The first round of fixtures has passed and while 45 games are still to played and many months of the season to go, many sides have made early ground – or suffered setbacks – to their ultimate goals come the end of the season. Several fallen giants have returned to England’s second tier, while others that have dropped down a division may consider themselves big fishes inside a small pond. Either way, we take a look at some of the Championship’s sides and their possible fortunes after the first round of fixtures.
Kenwyne Jones looked to have set Cardiff on their way to three points at Ewood Park after netting in the 18th minute, only for Tom Cairney to tie things up in the 40th minute. The game ended 1-1 and while Cardiff boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have no doubt wanted a win to open the season, the staggering £10million received for Gary Medel from Inter Milan will surely buoy his mood as he looks for additions to his squad before the transfer window slams shut. Ladbrokes – one of the many sportsbook and casino sites found on this comparison site rank Cardiff as the second favourite to claim the Championship crown come the end of the season at a price of 8/1 and in truth they will likely be there or thereabouts. One fixture – in Cardiff’s case anyway – is not enough to change our view that they will be a front-running side for promotion at the least this season.
On the morning of the Seasiders’ 2-0 curtain-raising defeat to Nottingham Forest, Jose Riga allegedly had just nine eligible players to field.
Blackpool did eventually form a squad for the game, but the fixture ended up as far less important to fans as the ongoing squad turmoil. Andrea Orlandi, Ishmael Miller and Nathan Delfouneso are familiar names that have signed over the summer but it does not change that fact that as many as 27 players have left the club – including former talisman Tom Ince – although that departure was inevitable.
Jose Riga’s side have already been touted as relegation candidates and while numbers in the squad are boosting, it will be interesting to see if they can stave off repeat problems from last season.
David Hockaday’s dream job got off to a nightmare start, when the Whites crumbled to a 2-0 defeat away to rivals Millwall at the weekend. The second half performance offered positives however and with several impending arrivals – alongside the exciting additions of several players from the Italian leagues such as Zan Benedicic and Tommaso Bianchi – there is plenty of time to turn fortunes at Elland Road around. Like Cardiff, it is just too early to tell what sort of Leeds United will end up with but boiling it down to results and results alone, it was far from a great start from the sleeping giants. Ross McCormack’s inspiration will be sorely missed this season.