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Last Updated: Monday, 6 August 2007, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
The Championship form guide

BARNSLEY

Barnsley

Nickname: The Tykes
Ground: Oakwell
Capacity: 23,009
Last season: 20th
Manager: Simon Davey (November 2006)

In: Kayode Odejayi (Cheltenham), Andy Johnson (Leicester), Marciano Bruma (Sparta Rotterdam), Miguel Mostto (Cienciano), Rob Kozluk (Sheffield United), Dominik Werling (Sakaryaspor), Lewin Nyatanga (Derby, loan), Rohan Ricketts, Dennis Souza.

Out: Dale Tonge (Rotherham), Marc Richards (Port Vale), Antony Kay (Tranmere), Neil Austin (Darlington), Paul Hayes (Scunthorpe), Daniel Nardiello (QPR), Paul Heckingbottom (Bradford, loan), Thomas Harban (Bradford), Nathan Joynes (Bradford), Colin Healy (Cork), Peter Rajczi, Ryan Laight, Nathan Jarman.

BBC Sport verdict: Barnsley need to plug a defence that shipped more goals than anyone else in the Championship last season and while it will be another season of struggle, they should survive.

Key man: Rohan Ricketts


606: DEBATE
Ian H, BBC Sport

BLACKPOOL

Blackpool

Nickname: The Seasiders
Ground: Bloomfield Road
Capacity: 8,000
Last season: Third in League One (play-off champions)
Manager: Simon Grayson (November 2005)

In: Paul Rachubka (Huddersfield), Michael Flynn (Gillingham), John Hills (Sheffield Wednesday), Stephen Crainey (Leeds), Gary Taylor-Fletcher (Huddersfield).

Out: Marc Joseph (Rotherham), Matt Blinkhorn (Morecambe), Paul Tierney (Stockport, loan), Simon Wiles (Macclesfield, loan), Ciaran Donnelly, Sean Paterson, Jamie Burns, Kyle Clancy, Gareth Farrelly, Marcus Bean (Rotherham).

BBC Sport verdict: Back in the second tier of English football for the first time since 1978, a good start might give them early confidence but their stay is likely to last as long as a sandcastle on the beach with the tide coming in.

Key man: Keigan Parker.


BRISTOL CITY

Bristol City

Nickname: The Robins
Ground: Ashton Gate
Capacity: 21,479
Last season: Second in League One
Manager: Gary Johnson (September 2005)

In: Stephen Henderson (Aston Villa), Ivan Sproule (Hibs), Michael McIndoe (Wolves), Tamas Vasko (FC Ujpest), Marvin Elliott (Millwall), Lee Trundle (Swansea).

Out: Craig Woodman (Wycombe), Elliott Benyon (Torquay), Frankie Artus (Exeter, loan), Josh Klein-Davies (Bristol Rovers), Aaron Ledgister (Cheltenham), Andy Smith, Dean Grubb, Shaun Lamb, Danny Wring,

BBC Sport verdict: Another club whose return to the second tier is overdue. They have a canny manager and will be more than happy with a season of comfortable consolidation.

Key man: Michael McIndoe


BURNLEY

Burnley

Nickname: The Clarets
Ground: Turf Moor
Capacity: 22,546
Last season: 15th
Manager: Steve Cotterill (June 2004)

In: Gabor Kiraly (Crystal Palace), Besart Berisha (Hamburg), Robbie Blake (Leeds), Stephen Jordan (Manchester City).

Out: Frank Sinclair (Huddersfield), Danny Coyne (Tranmere), Graham Branch (Accrington), John McGreal, Garreth O'Connor (Bournemouth, loan), Duane Courtney.

BBC Sport verdict: Injuries exposed a thin squad last season and, unless they can find somebody else to shoulder the goalscoring burden with Andy Gray, another season of mid-table obscurity beckons.

