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Championship guide: Barnsley - Crystal Palace

(From top l to bottom r) Barnsley boss Mark Robins, Bristol City boss Steve Coppell, Burnley boss Brian Laws, Cardiff boss Dave Jones, Coventry boss Aidy Boothroyd and Crystal Palace boss George Burley

BBC Sport's club-by-club guide to the 2010/11 Championship season, from Barnsley to Crystal Palace.

BARNSLEY
Barnsley

Manager: Mark Robins

Last season: 18th

Strengths: Robins has given the back four a more robust look and also has an exciting attacking threat in the shape of Adam Hammill, who should weigh in with his share of goals.

Weaknesses: The Reds need to find a goalscorer from somewhere. If they are unable to do so, Iain Hume must return to his best and Andy Gray must stay fit to get their quota.

Key man: Defender Jason Shackell has signed from Wolves and taken over the captaincy. He will provide a voice and presence that the Reds have been missing at back for some time.

BRISTOL CITY
Bristol City

Manager: Steve Coppell

Last season: 10th

Strengths: The Coppell Factor. He will need to use all his managerial experience to help City mount a serious promotion challenge.

Weaknesses: City's pre-season plans have been wrecked by injuries and player departures.

Key man: The considerable presence of England goalkeeper David James should make City much harder to beat.

BURNLEY
Burnley

Manager: Brian Laws

Last season: 18th in the Premier League, relegated.

Strengths: The experience of having successfully challenged for promotion from the Championship could be invaluable for Burnley as they look to return to the top flight. Also, they have kept together the bulk of their promotion-winning squad.

Weaknesses: Only three league victories in 2010 may mean that Burnley have forgotten how to win. Laws also needs to shore up the defence.

Key man: Midfielder Chris McCann missed almost the whole of last season through injury. Burnley need the youngster back and dominating games like he did during their promotion season.

CARDIFF CITY
Cardiff City

Manager: Dave Jones

Last season: Fourth, beaten in play-off final.

Strengths: Jones has done an excellent job in very difficult circumstances at Cardiff and has so far kept the squad together over the summer, with Joe Ledley the only significant loss.

Weaknesses: Cardiff's financial woes and winding-up orders have hampered their progress. The current transfer embargo means that Jones has not been able to strengthen over the summer.

Key man: Midfielder Peter Whittingham surprised everyone last season to be the Championship's top scorer and fans will be hoping for a repeat.

COVENTRY CITY
Coventry City

Manager: Aidy Boothroyd

Last season: 19th

Strengths: The Sky Blues are strong at the back and, in Keiren Westwood, have arguably the best goalkeeper in the Championship

Weaknesses: A lack of goals. Boothroyd will hope new arrivals Gary McSheffrey and Clive Platt can improve on the City's poor recent scoring record.

Key man: Goalkeeper Westwood. If Coventry can hold on to him, he will earn them plenty of points.

CRYSTAL PALACE
Crystal Palace

Manager: George Burley

Last season: 21st

Strengths: A never-say-die spirit, which saw Palace escape relegation last season despite the 10-point deduction imposed for entering administration.

Weaknesses: Post-administration, the club are in a transitional phase under new manager Burley. It may take him a while to impose his passing style on a team that has been schooled the Neil Warnock way for the past three seasons.

Key man: Midfielder Darren Ambrose scored 20 goals last season. Palace look decidedly lightweight up front and they'll need Ambrose to reproduce that eye for goal again.

Reporting by Chris Bartlett, BBC Radio Lancashire's Scott Read, BBC Radio Sheffield's Seth Bennett, BBC London's Mike Lawrence, BBC Coventry & Warwickshire's Clive Eakin and BBC Wales' David Dulin.



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see also
Football League lowdown
03 Aug 10 |  Football
Championship: Derby - Leicester
03 Aug 10 |  Championship
Championship: Middlesbrough - Preston
03 Aug 10 |  Championship
Championship: QPR - Watford
03 Aug 10 |  Championship


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