.
Which team would you like to beat and why: Burnley. We lost twice to them last season again.
Promoted: Middlesbrough, us and Leeds in the play-offs.
Relegated: Rotherham, Huddersfield and Blackburn.
Predicted finish: 2nd - if we sign well.
Leeds United - Paul Taylor
Verdict: For the last couple of months, there has been a spell of relative stability at Elland Road, and Mr Cellino’s utterances have all but disappeared. By our standards, this is remarkable - even if this is exactly how it should be and is the first building block for success.
Key man: Off the pitch – Adam Pearson (e4xecutive director), a steady hand. On it, Sol Bamba (central defender) - a repeat of last season please.
Potential boo boy: Massimo Cellino, if he isn’t careful.
Advice to manager: Play a high tempo game, excite the fans and don’t lose five in a row.
What will make/break your season: A good start is essential. A successful team with some momentum would be hard to stop. A poor start and the managerial merrygoround starts all over again.
Any changes needed off the field: Stability within the club. The recent indications are positive but we all know that things can change very quickly.
Which team would you like to beat and why: Hull City. Let’s make up for the last time we met.
Promoted: Boro, Hull City, Wolves.
Relegated: Rotherham United, Charlton Athletic, MK Dons.
Predicted finish: 12th.
Middlesbrough - Graeme Bandeira
Verdict: I foresee another fruitful season with a sustained promotion push and, hopefully, valuable lessons have been learned after our Wembley no-show in the play-offs. I expect more of the same in terms of keeping it tight this season.
Key man: Stewart Downing. A competent player who possesses a threat anywhere in the attacking third.
Potential boo boy: Kike. His lack of pace and sulky demeanour at times may anger the perpetual groaners.
Advice to manager: Do your utmost to sign Jordan Rhodes.
What will make/break your season: Goals. Or lack of.
Any changes needed off the field: Matchday walk-up prices to ensure we fill the Riverside more regularly.
Which team would you like tobeat and why: Leeds. Bragging rights in the office.
Promoted: Derby, Boro and Burnley.
Relegated: Rotherham, Reading and Preston.
Predicted finish: 2nd
Rotherham United - Lee Rowbotham
Verdict: Safety, the magic 50-point plus barrier, has to be our first target. I believe the squad going into the season is stronger than last year after a more targeted recruitment drive. With a year of Championship experience as well, it should stand us in good stead. But I don’t see a Blackpool scenario happening to any team, although, similarly, I don’t see any of the relegated Premiership teams struggling like Wigan did. It’s going to be a battle, but if we strike that right balance, mid-table is a possibility.
Key man: Matt Derbyshire.
Potential boo-boy: Any of the three players we have signed from Sheffield Wednesday – if they don’t hit it off quickly.
Advice to manager: Keep the team as settled as possible so partnerships can form, especially down the team’s spine.
What will make/break your season: Creating enough chances to get the goals we will need to stay up.
Any changes needed off the field: Important to learn from the ineligible player scenario of last season. Additional staff required behind the scenes.
Which team would you like to beat and why: Obvious candidate, Sheffield Wednesday.
Promoted: Derby, Middlesbrough, Ipswich.
Relegated: Bolton, Huddersfield, MK Dons.
Predicted finish: 19th.
Sheffield Wednesday - Terry Hibberd
Verdict: With all the recruitment so far of new players along with the new head coach and the emphasis on attacking play, I think Wednesday will be ones to watch for a host of reasons. I remain optimistic that we will make a big step forward and finally break the top 10 at least.
Key man: Marco Matias. Although pre-season isn’t the barometer of everything, you don’t score 17 goals in any league from the wing unless you have an eye for goal.
Potential boo boy: Atdhe Nuhiu, I like him, but his languid style does very little to endear him with some of the supporters.
Advice to manager: Bring back the entertaining football to SWFC and the supporters will back you.
What will make/break your season: It sounds obvious but goals – we know how to stop them going in our net, but we need to rediscover them at the other end.
Any changes needed off the field: More investment in facilities to entice supporters into then keep them in the ground.
Which team would you like to beat and why: Derby, because if we are beating them, then we are doing well.
Promoted: Derby, Wolves, Ipswich.
Relegated: Preston, MK Dons, Charlton.
Predicted finish: 7th.