Key man: Andy Gray


CARDIFF CITY

Cardiff City

Nickname: The Bluebirds
Ground: Ninian Park
Capacity: 19,000
Last season: 13th
Manager: Dave Jones (May 2005)

In: Tony Capaldi (Plymouth), Gavin Rae (Rangers), Warren Reeney (Luton), Steven MacLean (Sheffield Wednesday), Michael Oakes (Wolves), Trevor Sinclair (Manchester City), Robbie Fowler (Liverpool), Ross Turnbull (Middlesbrough, loan).

Out: Willo Flood (Dundee United, loan), Joe Jacobson (Bristol Rovers), Michael Chopra (Sunderland), Neil Alexander (Ipswich), Gregg Coombes, Michael Corcoran, Luigi Glombard, Mark Howard, Curtis McDonald, Nick McKoy, Kevin Campbell, Jeff Whitley, Scott Allison, Jamal Easter, Scott McCoubrey.

BBC Sport verdict: The squad has been overhauled and experience drafted in, but Cardiff's hopes of figuring in the promotion picture will depend on whether Robbie Fowler can find his best.

Key man: Robbie Fowler


CHARLTON

Charlton Athletic

Nickname: The Addicks
Ground: The Valley
Capacity: 26,500
Last season: 19th in Premier League
Manager: Alan Pardew (December 2006)

In: Luke Varney (Crewe), Chris Iwelumo (Colchester), Dean Sinclair (Barnet), Paddy McCarthy (Leicester), Jose Semedo (Sporting Lisbon), Svetoslav Todorov (Portsmouth), Nicky Weaver (Manchester City), Chris Powell (Watford), Yassin Moutaoukil (Chateauroux), Martin Christensen (Herfolge), Izale McLeod (Milton Keynes Dons), Zheng Zhi (Shandong Luneng).

Out: Hermann Hreidarsson (Portsmouth), Radostin Kishishev (Leicester), Bryan Hughes (Hull), Darren Bent (Tottenham), Kelly Youga (Scunthorpe, loan), Dennis Rommedahl (Ajax), Luke Young (Middlesbrough), Simon Walton (QPR), Jonathan Kurrant (Aberdeen), Donovan Simmonds (Coventry), Grant Basey (Brentford, loan), Kevin Lisbie (Colchester), Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink, Thomas Myhre, Talal El-Karkouri, Nathan Ashton, Rurik Gislason, Alistair John, Myles Weston.

BBC Sport verdict: Relegation produced the inevitable cull and of the three relegated teams Charlton may find it hardest to come to terms with the peculiar, physical challenge of the Championship as new faces bed in.

Key man: Svetoslav Todorov


COLCHESTER UNITED

Colchester United

Nickname: The U's
Ground: Layer Road
Capacity: 7,556
Last season: 10th
Manager: Geraint Williams (July 2006)

In: Clive Platt (MK Dons), Teddy Sheringham (West Ham), Mark Yeates (Tottenham), Luke Guttridge (Leyton Orient), Danny Granville (Crystal Palace), Matthew Connolly (Arsenal, loan), Bela Balogh (MTK Hungaria, loan), Kevin Lisbie (Charlton).

Out: Chris Iwelumo (Charlton), Jamie Cureton (Norwich), Richard Garcia (Hull), Wayne Brown (Hull), Garry Richards (Southend), Lawrie Wilson, Robbie King, Marino Keith, Craig Hughes.

BBC Sport verdict: Colchester have lost their first-choice strikeforce, mix in a spot of second-season syndrome and they could face a season of desperate struggle.

Key man: Teddy Sheringham


COVENTRY CITY

Coventry City

Nickname: The Sky Blues
Ground: Ricoh Arena
Capacity: 32,500
Last season: 17th
Manager: Iain Dowie (February 2007)

In: Dimitrios Konstantopoulos (Hartlepool), Robbie Simpson (Cambridge), Ellery Cairo (Hertha Berlin), Arjan De Zeeuw (Wigan), Gary Borrowdale (Crystal Palace), Leon Best (Southampton), Michael Hughes (Crystal Palace), Donovan Simmonds (Charlton), Julian Gray (Birmingham).

