Football Season Guide

Barnsley

In


Mallik Wilks (midfielder, Leeds), Bambo Diaby (defender, KSC Lokeren), Aapo Halme (defender, Leeds), Toby Sibbick (defender, AFC Wimbledon), Samuel Radliner (goalkeeper, Hannover 96), Mads Juel Andersen (defender, AC Horsens), Brad Collins (goalkeeper, Chelsea), Luke Thomas (midfielder, Derby), Conor Chaplin (Coventry), Toby Sibbick (Wimbledon), Mike Bahre (r, midfielder, Hannover, permanent)

Out


Ethan Pinnock (r, defender, Brentford), Adam Davies (k, goalkeeper, Stoke), Liam Lindsay (r, defender, Stoke), Zeki Fryers (r, defender, Swindon)

It was a notable achievement for Barnsley to win promotion from League One last term as they really put together a good run when it mattered. Tykes boss Daniel Stendel proved to be the latest German figure making his mark in English football management and it will be interesting to see how he fares in the second tier. It has certainly been all change for Barnsley over the summer months. They have lost important defenders Ethan Pinnock and Liam Lindsay while keeper Adam Davies has departed for Stoke. But a host of players have arrived, many from the continent including two from Germany, and the jury is out on whether they can settle in English football and if so how quickly it will take them. Luke Thomas is also an exciting signing from Derby, offering plenty in the way of attacking threat. Barnsley will fancy their chances of survival, but they appear to be rather unpredictable this time around as they look to prove themselves in a division they have spent a fair few years in over the last 30 years.

Target


Survival will probably be an acceptable outcome.

Birmingham City

In


Dan Crowley (midfielder, Willem II), Jake Clarke-Salter (defender, Chelsea, loan), Ivan Sunjic (midfielder, Dinamo Zagreb)

Out


Michael Morrison (k, defender, released), Che Adams (k, attacker, Southampton), Jota (k, midfielder, Aston Villa)

It has been quite a dreadful summer for Birmingham. Garry Monk did a superb job last term helping the Blues to mid-table despite a points deduction and limited funds. He was sacked over the summer, a decision difficult to fathom for the neutral but kind of sums up the continued chaos going on off the field. His assistant Pep Clotet has taken over, initially on a caretaker basis and there is literally nothing for Birmingham fans to be positive about. They have lost key players in the shape of defender Michael Morrison and last season's top scorer Che Adams. Another important player in Jota has also been sold to bitter rivals Aston Villa. They already had a small squad anyway and so far have brought in just midfielder Dan Crowley, defender Jake Clarke-Salter and then smashed their transfer window for Ivan Sunjic. Clotet clearly needs new signings before the season starts and before the end of the transfer window but it is likely to be difficult given the complete lack of funds at St Andrew's. As things stand it could well be a tough season for the Midlands outfit.

Target


Birmingham's owners will demand a top half finish but everyone else will surely be happy with mere survival as things stand.

Blackburn Rovers

In


Tom White (midfielder, Gateshead), Bradley Johnson (midfielder, Derby), Stewart Downing (midfielder, Middlesbrough), Sam Gallagher (attacker, Southampton), Christian Walton (goalkeeper, Brighton, loan), Joe Hilton (Everton)

Out


David Raya (r, goalkeeper, Brentford), Paul Downing (sp, defender, Portsmouth)

It is difficult to know what to make of Blackburn's prospects this season. They punched above their weight in periods last term but remain a relatively big club at this level and there will be some optimism they can challenge higher up this term. Losing keeper David Raya is a blow but they have brought in plenty of signings used to this level. Bradley Johnson, a midfielder from Derby, Stewart Downing, the veteran winger from Middlesbrough and Sam Gallagher, the young striker know this league inside out and on paper are good signings. So far, Bradley Dack, arguably Rovers' best player has stayed put, but there is still a chance he may leave for pastures new before the end of the transfer window. His status may have a major bearing on whether Blackburn can challenge or not. Blackburn had tremendous issues with injuries last term, especially at the back, and will hope they can quieten down this time around.

Target


Blackburn may feel that a play-off push is within their grasp, especially if Dack remains at the club.

