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August 3, 2011 / ultrafox1963

Championship Guide and Preview 2011-12: Part 3 of 3

MILLWALL

As combative on the field as their fans were off it, Kenny Jackett’s side gave a good account of themselves on their return to this level following a four-year absence.  However the departures of strikers Steve Morison and Neil Harris will be keenly felt and a season of consolidation looks more likely than another playoff challenge.

KEY PLAYER: Darius Henderson

LEAGUE POSITION IN 2010-11: 9th

PREDICTED POSITION FOR 2011-12:  11th

DATE FOXES DUE TO VISIT: Saturday 14 April

LAST FOXES AWAY WIN HERE: 1-0, 14 March 2009

RECOMMENDED FOXES PUB: Market Porter, Stoney Street (near London Bridge rail station – no pubs suitable in South Bermondsey)

 

NOTTINGHAM FOREST

A second successive playoff failure saw a somewhat acrimonious departure of manager Billy Davies and his replacement by former England and Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren.  However an already shallow squad was depleted still further as key players let their contracts lapse, and McClaren’s efforts to replace them have yet to bear real fruit, despite the arrival of midfielders Andy Reid and Jonathan Greening.

KEY PLAYER: Lewis McGugan

LEAGUE POSITION IN 2010-11: 6th

PREDICTED POSITION FOR 2011-12: 8th

DATE FOXES DUE TO VISIT: Saturday 20 August

LAST FOXES WIN HERE: 3-2, 15 September 2007

RECOMMENDED FOXES PUB: Stratford Haven, Stratford Road, West Bridgford

 

PETERBOROUGH

Returned to the division at the first time of asking following an unexpected playoff triumph over form side Huddersfield.  However the departure of leading scorer Craig Mackail-Smith and the failure to secure an adequate replacement casts a long shadow over London Road.  Another long hard winter beckons for Darren Ferguson and the Posh.

KEY PLAYER: George Boyd

LEAGUE POSITION IN 2010-11: 4th (League 1)

PREDICTED POSITION FOR 2011-12: 24th

DATE FOXES DUE TO VISIT: Saturday 17 December

LAST FOXES WIN HERE: 2-1, 10 April 2010

RECOMMENDED FOXES PUB: Cherry Tree, Oundle Road

PORTSMOUTH

Narrowly avoiding financial meltdown and a second successive relegation for Pompey during his first season at the helm, Steve Cotterill will hope to take recovery a stage further during the coming months.  However, a small squad and continued limitations on transfer funds may make these ambitions difficult to achieve, although the restoration of south coast rivalries with Brighton and Southampton will help to rekindle interest.

KEY PLAYER: Liam Lawrence

LEAGUE POSITION IN 2010-11: 16th

PREDICTED POSITION FOR 2011-12: 17th

DATE FOXES DUE TO VISIT: Saturday 26 November

LAST FOXES WIN HERE:  2-1, 21 September 2010

RECOMMENDED FOXES PUB:  Red, White and Blue, Fawcett Road

READING

After being thwarted by Swansea in last-season’s playoff final, Brian McDermott must have been consoled by thoughts of a renewed, invigorated promotion bid this time around.  However his hopes have been severely dented by the departure of key personnel, especially in defence, and with Shane Long anticipated to join the exodus very soon, a season among the also-rans now beckons.

KEY PLAYER: Jobi McAnuff

LEAGUE POSITION IN 2010-11: 5th

PREDICTED POSITION FOR 2011-12:  12th

DATE FOXES DUE TO VISIT: Saturday 10 March

LAST FOXES WIN HERE:  1-0, 27 October 2009

RECOMMENDED FOXES PUB: The World Turned Upside Down, Basingstoke Road

SOUTHAMPTON

One of several sides aiming to recapture former Premier League glories, the Saints held off a storming late run by Huddersfield to clinch the League 1 runners-up spot. Boss Nigel Adkins will expect the impetus to be continued and will fancy his team’s chances of emulating Norwich and securing successive promotions.  Don’t be surprised to see them emerge as dark horses in the promotion race.

KEY PLAYER: Jack Cork

LEAGUE POSITION IN 2010-11: 2nd (League 1)

PREDICTED POSITION FOR 2011-12:  5th

DATE FOXES DUE TO VISIT: Saturday 21 January

LAST FOXES WIN HERE:  N/A

RECOMMENDED FOXES PUB:  King Alfred, Northam Road

WATFORD

Confounded the pundits with a comfortable mid-table finish after having been pre-season favourites for relegation.  However the two most central figures from last season, manager Malky Mackay and striker Danny Graham, have both been lured to South Wales (Cardiff and Swansea respectively). The impact of their departures on their survival prospects for the coming campaign is likely to be terminal.

KEY PLAYER: Marvin Sordell

LEAGUE POSITION IN 2010-11: 14th

PREDICTED POSITION FOR 2011-12:  23rd

DATE FOXES DUE TO VISIT: Tuesday 14 February

LAST FOXES WIN HERE:  2-1, 15 October 2005

RECOMMENDED FOXES PUB: Moon Under Water, High Street

WEST HAM

Widely expected to implode following their demotion from the Premier League, the Hammers have proved surprisingly resilient during recent weeks.  The club’s owners have experience of successful promotion campaigns, as do new boss Sam Allardyce and key summer signings Kevin Nolan and Matt Taylor.  With a crop of youngsters poised to flourish in the lower league, it would be a major surprise if the newly-strengthened side do not bounce back to the top flight at the first time of asking.

KEY PLAYER: Kevin Nolan

LEAGUE POSITION IN 2010-11: 20th (Premier League)

PREDICTED POSITION FOR 2011-12:  1st

DATE FOXES DUE TO VISIT: Saturday 29 October

LAST FOXES WIN HERE:  1-0,  23 August 2000

RECOMMENDED FOXES PUB:  The Queens, Barking Road

PREDICTED TABLE

West Ham

Leicester

 

Hull

Leeds

Southampton

Ipswich

Middlesbrough

Nottingham Forest

Cardiff

Birmingham

Millwall

Reading

Burnley

Crystal Palace

Bristol City

Derby

Portsmouth

Blackpool

Brighton

Barnsley

Doncaster

 

Coventry

Watford

Peterborough

Thanks to the CAMRA Good Beer Guide, footballgroundguide.co.uk, FourFourTwo Magazine, lcfc.com and Of Fossils and Foxes for their assistance in preparing this guide and preview.

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