Out: Arran Lee-Barrett (Hartlepool), Andrew Whing (Brighton), Don Hutchison (Luton), Colin Cameron (MK Dons), Che Bunce, Cameron Belford (Bury), Khalilou Fadiga, Stuart Giddings (Oldham).

BBC Sport verdict: Boss Iain Dowie has put his stamp on the squad, but they will need a season to bed in and upper mid-table beckons this season.

Key man: Michael Hughes


CRYSTAL PALACE

Crystal Palace

Nickname: The Eagles
Ground: Selhurst Park
Capacity: 26,400
Last season: 12th
Manager: Peter Taylor (June 2006)

In: Tony Craig (Millwall), Jeff Hughes (Lincoln), Jose Fonte (Benfica, loan).

Out: Danny Granville (Colchester), Michael Hughes (Coventry), Jerahl Hughes (Yeovil), Gabor Kiraly (Burnley), Tommy Black (Southend), Jobi McAnuff (Watford), Darren Ward (Wolves), Gary Borrowdale (Coventry).

BBC Sport verdict: Lots of outward movement but minimal influx might be a hint that boss Peter Taylor is happy with his squad. He will have to be happy with mid-table in that case.

Key man: Clinton Morrison


HULL CITY

Hull City

Nickname: The Tigers
Ground: KC Stadium
Capacity: 25,404
Last season: 21st
Manager: Phil Brown (December 2006)

In: Dean Windass (Bradford), Bryan Hughes (Charlton), Richard Garcia (Colchester), Wayne Brown (Colchester).

Out: Nicky Forster (Brighton), Jon Parkin (Stoke), Darryl Duffy (Swansea), Tom Matthews (Boston), Michael Byron, Russell Fry, Scott Wiseman, Ray Parlour.

BBC Sport verdict: Survival was the name of the game last season, as it will be this time around. It could be a long campaign for Phil Brown and his squad.

Key man: Dean Windass


IPSWICH TOWN

Ipswich Town

Nickname: The Blues/Tractor Boys
Ground: Portman Road
Capacity: 30,300
Last season: 14th
Manager: Jim Magilton (June 2006)

In: Pablo Counago (Malaga), Neil Alexander (Cardiff), Tommy Miller (Sunderland).

Out: Darren Currie (Luton), Scott Barron (Millwall), James Krause (Rushden), Lewis Price (Derby), Darryl Knights (Yeovil), Sammy Moore (Brentford, loan), Ian Miller (Darlington, loan), Martin Brittain, Andy Rhodes, Jaroslav Drobny.

BBC Sport verdict: It is five years since Ipswich were relegated from the Premier League and they do not look close to a return any time soon. A lack of firepower will hit them hard.

Key man: Pablo Counago


LEICESTER

Leicester City

Nickname: The Foxes
Ground: The Walkers Stadium
Capacity: 32,500
Last season: 19th
Manager: Martin Allen (May 2007)

In: Bruno N'Gotty (Birmingham), Jimmy Nielsen (Aalborg), Ricky Sappleton (QPR), Radostin Kishishev (Charlton), Carl Cort (Wolves), Sergio Hellings (Anderlecht), James Chambers (Watford), Hossein Kaebi (Persepolis), Shaun Newton (West Ham), Stephen Clemence (Birmingham), DJ Campbell (Birmingham), Jonathan Hayes (Reading).

Out: Paddy McCarthy (Charlton), Andy Johnson (Barnsley), Danny Cadamarteri (Huddersfield), Nils-Eric Johansson, Danny Tiatto, Alan Maybury, Rab Douglas, Darren Kenton, Stephen Hughes, Max Gradel (Bournemouth), Carl Pentney (York).