Brentford

In


Ethan Pinnock (defender, Barnsley), Pontus Jansson (defender, Leeds), David Raya (goalkeeper, Blackburn), Christian Norgaard (midfielder, Fiorentina), Mathias Jensen (midfielder, Celta Vigo), Joe Adams (Bury)

Out


Dan Bentley (r, goalkeeper, Bristol City), Yoann Barbet (r, defender, QPR), Jack Bonham (goalkeeper, Gillingham), Josh McEachran (r, midfielder, released), Lewis Macleod (sp, midfielder, released), Moses Odubajo (sp, defender, released), Ezri Konsa (r, defender, Aston Villa), Romaine Sawyers (k, midfielder, West Brom)

It is Brentford's last season at their famous old Griffin Park and they will look to sign off from their home in style. The Bees have often used the venue, very tight, to their advantage but have not been strong on the road in recent years, something they know needs changing. It has been boss Thomas Frank's first summer as boss and he has been busy. To lose especially Ezri Konsa is a blow but Brentford appear to have strengthened with the signings of David Raya in goal as well as defenders Ethan Pinnock and Pontus Jansson. Additionally their midfield looks rock solid with Christian Norgaard and Mathias Jensen both arriving from abroad. There are issues though. The future of Neal Maupay looks very uncertain and he would be a big loss given his goals last term. Romaine Sawyers could also be on the way out too. Brentford had a bit of a difficult campaign last time with Dean Smith leaving for Aston Villa and they will hope to surprise a few people this time around, something they have done in a number of previous campaigns.

Target


Brentford are a small, ambitious club and will see nothing wrong with setting the target of making the play-offs this term.

Bristol City

In


Dan Bentley (goalkeeper, Brentford), Tomas Kalas (defender, Chelsea), Tommy Rowe (midfielder, Doncaster), Rene Gilmartin (goalkeeper, Colchester), Sammie Szmodics (midfielder, Colchester), Robbie Cundy (Bath)

Out


Max O’Leary (sp, goalkeeper, Shrewsbury), Frank Fielding (r, goalkeeper, Millwall), Lloyd Kelly (r, defender, Bournemouth)

Bristol City ultimately fell just short last term and it would probably be fair to say they lacked the know-how to win promotion. This summer has largely been a positive one on the transfer front. There will be a change in goal with Dan Bentley and Rene Gilmartin both arriving, Frank Fielding and Max O'Leary both departing. Tomas Kalas has arrived from Chelsea and he has vast experience of playing in the Championship. Tommy Rowe and Sammie Szmodics have also been signed from lower leagues, and City will hope their previous policy of finding gems will work. Yet there is still a niggling doubt that City lack the experience to compete in the top six in the Championship. They have a young, developing manager in Lee Johnson who remains a big asset and they will do well to keep hold of him. Johnson likes to play an attractive style of play. Under Johnson, City have been renowned as a side who do well on home soil. They will need to look at their form on the road too if they are to be a success.

Target


City will hope to finish in the top six but will need plenty to fall for them.

Cardiff City

In


Will Vaulks (midfielder, Rotherham), Joe Day (goalkeeper, Newport), Curtis Nelson (defender, Oxford), Aden Flint (defender, Middlesbrough)

Out


Aron Gunnarsson (r, midfielder, Al Arhaby), Kenneth Zohore (r, attacker, West Brom), Bruno Manga (r, defender, Dijon), Kadeem Harris (midfielder, Sheff Wednesday), Rhys Healey (attacker, MK Dons), Stuart O’Keefe (midfielder, Gillingham), Victor Camarasa (r, midfielder, Real Betis, loan ended), Oumar Niasse (r, attacker, Everton, loan ended)

It was probably quite a fluke that Cardiff were promoted to the Premier League two seasons ago. They did quite a good job battling against relegation but it proved too much of an ask to stay in the division, the Emiliano Sala issue also not helping. It has been a slow pre-season in terms of transfer activity but Neil Warnock has made a useful signing in the shape of Will Vaulks. A recognised back four may also appear to be important for Cardiff. However they have lost midfielder Aron Gunnarsson, an important player for them over the last few years. Warnock has been there and done that. He is the most successful manager for promotions there is in English football so this campaign will certainly hold no fears. He has managed to have an effective, if not necessarily pretty, style of play over the years and his team look geared for his tactics again. Cardiff may well surprise a few people again thanks to Warnock and their tactics. But expectations are not high amongst fans or those outside of the club.

