Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Championship season kicks off with plenty of contenders

New Championship season kicks off with plenty of contenders.
During the off-season, a sense of expectation rushed through the veins of fans of twenty-four clubs who make up arguably the most competitive league in the world.

There is no big four in this compelling competition - anyone can win it.

With three of the biggest clubs in England relegated from the mighty Premier League, the new Championship season has an exciting feel to it. North-east giants Newcastle United and local foes Middlesbrough will both hope to mount a promotion rival, as will fierce Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest and Derby County.

Not surprisingly, it is Newcastle United who have made the best start to the new season, and going into the recent international break they had opened up a two-point gap at the top of the standings.

Big-name stars Alan Smith and Kevin Nolan are still on their books of the ailing giants, and Newcastle followed a promising draw against West Bromwich Albion with a 3-0 thumping of the highly-fancied Reading.

At the other end of the table it has been a disappointing start for Ipswich Town manager Roy Keane, who in pre-season was talking up his team’s chances of earning promotion to the top flight. He will be frustrated by a poor start that saw his side go down 3-1 to Crystal Palace, before being held to a scoreless draw by promoted outfit Leicester City.

Big spenders Nottingham Forest have been busy in the transfer market, signing no less than 11 new players before the start of the new campaign.

Manager Billy Davies has six strikers to call upon, but it’s at the other end that Forest look shaky, and the failure to sign new defenders means that Davies will be forced to rely on the loan market to plug gaps at the back.

Forest have been charged for Nathan Tyson’s goal celebrations in a 3-2 win over fierce local rivals Derby County, with both clubs also fined for failing to control their players in what is one of the Championship’s most heated fixtures.

Barnsley manager Simon Davey was one of the first casualties of the season after he parted company with the South Yorkshire side just five games into the new campaign.

He was shown the door after collecting just one point from a difficult start, with the battling outfit desperate to retain their status as a Championship club.

Coventry City manager Chris Coleman is another who will be looking nervously over his shoulder, with fans clamouring for a change following their poor finish to the previous campaign.

It’s a notoriously competitive league, and the new Championship season has kicked off with plenty of teams looking to edge their way into contention.

© Tom Haw & Soccerphile.com

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