BBC Sport verdict: Chairman Milan Mandaric has put his money where manager Martin Allen's mouth is. The acquisitions are mostly established, experienced players but the boss himself may need a season to adjust at this level.

Key man: Stephen Clemence


NORWICH

Norwich City

Nickname: The Canaries
Ground: Carrow Road
Capacity: 25,500
Last season: 16th
Manager: Peter Grant (October 2006)

In: Jamie Cureton (Colchester), Jon Otsemobor (Crewe), Matt Gilks (Rochdale), Julien Brellier (Hearts), David Marshal (Celtic), David Strihavka (Banik Ostrava), Jimmy Smith (Chelsea, loan), Darel Russell (Stoke).

Out: Robert Earnshaw (Norwich), Dickson Etuhu (Sunderland), Peter Thorne (Bradford), Paul McVeigh, Ian Henderson (Northampton), Matthieu Louis-Jean, Paul McVeigh, Andrew Frisk, Joe Lewis (Morecambe), Andy Hughes (Leeds).

BBC Sport verdict: Boss Peter Grant moved quickly to replace Robert Earnshaw with Jamie Cureton but little leaps out to suggest Norwich will be anything other than also-rans.

Key man: Jamie Cureton


PLYMOUTH

Plymouth Argyle

Nickname: The Pilgrims
Ground: Home Park
Capacity: 20,134
Last season: 11th
Manager: Ian Holloway (June 2006)

In: Krisztian Timar (Ferencvaros), Peter Halmosi (Debreceni).

Out: Tony Capaldi (Cardiff), Tim Sandercombe (Notts County), Hasney Aljofree (Swindon), Josh Clapham, Anthony Barness.

BBC Sport verdict: Boss Ian Holloway talks a good game and certainly got the best out of his players last season with his management style. A lack of transfer activity suggests more of the same this term.

Key man: Barry Hayles


PRESTON NORTH END

Preston North End

Nickname: The Lilywhites
Ground: Deepdale
Capacity: 19,466
Last season: Seventh
Manager: Paul Simpson (June 2006)

In: Billy Jones (Crewe), Karl Hawley (Carlisle), Kevin Nicholls (Leeds).

Out: David Nugent (Portsmouth), Michael Ricketts (Oldham), David Hibbert (Shrewsbury), Kelvin Wilson (Nottingham Forest), Chris Neal (Morecambe, loan), Ben Hinchcliffe (Derby), Carlo Nash, Pavel Pergl, Ashley Parillon.

BBC Sport verdict: How do Preston fill the gap left by David Nugent? Boss Paul Simpson returned to former club Carlisle for Karl Hawley and Kevin Nicholls will beef up the midfield but the play-offs look a longer shot this year.

Key man: Kevin Nicholls


QPR

Queens Park Rangers

Nickname: Rangers/R's/Hoops
Ground: Loftus Road
Capacity: 19,148
Last season: 18th
Manager: John Gregory (September 2006)

In: Chris Barker (Cardiff), Daniel Nardiello (Barnsley), Simon Walton (Charlton), Lee Camp (Derby), John Curtis (Nottingham Forest), Michael Mancienne (Chelsea, loan), Ben Sahar (Chelsea, loan).

Out: Lee Cook (Fulham), Marc Bircham (Yeovil), Simon Royce (Gillingham), Ricky Stapleton (Leicester), Kevin Gallen (MK Dons), John Munday (Kidderminster), Steve Lomas (Gillingham), Paul Furlong (Luton), Paul Jones, Mauro Milanese, Armel Tchakounte.

BBC Sport verdict: They spent most of last season nervously eyeing the relegation places until a little spurt of results banished any lingering concerns but fears of the drop will be back again this season.

Key man: Daniel Nardiello


SCUNTHORPE UNITED

Scunthorpe United

Nickname: The Iron
Ground: Glanford Park
Capacity: 9,183
Last season: League One champions
Manager: Nigel Adkins (November 2006)

In: Paul Hayes (Barnsley), Jonathan Forte (Sheffield United), Kevan Hurst (Sheffield United), Izzy Iriekpen (Swansea), Martin Paterson (Stoke), Kelly Youga (Charlton, loan).

