Yorkshire Post football reporter Leon Wobschall held a live web chat on our website this lunch-time, answering your questions on all of our leading clubs... here is the transcript of his Q&A.
QUESTION: Hi Leon, which Yorkshire club has the best chance of winning promotion throughout the four divisions?
ANSWER: You would have to say Sheffield United and Middlesbrough. Nigel Adkins is a bit of a promotion expert in the third tier, having taken Southampton and Scunthorpe previously to promotion. The Blades may have had a few wobbles over the past few seasons, but I reckon it could finally be their year this season - although maybe a couple of early knock-outs in the cups would not be a bad thing, given that they have been victims of their own success, league wise, over the past two seasons. They will need goals from the likes of Billy Sharp and must turn Bramall Lane into a bit of a fortress. A good thing for the Blades and what may work in their favour is that League One doesn’t look as strong as last year.
Middlesbrough also look well placed to end their top-flight exile. If they get Jordan Rhodes - a lack of goals in the final analysis is what cost them promotion last year - and he manages to find the net, they look like taking some stopping with the likes of Stewart Downing also there. Their squad looks an extremely strong one.
QUESTION: Who is the best managerial appointment out of Adkins, Carvalhal and Rosler?
ANSWER: Without sitting on the fence, time will tell! Adkins has a track record of promotion with the likes of Southampton and Scunthorpe and his job all boils down to getting the Blades over the line and back in the Championship next spring. Style points don’t matter, it’s all about results. If he doesn’t manage it in 2015-16, he will be a failure.
Let’s be honest, Carvalhal is a totally left-field selection given that he has no previous experience in England and hasn’t exactly cracked any pots on the continent. Factor in also that he is managing one of the biggest clubs in the Championship. He is rated as an enlightened coach, but he will have to learn to swim quickly in unforgiving Championship waters. A lot will depend on whether his signings come off and will certainly need some early results, or else he will be up against it for sure - both with supporters and his board, you’d venture.
As with Carvalhal, Rosler, you would sense given the turnover of coaches at Leeds, will need results early on both to satisfy a demanding fanbase and an owner who does not tolerate a succession of poor results. The vibes are good, it’s been a steady pre-season and summer at Leeds, who look well drilled and organised. But it’s about results.
QUESTION: Which Leeds player do you expect to make the most impact this season?
ANSWER: Chris Wood. The success of Leeds’ season could depend on his goalscoring input. Has the big stage he craves at Leeds after a frustrating campaign at Leicester and has shown he can score at this level. He’s a good age and hungry for success, but will need service if he is to score the goals Leeds require - he more than anyone will appreciate Leeds bringing in a winger or two. Leeds strikers’ statistics were pretty damning as a group last season, but you need service.
QUESTION: Is Paul Dickov on borrowed time at Doncaster Rovers?
ANSWER: All Dickov has wanted since coming to Doncaster two seasons ago is a steady pre-season allowing him to put together the squad he wants in decent time. Off-the-field problems meant he could not do this in the summers of 2013 and 2014 when it was a scramble to get players in. This summer, Dickov has brought in the likes of Williams, Taylor-Sinclair, MacKenzie and Taylor-Sinclair and is putting together the first-choice squad he wants. He acknowledges that he won’t have any excuses now and will be judged on results. It’s been a pretty good pre-season for Rovers and they need to replicate that when it matters. I wouldn’t say he’s on borrowed time, but he’s no excuses in 2015-16.
QUESTION: Was Nigel Clough wrongly dismissed by Sheffield United?
ANSWER: I feel it was a pretty tough decision, given that Clough had taken the Blades to two domestic cup semi finals. Don’t forget also that the Blades were in relegation bother when he arrived in the autumn of 2013, he dragged them out of trouble and even flirted with the play-offs and took them to the FA Cup semi-final.
You had to feel for Clough given his treatment at previous club Derby. I think Clough realised that 2015-16 was a big one for him and if the Blades had started the first few months of the season poorly, you could have understood a change being made.
But boards make decisions and if Adkins takes the Blades to promotion this season, then Unitedites will see it as a good decision to part company with Clough.