Target


Cardiff will set themselves a target of top six minimum. That may not be realistic though.

Charlton Athletic

In


Chuks Aneke (attacker, MK Dons), Tom Lockyer (defender, Bristol Rovers), Macauley Bonne (attacker, Leyton Orient), Ben Amos (goalkeeper, Bolton), Deji Ishilaja (defender, Wimbledon), Nathan Harness (Stevenage)

Out


Tarique Fosu (sp, midfielder, Oxford), Patrick Bauer (r, defender, Preston), Joe Aribo (k, midfielder, Rangers)

Charlton were promoted back to the Championship after play-off final glory. But there remains mass uncertainty off the field with continued ownership concerns and protests from fans. The Addicks were superbly managed to promotion by Lee Bowyer. But Charlton issued a peculiar statement to suggest their manager was unable to reach an agreement on a new contract before he did eventually sign for a further year. With the continued difficulties away from the pitch, there are major distractions still around the Valley that fans will be desperate for them to resolve. Bowyer appears to have signed well. An already solid defence has been added to in the shape of Tom Lockyer's arrival from Bristol Rovers while keeper Ben Amos has re-signed. They have also brought in both Chuks Aneke and Macauley Bonne. However Joe Aribo has departed for Rangers while Patrick Bauer has moved to Preston, both major departures. If Charlton are to survive, much will depend on the goals of Lyle Taylor, by far and away their best player last term.

Target


Charlton will hope to stay in the division but off field problems are likely to prevent any further progress.

Derby County

In


Kieran Dowell (midfielder, Everton), Graeme Shinnie (midfielder, Aberdeen)

Out


Luke Thomas (sp, midfielder, Barnsley), Bradley Johnson (sp, midfielder, Blackburn), Dave Nugent (sp, attacker, Preston), Craig Bryson (r, midfielder, Aberdeen)

It has been a poor summer for Derby so far. The Rams were so close - again - to the Premier League, losing in the play-off final to Aston Villa after they had memorably beaten Leeds in the previous round. That Villa game proved to be Frank Lampard's last after one season as Derby boss as he could not turn down the lure of the club from his playing days Chelsea. Derby have replaced him with Phillip Cocu and it will be interesting to see how he does in English football. Derby and Cocu appear to be some way behind other clubs, especially in the transfer market. They have added just Everton midfielder Kieran Dowell so far and appear to be well short of quality to make a serious bid for the Premier League at this stage. The loss of Harry Wilson and Mason Mount, star men on loan last term, appears to be big and it is difficult to see them replicating last season unless Cocu can add some quality before the end of the transfer window.

Target


Derby top brass will expect promotion but at this stage it is unlikely.

Fulham

In


Ivan Cavaleiro (midfielder, Wolves, loan), Martell Taylor-Crossdale (attacker, Chelsea), Anthony Knockaert (midfielder, Brighton, loan)

Out


Harvey Elliott (sp, midfielder, Liverpool), Jean-Michael Serri (r, midfielder, Galatasaray, loan), Ryan Babel (r, attacker, Galatasaray), Andre Zambo Anguissa (r, midfielder, Villarreal, loan), Havard Nordtveit (r, defender, Hoffenheim, loan ended), Sergio Rico (r, goalkeeper, Sevilla, loan ended)

Fulham had an abysmal campaign last time around but the one bit of positive news was they looked good once Scott Parker came in for the final couple of months, with relegation all but certain when he arrived. There were positive noises coming out of Craven Cottage at the back end of last term that Parker was their right man and in terms of departures, Fulham have kept hold of most of their established players that helped win promotion two seasons ago, certainly at the time of writing. A big moment in the summer came when striker Aleksandar Mitrovic put pen to paper on a new deal. Captain Tom Cairney has also committed his future but there remains doubt over Ryan Sessegnon's future. If Sessegnon does stay, he will need to improve on last season's performances. Sessegnon was well below par in the Premier League but his goals and assists two seasons ago were one of the major reasons the Cottagers won promotion to the top flight. However they have lost Jean-Michael Serri, Ryan Babel, Andre Zambo Anguissa, Andre Schurrle, Havard Nordtveit and Sergio Rico, six men who came in last term and showed flashes of their quality in regular appearances for the side. Parker has made the interesting signing of Ivan Caveleiro from Wolves and if players remain at the Cottage, they may not need a lot more.