Out: Billy Sharp (Sheffield United), Lee Ridley (Cheltenham), Richard Hinds (Sheffield Wednesday) Steve Foster (Darlington), Neil MacKenzie (Notts County), Steve Torpey, Ramon Calliste, Ashley Allanson, Robbie Foy, Dean Twibey, Jack Francis.

BBC Sport verdict: It is not a good idea to win promotion and sell your best player, which Scunthorpe did in Billy Sharp. Lack of effort will not be their problem, but lack of quality will be.

Key man: Izzy Iriekpen


SHEFFIELD UNITED

Sheffield United

Nickname: The Blades
Ground: Bramall Lane
Capacity: 33,500
Last season: 18th in Premier League
Manager: Bryan Robson (May 2007)

In: Billy Sharp (Scunthorpe), Gary Naysmith (Everton), Lee Hendrie (Aston Villa), James Beattie (Everton), David Carney (Sydney FC).

Out: Claude Davis (Derby), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Rob Kozluk (Barnsley), Colin Kazim-Richards (Fenerbahce), Kevan Hurst (Scunthorpe), Jonathan Forte (Scunthorpe), Ben Starosta (Brentford, loan), Craig Short, Alan Wright, Paul Gerrard.

BBC Sport verdict: Never mind the arguments over their relegation, they have kept a lot of key players and look good to bounce straight back up under new boss Bryan Robson.

Key man: Rob Hulse


SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY

Sheffield Wednesday

Nickname: The Owls
Ground: Hillsborough
Capacity: 39,859
Last season: Ninth
Manager: Brian Laws (September 2004)

In: Steve Watson (West Brom), Richard Hinds (Scunthorpe), Lee Grant (Derby), Robert Burch (Tottenham), Francis Jeffers (Blackburn).

Out: Chris Adamson (Stockport), Barry Corr (Swindon), John Hills (Blackpool), Steven MacLean (Cardiff), Graham Coughlan (Rotherham), Steve Adams, Matt Bowman, David Graham (Gillingham).

BBC Sport verdict: A strong finish to last season has given cause for optimism at Hillsborough, but Brian Laws needs to add to a thin squad in August, with a 20-goal-a-season striker a priority.

Key man: Chris Brunt


SOUTHAMPTON

Southampton

Nickname: Saints
Ground: St Mary's Stadium
Capacity: 32,551
Last season: Sixth
Manager: George Burley (December 2005)

In: Marek Saganowski (Troyes), Adam Hammill (Liverpool, loan), Gregory Vignal (Lens, loan), Alan Bennett (Reading, loan), Youssef Safri (Norwich).

Out: Gareth Bale (Tottenham), Chris Baird (Fulham), Leon Best (Coventry), Martin Cranie (Portsmouth), Michael Svensson, David Prutton, Kevin Miller, Djamel Belmadi.

BBC Sport verdict: Missed out on the play-offs last season, but it has been a turbulent summer at St Mary's with big-name departures. Defensive recruits are a priority.

Key man: Marek Saganowski


STOKE CITY
Latest club news

Stoke City

Nickname: The Potters
Ground: Britannia Stadium
Capacity: 28,384
Last season: Eighth
Manager: Tony Pulis (June 2006)

In: Jon Parkin (Hull), Richard Cresswell (Leeds), Stephen Wright (Sunderland, loan).

Out: Adam Vass (Brescia), Martin Paterson (Scunthorpe), Darel Russell (Norwich), Ed de Goey (QPR), Kevin Harper (Dunfermline), Peter Kopteff, Sanbegou Bangoura, Robert Duggan, Carl Hoefkens (West Brom).

BBC Sport verdict: Stoke over-achieved last season after some clever use of the loan system and Tony Pulis will need to wheel and deal if they are to have any hope of matching those achievements.

