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Hi

I’m launching a new blog focussed on The Championship for this season.

For my season preview, I’m keen to profile a kind of ‘insider’s view’ on the prospects of each 24 clubs for the next season. So, with that being said, I’d really appreciate a bit of an overview of how you think your season is likely to go? How’s it shaping up/where do you need to strengthen/who do you need to keep hold of/where do you think you’ll finish, etc. Any and all feedback would be much appreciated.

I’ll let you know once the blog is live, and hopefully you’ll have a spare few minutes to have a read and let me know your thoughts.

Thanks in advance, any help you can give me will be massively appreciated.

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We need at least 4 players but it appears we had not realised that prices have surged  somewhat and that our transfer budget might be inadequate.

Whether we can overcome this problem with loans and be competitive in this league is thus in the balance.

 

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37 minutes ago, Tyrone Shoelaces said:

We'll live or die by our signings. The team as it stands is barely good enough to stay out of the bottom 3 or 4.

But we are good enough to stay out of the bottom 3, even if only barely and that has to be the first , if not the last target for next season. I think we will finish mid table, safe by Easter.

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We have some very good players in Mulgrew, Dack, Lenihan and Raya but need some more attacking options quickly. I think most of our games will be low scoring tight affairs and we will come somewhere between 10th - 18th.

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1 hour ago, robbojohnno said:

We have some very good players in Mulgrew, Dack, Lenihan and Raya but need some more attacking options quickly. I think most of our games will be low scoring tight affairs and we will come somewhere between 10th - 18th.

If you don't score goals you go down. We can't rely on Dack getting 15 goals in this division. 

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We kept hold of all the players we wanted to and even some we didnt really want to but are now hopefully about to add some signings. Just two in right now but we really need two wingers, at least one (preferably two) addition up front and a rough and ready centre back. Get all that and we will consolidate (at least) in the Championship.

Nerves are twitching here though as its all gone very quiet on the transfer front.

Edited by JacknOry
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I know I'm the world's worst at doing patient but if, as seems certain, Venkys won't supply the funds for a promotion challenge then we have to go the Burnley way.

It took them 3 promotions from the Championship to become a top half Premier League Club and they didn't spend much money getting there and they didn't splash the cash  when they did get there.

We have the advantage over them in terms of facilities, particularly the Academy so perhaps we can do it in the 7 or so years it took them. But there's no point in putting our faith in the Academy if the young ones aren't chosen. Travis and Wharton at least should be in the mix this season.I'd be more confident about it if Dyche were our manager!

PS I'll be rather put out if we do make it in 6/7 years and I don't!  ?

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We have a successful, buoyant, tight knit group of players who have bonded really well on the back of a promotion season. This is largely down to the set up that Mowbray has created down at Ewood and Brockhall. We had some stand out players at the core of last season’s side in goalkeeper Raya, Smallwood, Dack, Mulgrew, Lenihan (once fit), Elliott Bennett and Danny Graham. This was supplemented by a couple of youngsters with potential and loan signings, both mainly from the bench (although Ryan Nyambe did break into the side and was improving before getting injured); plus we had a few experienced ‘steady eddies’ in Williams, Conway and the recently vilified Corry Evans. Our squad (once we settled our defensive formation) was easily in the top three in the division and our fitness took us over the line when Shrewsbury (last season’s surprise package) eventually ran out of steam, meaning we avoided the lottery of the play-offs.

Our main issue now is that this squad is thin on the ground in terms of Championship experience, and even thinner on Championship standard quality. Thanks to Venkys ‘living legacy’ (“We got money but not for Rovers”) we are unable to compete in the current transfer market in order to challenge for a play-off place - although some believe Mowbray has under estimated his budget needs - so we are going to have to rely on this team spirit (with 7 of the Class Of 2018 being given improved deals) augmented by some further young signings in Davenport and Rothwell. If Graham is injured, or can no longer cope with the rigours of the second tier then we will be relying on Dack for any threat in the final third. After that, it will be down to Charlie Mulgrew’s free kicks. At least the goal posts are the same size in all divisions and he is good enough to beat a higher standard of goalkeeper! Last year’s other attacking options relied on loanees and it is likely that we will have to settle for the loan market once again to bring in the kind of player we need to compete against far higher quality opposition that we faced last year.

Worst case, without further reinforcements - particularly a proven and confident goal scorer - we may well have to rely on set-pieces to score and set up like England did this World Cup. Just without the top four finish.