Target


Fulham will expect promotion back to the top flight, which certainly will not be easy, but something this side could be capable of.

Huddersfield Town

In


Herbert Bochorn (defender, Borussia Dortmund II), Josh Koroma (attacker, Leyton Orient), Reece Brown (midfielder, Forest Green), Tommy Elphick (defender, Aston Villa), Kamil Grabara (goalkeeper, Liverpool, loan), Isaac Mbenza (Montpellier)

Out


Ramadan Sobhi (r, midfielder, Al Ahly), Jonas Lossl (r, goalkeeper, Everton), Tommy Smith (r, defender, Stoke), Chris Lowe (r, defender, Dynamo Dresden)

Huddersfield were hopelessly exposed last term in their second season in the Premier League. But there have been some encouraging signs over the summer. Jan Siewert has stayed put as manager and he certainly has the strengths needed to provide positivity and stability in the coming campaign. Siewert appears to have bought well with Josh Koroma and Tommy Elphick impressive additions as well as Kamil Grabara joining on loan from Liverpool. Siewert has also moved to bring in Herbert Bochurn from Germany. The effects of relegation have not been too dramatic as things stand in terms of outgoing players with Jonas Lossl departing along with Ramadan Sobhi, both always expected to depart. Tommy Smith is a more settled player who has departed surprisingly. Huddersfield need to find their identity again after such a trying campaign last term which will have knocked the stuffing out of everyone. A good start is imperative in that regard.

Target


Will feel they can challenge for promotion again if they can forget all about the disappointments of last term.

Hull City

In


Matt Ingram (goalkeeper, QPR), Tom Eaves (attacker, Gillingham), Josh Bowler (midfielder, Everton, loan), Ryan Tafazolli (defender, Peterborough), Sean McLoughlin (defender, Cork)

Out


David Marshall (r, goalkeeper, Wigan), Evando (r, midfielder, Santos)

Hull have had off the field issues in recent seasons and they are showing no signs of going away. Boss Nigel Adkins took his team before deciding whether to stay and ended up rejecting a new deal and leaving. That has brought in Doncaster boss Grant McCann to the club and there is now certainty in how he will do. Adkins stabilised a club in mass-decline and did well to earn a couple of decent mid-table finishes. Yet it may well be difficult for McCann coming in, especially with unrest from fans. McCann though has bought well with Matt Ingram coming in in goal while Tom Eaves scored plenty of goals at a lower level with Gillingham last term. Josh Bowler also arrives on loan from Everton. There is pressure on Eaves to deliver as few players scored regularly last term. Jarrod Bowen remains by far and away Hull's best player and he was top scorer from midfield last term. But he has attracted mass interest from elsewhere and there is some surprise he is yet to leave, but may well do so before the end of the window. Hull will hope McCann can do what Adkins did but there is no certainty of that and it could be a difficult season.

Target


Survival should be a realistic one but the owners will set their sights far higher.

Leeds United

In


Helder Costa (attacker, Wolves, loan), Ben White (defender, Brighton, loan), Jack Harrison (midfielder, Man City, loan), Liam McCarron (midfielder, Carlisle)

Out


Pontus Jansson (r, defender, Brentford), Aapo Halme (sp, defender, Barnsley), Jay-Roy Grot (sp, attacker, Vitesse Arnhem, loan), Tyler Denton (sp, defender, Stevenage), Samuel Saiz (midfielder, Girona)

Leeds appeared certain to win promotion back to the Premier League before falling away so alarmingly at the end of the campaign, eventually losing in the play-off semi-final to Derby. There was certainly a feeling that the Whites had punched above their weight, exceptionally well managed by Marcelo Bielsa but lacking overall quality. Bielsa was expected to leave the club but appears to be staying and that is a major plus for the club. Summer signings do not appear to be amazing but Helder Costa offers some excitement while Jack Harrison returns on loan from Manchester City. Ben White and Liam McCarron have also arrived so far. Pontus Jansson has departed the club to join Brentford. Jansson was a huge fans favourite but appeared to fall foul of Bielsa's management. Expectations are obviously so much higher after last term but Leeds will have to step up with a similar squad as things stand. Bielsa is not scared to try new things, summed up the Spygate storm. He is not the most popular manager in the division but will stop at nothing in an attempt to win.