Key man: Jon Parkin


WATFORD
Latest club news

Watford

Nickname: Hornets
Ground: Vicarage Road
Capacity: 22,000
Last season: 20th in Premiership
Manager: Adrian Boothroyd (March 2005)

In: Matt Jackson (Wigan), Mart Poom (Arsenal), Jobi McAnuff (Crystal Palace),

Out: Ben Gill (Cheltenham), Chris Powell (Charlton), Harry Forrester (Aston Villa), James Chambers (Leicester), Dominic Blizzard (MK Dons), Stephane Seanla (Barnet), Albert Jarrett, Joel Grant, Alec Chamberlain, Sheku Kamara, Toumani Diagouraga (Hereford), Theo Robinson (Hereford).

BBC Sport verdict: Halfway through last season Watford saw the writing on the Premier League wall and acted accordingly. Preparations have been made for this level and they are well-equipped for a good season.

Key man: Marlon King


WEST BROM
Latest club news

West Bromwich Albion

Nickname: The Baggies
Ground: The Hawthorns
Capacity: 28,003
Last season: Fourth
Manager: Tony Mowbray (October 2006)

In: Shelton Martis (Hibernian), Craig Beattie (Celtic), Filipe Teixeira (Academica de Coimbra), Leon Barnett (Luton), Tininho (Beira Mar), Bostjan Cesar (Marseille, loan), Carl Hoefkens (Stoke), James Morrison (Middlesbrough).

Out: Tomasz Kuszczak (Manchester United) Diomansy Kamara (Fulham), Jason Koumas (Wigan), Steve Watson (Sheffield Wednesday), Paul McShane (Sunderland), Thomas Gaardsoe, Chris Perry.

BBC Sport verdict: The Baggies have paid an inevitable price for last season's play-off final defeat, with star players heading for the exit. If the replacements can settle in quickly they still have the look of a team who will make the play-offs.

Key man: Kevin Phillips


WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS
Latest club news

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Nickname: Wolves
Ground: Molineux
Capacity: 28,525
Last season: Fifth
Manager: Mick McCarthy (July 2006)

In: Freddy Eastwood (Southend), Stephen Elliott (Sunderland), Michael Gray (Blackburn), Matt Jarvis (Gillingham), Darren Ward (Crystal Palace).

Out: Carl Cort (Leicester), Michael Oakes (Cardiff), Rohan Ricketts (Barnsley), Michael McIndoe (Bristol City), Daniel Jones (Northampton), Keith Lowe, Craig Davies.

BBC Sport verdict: They harbour realistic play-off hopes and if Freddy Eastwood settles well they should be turning draws into wins and pushing for promotion.

Key man: Freddy Eastwood



The Coca-Cola Football League Championship Table
30 January 2010 19:21
    P GD PTS
1 Newcastle 27 27 56
2 Nottm Forest 28 23 52

3 West Brom 27 26 50
4 Cardiff 27 22 45
5 Swansea 27 3 42
6 Sheff Utd 27 4 41

7 Blackpool 27 10 40
8 Leicester 26 2 39
9 Middlesbrough 28 7 37
10 Bristol City 27 -4 36
11 Preston 26 -2 35
12 QPR 27 -4 34
13 Doncaster 26 -1 33
14 Coventry 28 -8 33
15 Barnsley 26 -8 33
16 Scunthorpe 27 -13 33
17 Watford 26 -6 32
18 Derby 28 -11 32
19 Sheff Wed 28 -12 31
20 Crystal Palace 27 2 30
21 Ipswich 27 -8 29

22 Reading 27 -16 26
23 Plymouth 26 -14 24
24 Peterborough 28 -19 18

SEE ALSO
The point of pre-season
08 Aug 07 |  Football
Ian Holloway on the Championship
06 Aug 07 |  Championship
How to watch football this season
02 Aug 07 |  Football


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