Ipswich Town set to travel 7,827 miles in the Championship next season

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder and top-scorer Billy Sharp hold the the League One trophy. Pho

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder and top-scorer Billy Sharp hold the the League One trophy. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Ipswich Town are preparing for a 16th successive season in English football’s second-tier. Stuart Watson looks at how the division is shaping up for 2017/18.

Ipswich Town will travel more than 7,800 miles in the Championship next season.

Ipswich Town will travel more than 7,800 miles in the Championship next season. - Credit: Archant

Aston Villa

Initially found the Championship a culture shock, but Conor Hourihane, Henri Lansbury and Scott Hogan were shrewd January signings. Steve Bruce will reportedly have to reign in the spending this summer, but the core of a very good team is already in place. Promotion favourites.

Barnsley

Tykes took the Championship by storm after promotion, but Paul Heckingbottom has seen his team saw disintegrate. Marley Watkins and Josh Scowen are following Hourihane, Jame Bree and Sam Winnall out the door. Among favourites for the drop.


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Bolton Wanderers

Bounced back into the second-tier at first time of asking under Phil Parkinson, but still seeking financial stability. Remain under transfer embargo and no secret the wage bill needs to be reduced. Key men such as Gary Madine, Filipe Morais, Jem Karacan and David Wheater may yet leave on frees. Could struggle.

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Birmingham City

Experienced boss Harry Redknapp has signed a one-year deal and will have to undertake some classic wheeling and dealing to get the Midlands side back towards the top end of the division. Chinese Firm Trillion Trophy won’t provide a massive budget.

Jaap Stam guided Reading to third and the Play-Off Final in his first season as manager. Photo: PA

Jaap Stam guided Reading to third and the Play-Off Final in his first season as manager. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Brentford

Well-established in the Championship now following three consecutive top 10 finishes. Young team plays easy-on-the-eye football. Alan Judge will be like a new signing. Dean Smith’s team are an outside shout for top-six.

Bristol City

Owner Stephen Lansdown stuck with under-fire manager Lee Johnson and was rewarded as a strong finish saw the Robins avoid the drop. Redeveloped Ashton Gate is impressive, but it could be difficult for south west club to replace key men such as Tammy Abraham and Lee Tomlin.

Harry Redknapp has signed a one-year deal as Birmingham City boss. Photo: PA

Harry Redknapp has signed a one-year deal as Birmingham City boss. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Burton Albion

Beat the odds to stay up in first-ever season at second-tier level thanks to good use of the loan system. Manager Nigel Clough turned down Nottingham Forest recently and is now being linked to Sunderland. Brewers will once again be favourites for the drop.

Cardiff City

Marmite manager Neil Warnock has won over the Bluebirds fans and signed a one-year contract extension. Owner Vincent Tan has vowed to back him the transfer market and there’s talk of a promotion push. After the red shirt fiasco, the feel-good factor is definitely back in South Wales.

Fulham's trio Neeskens Kabano, Cyriac and Ryan Sessegnon celebrate. The Cottagers are among the favo

Fulham's trio Neeskens Kabano, Cyriac and Ryan Sessegnon celebrate. The Cottagers are among the favourites for promotion next season. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Derby County

The Rams have finished third, eighth, fifth and ninth. Steve McLaren has been sacked twice, Paul Clement and Nigel Pearson have come and gone, but Gary Rowett looks a sound managerial appointment. Big spending can’t continue indefinitely.

Fulham

Slavisa Jokanovic guided Watford to the Premier League and has now turned Fulham into a real Championship force. The Cottagers played some brilliant football last season before coming up short in the play-off semi-finals against Reading. Among the promotion favourites.

Hull City

Manager Marcos Silva abandoned the sinking ship to join Watford and could raid his old club. Egyptian owner Assem Allam is weighing up his next move. May find it difficult to go straight back up again.

Ipswich Town

Sixteenth successive season in the Championship and simply treading water. Mick McCarthy’s staying on as boss, while Marcus Evans is unlikely to drastically increase the transfer budget. Second favourites for the drop among some bookies.

Leeds United

Blew up down the final straight, then Garry Monk announced shock departure. Andrea Radrizzani has bought out the controversial Massimo Cellino and new boardroom structure is in place. An unknown quantity as it stands.

Middlesbrough

Scored just 27 goals and there was talk of a dressing room rift during what was a disastrous long-awaited return to top-flight. Parted ways with Aitor Karanka and on the look out for new boss. Core of experienced Championship players to build around.

Millwall

Scraped into sixth-spot on dramatic final day, then won the League One play-offs. Lions legend Neil Harris will have to be shrewd in the transfer market.

Norwich City

Gambled on appointment of young German boss Daniel Farke. Need to get their house in order as parachute payments soon run out. A big season for Norfolk neighbours.

Nottingham Forest

Crop of homegrown players will be better after experience of relegation scrap, while manager Mark Warburton has excited fans with his playing style. East Midlands outfit hoping for better.

Preston North End

Successive 11th-place finishes means manager Simon Grayson is in demand. Some very solid foundations in place. Quietly building.

Queens Park Rangers

Still cutting their cloth following relegation two years ago. Ian Holloway is loved by the fans and will be looking to build his own squad this summer.

Reading

Play-Off Final defeat shouldn’t sting for too long. Jaap Stam had always played down the prospect of promotion and can now build further on his passing philosophy.

Sheffield United

Finished 14 points clear of the rest to end six-year absence from the second-tier. Chris Wilder’s reputation continues to grow. Will look to thrive, not just survive.

Sheffield Wednesday

Carlos Carvalhal is looking to bring in ‘four or five players’ for another promotion assault after finishes of sixth and fourth. Thai owners remain ambitious. Owls fans expect.

Afc Sunderland

Decade of top-flight football over after rock-bottom finish. Manager David Moyes quit and star players are also set to depart. Could find drop a major culture shock.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Paul Lambert quit after reportedly being unhappy with the influence of super-agent Jorge Mendes. Former Porto and Valencia boss Nuno Espirito Santo has taken charge and the club’s new Chinese owners are ready to splash the cash. Expect Portuguese influence.

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