Target


Promotion will be the target. But it certainly will not be easy.

Luton Town

In


Brendan Galloway (defender, Everton), Ryan Tunnicliffe (midfielder, Millwall), Martin Cranie (defender, Sheff Utd), Callum McManaman (midfielder, Wigan), Simon Sluga (goalkeeper, HNK Rijeka)

Out


Jack Stacey (k, defender, Bournemouth), James Justin (k, defender, Leicester)

Luton are back in England's second tier and it remains uncertain how they will fare in the coming campaign. The main reasons for this are the change of manager and loss of key players. Graeme Jones has taken over the Kenilworth Road helm after Nathan Jones and then Mick Harford led them to glory last term. Graeme Jones has been a successful coach but never manager before so there is a fair degree of the unknown. To lose Jack Stacey and James Justin is a big blow for the Hatters too but last season's top scorer James Collins remains. Additionally, Jones has brought in experienced players in Brendan Galloway, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Martin Cranie and Callum McManaman and they could be valuable. Expectations will start off being low but this is a team with plenty of character and team spirit and they may surprise.

Target


They will be looking purely to survive at first.

Middlesbrough

In


Tomas Meijas (goalkeeper, unattached), Marcus Browne (midfielder, West Ham)

Out


Stewart Downing (sp, midfielder, Blackburn), Aden Flint (k, defender, Cardiff), Martin Braithwaite (sp, attacker, Leganes)

A trying summer for Middlesbrough. After missing out on promotion last term, Boro opted to part ways with boss Tony Pulis. They now appear to have taken a massive risk appointing the untried, former player Jonathan Woodgate as the manager. Boro actually did pretty well last term with Tony Pulis getting the best out of squad, although his tactics were rather painful to watch at times in common with plenty of Pulis teams in the past. Signings have been lacking so far with only keeper Tomas Meijas rejoining. Stewart Downing has left after a long period of time at the club while defender Aden Flint is a big loss to Cardiff. Woodgate will have to get the best out of Britt Assombalonga, who saw opportunities limited under Pulis but largely performed when given the opportunity to do so. The defence was the strong suit last year and with Woodgate a famed defender that could well be their positive area again this time around. Home form was also impressive last term with sides finding, by and large, a long trip to the North East difficult.

Target


Middlesbrough may find it difficult but with a few signings could push towards the play-offs.

Millwall

In


Frank Fielding (goalkeeper, Bristol City), Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (attacker, Reading), Matt Smith (attacker, QPR), Connor Mahoney (attacker, Bournemouth), Jayson Molumby (midfielder, Brighton, loan), Tyler Burey (midfielder, Wimbledon)

Out


Lee Gregory (r, attacker, Stoke), Ryan Tunnicliffe (sp, midfielder, Luton), Conor McLaughlin (sp, defender, Sunderland), Steve Morison (sp, attacker, Shrewsbury, loan)

Millwall only just stayed in the Championship last term with many of their players under performing late on to the despair of boss Neil Harris. Harris was certainly at the end of his tether and the most high profile departures this summer are Lee Gregory and Steve Morison, a well-established front pairing. In their place have arrived Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Matt Smith while there have been further additions with keeper Frank Fielding arriving along with winger with Connor Mahoney and midfielder Jayson Molumby. Millwall certainly have to perform better than they did last term if they are to survive and there will be onus on new players to immediately become familiar with their new surroundings. Millwall were again good on home soil last term but their away form was abysmal for much of the campaign, something they need to address this time around. Neil Harris will more than likely stick with a 4-4-2 system, something he has used religiously in previous seasons.

Target


Given their resources, staying in the division will be their first and only aim this season especially after their brush with relegation last term.