QUESTION: Can Huddersfield boss Chris Powell kick on from the start he made last season?
ANSWER: For my money, Powell did a pretty good job at Huddersfield last season. He steadied the ship after a horrendous start to the season and also managed to move out several players from the squad also. After their start to 2014-15, it was always about steering clear of trouble and consolidation and Powell achieved that.
Huddersfield run a tight financial ship and I feel a bit of realism will be required by supporters in terms of expectations. If Huddersfield finish mid-table or lower mid-table, it will be another decent achievement for Town and Powell in what looks a pretty tough Championship.
QUESTION: Will Massimo Cellino allow Uwe Rosler to get on and manage the team this season?
ANSWER: Whisper it gently, but the stars seem to be aligning in that way. Rosler has obviously had a big input in terms of this summer’s signings, having worked with the likes of Adeyemi before, for instance, and has been allowed to put together his own backroom team of Kelly, Hartis, Darby. He has been allowed to get on with it and the fact that Cellino hasn’t brought in a raft of players from Serie A and the continent is maybe a bit of an admission that he got a lot of the recruitment wrong last season - well him and Salerno at any rate. It’s horses for courses and Rosler, Kelly and Darby have plenty of managerial and coaching experience. The vibes between Rosler, Cellino and Pearson seems good, with everyone knowing their jobs and being allowed to get on with things. It seems a lot more structured at Leeds these days. But Rosler will not need telling twice that he will need results.
QUESTION: Is there still a worry that Steve Evans might leave Rotherham United for Peterborough?
ANSWER: It is never far in the background is it, with Peterborough being Evans’s adopted home city, with his family home still there. Posh have made Dave Robertson their full-time manager, but if the cards fall over the coming months - ie the Millers and Posh start the 2015-16 poorly - you wouldn’t be surprised to see this turning into reality. That said, Evans have worked for most of his successful managerial career in the lower divisions and non-league and if the Millers are making a fair fist of things in the Championship, dropping down to League One will not hold too much allure, even allowing for his attachment to Peterborough. You sense Evans relishes managing in the Championship and likes the kudos of being a Championship manager.
QUESTION: Can Hull bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking?
ANSWER: If Steve Bruce achieves that, it will probably surpass keeping the Tigers in the top flight in 2013-14. Look at the situation Hull currently find themselves in; they have lost two key players from last season in Chester and Brady along with a proven Championship player in Ince, who Bruce wanted to hang onto. Their expensively-assembled strikeforce from last year in N’Doye, Jelavic and Hernandez are also on the equivalent of megabucks with Hull wanting to get them out. Factor in also that Hull, as I type, have signed just two players so far this summer.
The smart money is on the season being a slow-burner for Hull. Their main aim is probably getting a side together in the first half of the season and reevaluating in January. Automatic promotion looks a seriously big ask, given the recruitment of the likes of Derby and Middlesbrough and others such as Burnley and Brentford likely to be in the mix and the play-offs maybe looks Hull’s best option. Promotion is by no means impossible, but looks a bit improbable. But if Hull are in top-six contention by the New Year, they have a sniff. It is a season when they are probably always likely to be stronger after Christmas when their side and squad has settled down.
QUESTION: Bradford have enjoyed great Cup success in recent seasons, but can they get promoted back into the Championship?
ANSWER: It will be tough, but if Bradford don’t make the play-offs this season, it will represent a disappointment to many.
That said, their squad still looks a little light in patches and they could do with a few more recruits. The serious injury to Filipe Morais was a really untimely blow. I do like Josh Morris, I have seen him a few times for Fleetwood and he has impressed me and Mark Marshall sounds like a speedster who will excite fans too.
Given their huge season ticket sales, Valley Parade should be rocking this season, it will be if Bradford get on a roll at home and they can build plenty of momentum if they can get their home form going. For me, it will be interesting if Bradford are in the mix come the New Year, perhaps then will be the time to make a few targeted moves in the January transfer market to help get them over the line. Bradford are one of the few clubs in League One who can get real momentum in terms of fan numbers and support home and away if they are doing well. It’s a big season for them and Phil Parkinson. Never mind the cups this year, it’s the league that matters.