Nottingham Forest

In


Albert Adomah (midfielder, Aston Villa), Arjanet Muric (goalkeeper, Man City, loan), Yuri Ribeiro (defender, Benfica), Alfa Semedo (midfielder, Benfica, loan), Tiago Silva (midfielder, Feirense), Sammy Ameobi (midfielder, Bolton)

Out


Jorge Grant (sp, midfielder, Lincoln), Karim Ansarifard (sp, attacker, Al-Sailiya), Hillal Soudani (sp, attacker, Olympiakos), Ben Osborn (r, midfielder, Sheff Utd)

Yet more disruption for Nottingham Forest this summer. Martin O'Neill was surprisingly sacked after just a few months in charge. His replacement is Sabri Lamouchi who now must assemble his squad and provide more alterations. It has not been a bad time for Forest in the transfer market with Arjanet Muric a big signing in goal from Manchester City while Albert Adomah and Sammy Ameobi add attacking strength and Tiago Silva is another interesting capture. Lewis Grabban scored 17 times last term but was hit by injury towards the back end of the campaign. He was a big loss as Forest's play-off hopes went up in smoke. Joe Lolley was another big player last term and it could be another important campaign for him. Forest have been excellent on home soil over the last few years but have had a poor time of it on the road, something they know they need to address. Forest have not been in the top flight since 1999 and it will be a tough ask to win promotion this term due to more uncertainty. They really need a season of stability, something they have not had in a while.

Target


The owners will expect promotion but that really is a big ask indeed. But a positive campaign will be acceptable to fans.

Preston

In


Patrick Bauer (defender, Charlton), Dave Nugent (attacker, Derby)

Out


Chris Maxwell (sp, goalkeeper, Hibs, loan), Callum Robinson (r, attacker, Sheff Utd)

Preston will hope for another campaign where they more than compete with the big boys. North End can be well pleased with their last three campaigns and have been a very difficult side for others to face. The same looks like applying this time around with Alex Neil proving to be a good managerial talent, nearly leaving for West Brom at the back end of last term. They may do well to keep hold of him long term. Preston have suffered a blow with the loss of Callum Robinson over pre-season. He was a vital player last term to the attack. However Patrick Bauer has been signed from Charlton and he should add plenty to the defence while Dave Nugent has re-signed from Derby and he should add experience to the attack line. A top half finish will again be an achievement for Preston but they will now look to push on and prove to be a force to be reckoned with themselves.

Target


Optimism is high and they will hope for an unlikely push for the top six this time around.

QPR

In


Yoann Barbet (defender, Brentford), Conor Masterson (defender, Liverpool), Dominic Ball (defender, Rotherham), Luke Amos (midfielder, Tottenham, loan), Matt Smith (midfielder, Man City, loan), Liam Kelly (goalkeeper, Livingston), Lee Wallace (defender, Rangers), Dillon Barnes (goalkeeper, Colchester), Jan Mlakar (attacker, Brighton, loan), Geoff Cameron (midfielder, Stoke)

Out


Jordan Cousins (sp, midfielder, Stoke), Matt Ingram (sp, goalkeeper, Hull), Matt Smith (sp, attacker, Millwall), Luke Freeman (k, midfielder, Sheff Utd), Jake Bidwell (r, defender, Swansea), Darnell Furlong (r, defender, West Brom)

QPR opted to bring in Mark Warburton as new boss in the summer after a period of some uncertainty over who would be the long-term replacement for Steve McClaren. Warburton has mixed results at Brentford and Nottingham Forest at this level but always appears to go for victories rather than draws. He has bought astutely, the pick of the summer signings being Luke Amos on loan from Tottenham. He appears to be the replacement for Luke Freeman who has left to join Sheffield United. Dominic Ball, Yoann Barbet, Conor Masterson and Lee Wallace are captures that should address a weak area in defence. QPR have replaced Matt Smith with a namesake, a midfielder from Manchester City while striker Jan Mlakar has also come in from Brighton on loan. Further attacking signings may well be necessary especially now Tomer Hemed and Nahki Wells have both returned to parent clubs. Big things are not expected of QPR this campaign and Warburton will look to develop some stability. Rangers fans need some excitement though after a few seasons in the doldrums.

Target


Survival will be acceptable but Warburton will look to make clear progress after some tough recent seasons.

Reading

In


Joao Virginia (goalkeeper, Everton), Michael Morrison (defender, Birmingham), Charlie Adam (midfielder, Stoke), Matt Miazga (defender, Chelsea, loan)

Out


Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (sp, attacker, Millwall), Liam Kelly (sp, midfielder, Feyenoord), Anssi Jaakkola (sp, goalkeeper, Bristol Rovers), Paul McShane (sp, defender, released), Marc McNulty (sp, attacker, Sunderland, loan)

Reading boss Jose Gomes has had a tough summer as he looks to avoid another season of struggle. The Royals dragged themselves out of danger at the back end of last campaign just about but that was thanks largely to loan players Emi Martinez and Nelson Oliveira. At the time of writing there is little chance those men will return. Reading have at least signed loan keeper Joao Virginia and re-signed Chelsea defender Matt Miazga. They have also brought in Michael Morrison and with Liam Moore now club captain, the back line should at least be strong. Charlie Adam has also been brought in for experience in midfield. Yet there is a feeling Reading need far more to compete. They have a mass of players that Gomes is desperately trying to ship out with one eye on the budget before other men can be brought in. Reading's home form last term was very disappointing and that is an area they will be desperate to improve upon this time around.

Target


Survival should be the aim at this stage, anything else a bonus.

Sheffield Wednesday

In


Moses Odubajo (defender, Brentford), Julian Borner (defender, Arminia Bieleford), Kadeem Harris (midfielder, Cardiff)

Out


George Boyd (sp, midfielder, Peterborough), Gary Hooper (sp, attacker, released), Almen Abdi (sp, midfielder, released), David Jones (sp, midfielder, released), Marco Matias (sp, midfielder, released), Daniel Pudil (sp, defender, released)

Sheffield Wednesday will start the season in a little bit of a crisis after their pre-season plans were thrown into disruption. Steve Bruce, who had only been in charge for a few months, quit unexpectedly leaving the Owls without a manager at the time of writing (just 10 days before the season starts). Bruce had already signed Moses Odubajo, Julian Borner and Kadeem Harris before leaving and it will appear that the new boss will have a limited time to bring in new players and also have to work with players that are not his own. It has been a difficult couple of seasons for Wednesday overall since their last charge towards the Premier League. They have had a succession of managers and some inconsistency. They will once again look to the creativity of Barry Bannan in midfield and hope key defender Tom Lees can stay fully fit after picking up several injuries last term.

Target


Given the current state of play, Wednesday will be happy if they just stay in the division.

Stoke

In


Adam Davies (goalkeeper, Barnsley), Liam Lindsay (defender, Barnsley), Jordan Cousins (midfielder, QPR), Nick Powell (midfielder, Wigan), Lee Gregory (attacker, Millwall), Stephen Ward (defender, Burnley), Tommy Smith (defender, Huddersfield)

Out


Erik Pieters (defender, Burnley), Geoff Cameron (midfielder, QPR), Charlie Adam (sp, midfielder, Reading), Darren Fletcher (sp, midfielder, released)

Stoke boss Nathan Jones can be well pleased with his summer transfer activity. He has brought in a host of talented players well used to this level. Defence was already a strong suit after numerous clean sheets last term but Barnsley's Liam Lindsay, Huddersfield's Tommy Smith and Burnley's Stephen Ward have further strengthened things in that area. Adam Davies has arrived, also from Barnsley, and that provides a clue that Stoke expect key keeper Jack Butland to leave soon. That though has not happened at the time of writing. Nick Powell has arrived from Wigan and the trick will be to keep him fit. But on his day he can be one of the best players in the Championship. Lee Gregory has arrived from Millwall while Jordan Cousins comes in from QPR. The signings were all made fairly early in the window so that is another definite plus for Jones. He is an ambitious manager and Stoke remain an ambitious club despite the blow of relegation two seasons and a nondescript campaign last time around.

Target


Stoke will want to put last term out of their minds and prove they have the quality for a Premier League fight. They know however that they need to be a little more expansive in attack.

Swansea City

In


Jake Bidwell (defender, QPR), Ben Wilmot (defender, Watford), Borja Baston (attacker, Alaves, loan ended), Andre Ayew (attacker, Fenerbahce, loan ended)

Out


Jordan Ayew (attacker, Crystal Palace), Luciano Narsingh (sp, attacker, Feyenoord), Dan James (k, midfielder, Manchester United), Leroy Fer (r, midfielder, Feyenoord), Martin Olsson (defender, released), Wilfried Bony (attacker, released)

Graham Potter was arguably one of the managers of the season last time as he provided some stability for Swansea, flirting with the play-offs at one stage before falling by the wayside. However Potter's progress attracted the interests of Brighton who gave him their manager's job in the summer and has hit Swansea hard again. Steve Cooper is Potter's replacement, untried at this level, and it appears as if Swansea are right back to square one. Signings so far have been pretty much non-existent with only Jake Bidwell arriving from QPR. The Swans have also had a significant departure with Dan James departing for Manchester United, as he inevitably would. It all in all adds up to pretty bleak picture and it is difficult to see Swansea doing too much this season. Things could change if they are able to bring in further players, and they may well use the loan market to their advantage.

Target


A mid-table slot will be acceptable given the levels of uncertainty at the club at the moment.

West Bromwich Albion

In


Filip Krovinovic (midfielder, Benfica, loan), Semi Ajayi (defender, Rotherham), Kenneth Zohore (attacker, Cardiff), Darnell Furlong (defender, QPR), Romaine Sawyers (midfielder, Brentford)

Out


Jay Rodriguez (k, attacker, Burnley), Craig Dawson (r, defender, Watford), Wes Hoolahan (sp, midfielder, released), James Morrison (sp, midfielder, released), Gareth Barry (sp, midfielder, released), Tyrone Mears (sp, defender, released), Boaz Myhill (sp, goalkeeper, released), Allan Nyom (defender, Getafe), Salomon Rondon (attacker, DL Yifang)

West Brom's appointment of Slaven Bilic as new manager suggests they mean business. Bilic is a well-known manager who has enjoyed plenty of success in his career so far. But it does not seem like being an easy job after West Brom missed out on a Premier League return thanks to a play-off semi-final defeat to Aston Villa last term. Since then they have lost Dwight Gayle, who has returned to parent club Newcastle, and Jay Rodriguez who has joined Burnley. That strike force were a significant part of the club last term and will be a massive loss. Craig Dawson has also left for Watford. Filip Krovinovic should add midfield creativity while Semi Ajayi is a good defensive addition along with Darnell Furlong. Kenneth Zohore has arrived up-front and he may not offer the same quality as Gayle and Rodriguez had. West Brom do need further signings if they are to challenge, particularly in attack, and they could do with unearthing another star like they did with Harvey Barnes, who came in on loan from Leicester last term.

Target


Play-offs should be the aim, further progress would seem unlikely.

Wigan Athletic

In


David Marshall (goalkeeper, Hull), Lewis Macleod (midfielder, Brentford)

Out


Nick Powell (k, midfielder, Stoke), Callum McManaman (sp, midfielder, Luton), Shaun MacDonald (midfielder, Rotherham), Darron Gibson (sp, midfielder, released), James Vaughan (attacker, released), Jonas Olsson (sp, defender, released)

Wigan enjoyed a decent enough first season back in the Championship, staying up with a week or two to spare. They will now look to stay in the division again, and it appears difficult to see there being any increase in ambitions. Wigan have lost two key players. Reece James is back at Chelsea after being their best player last term. Nick Powell has left to join Stoke. Powell has been a crucial player over the last three years but only went fit, something he has not often been. It appears patience has finally run out. Wigan have not been busy in the transfer market so far. Keeper David Marshall and midfielder Lewis Macleod are the only new additions and they look well short for the coming campaign especially in attack. In Paul Cook, the Latics have a decent manager, and someone who has been tipped for a job at a bigger club. They may do well to hold on to him. Despite lacking class in their squad, strong management may help them survive, but this time around it will be far more difficult than last term.

Target


Wigan will look just to survive - and that may be a far bigger achievement this time around.