We do have a very healthy development squad who will also be playing at a higher level next season following their own promotion. This will hopefully see them step up as well and strengthen our options from the bench; although Mowbray is not a manager who puts much stock in promoting youth players. Tomlinson, Nuttall and Travis have all been given very little time before being banished back to the U23s. Only Nyambe - who was already in the team - can really be happy with his career development so far. Local lad Scott Wharton has just been given a three year deal having been out on loan and has barely kicked a ball for us. Maybe he will get his chance as understudy with us being light on depth at centre half.

Off the field, our fractured fan base - a legacy of the Kean era - has started to put its differences behind it. Largely because (well organised) protests have run out of steam, mainly due to them being undermined by apathy, undersubscribed, and therefore easy to ignore - oh and winning games of football and mounting a promotion charge “helped”. No doubt Venkys will be well rehearsed in dealing with uprisings and quashing mutinies in their core business anyway. Wounds haven’t so much healed as temporarily scabbed over. When Venkys eventually leave we will all be able to stop picking at it and our only reminder will be the scar that it, that they, leave behind.

Meanwhile the club has been family club of the year two seasons running which is a testament to the hard work that has been put into engaging with youngsters - mainly due to the mascot, games console room (I know, right?!) and the family stand moving to pitch side right by the dugout - making the players much more accessible. Winning football matches also helps (although that couldn’t be said of 2016/17 so credit where it is due).

Another chapter begins this August. Who knows what it will bring. A Blackpool 2009/10 effect or a Wigan 2016/17 one is probably 50/50.

Prediction Aspiration: 16th. (12th would be a very good season).

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Good effort Stuart.

Would like to add that I am 100% convinced that Bradley Dack will absolutely look at home at this level and will impress many onlookers.

He will go down as one of the best value for money signings in our history and will be the difference in some of the tougher games that we will now need to get used to.

I think we will comfortably consolidate without ever seriously troubling either end of the table.

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Think id echo others in that its dependant on who we bring in.

If we went in with the squad we had now, wed come straight back down. We only have Dack and Graham whose fitness is waning for all his quality, who give us anything going forward. We need at least 2 wingers and a striker, and maybe another defender.

If we brought in quality, players like Armstrong and Maddison, and dont try and play 3 at the back, you could look at teams like Preston, Millwall and Sheffield United for inspriation if our solid core stayed fit. So its literally dependant on our transfer dealings.

Players we need to hold on to, our best players are Dack, Mulgrew, Lenihan and Graham and 2 are veterans and 2 have signed new deals so dont think theres any danger of losing them.

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9 minutes ago, S8 & Blue said:

Would like to add that I am 100% convinced that Bradley Dack will absolutely look at home at this level and will impress many onlookers.

He will go down as one of the best value for money signings in our history and will be the difference in some of the tougher games that we will now need to get used to.

High praise indeed.

For that to happen though, we would probably be looking at promotion or a mega money sale next Summer.

I’m more concerned about Dack being his own potential worst enemy. This is the highest level he’s played at so he’s very much untested. He needs to learn to manage his off the field distractions and take his game to the next level; to be a little more Duff and a little less Dunn.

 

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54 minutes ago, S8 & Blue said:

Good effort Stuart.

Would like to add that I am 100% convinced that Bradley Dack will absolutely look at home at this level and will impress many onlookers.

He will go down as one of the best value for money signings in our history and will be the difference in some of the tougher games that we will now need to get used to.

I think we will comfortably consolidate without ever seriously troubling either end of the table.

Dack could have a great season if he has a couple of good forwards to help him shoulder the burden. Expect him to do it all on his own and you'll soon find he's double marked out of most games.

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58 minutes ago, Stuart said:

High praise indeed.

For that to happen though, we would probably be looking at promotion or a mega money sale next Summer.

I’m more concerned about Dack being his own potential worst enemy. This is the highest level he’s played at so he’s very much untested. He needs to learn to manage his off the field distractions and take his game to the next level; to be a little more Duff and a little less Dunn.

 

I’ll take that. I am getting a bit giddy.

A 24 year old David Dunn in today’s market though would return an eye watering sum. If he can reach anywhere near that level then I stand by the value for money comment.

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18 minutes ago, S8 & Blue said:

I’ll take that. I am getting a bit giddy.

A 24 year old David Dunn in today’s market though would return an eye watering sum. If he can reach anywhere near that level then I stand by the value for money comment.

Here’s one for debate: I’m not convinced Dack is as good a footballer as Dunn.

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26 minutes ago, Stuart said:

Here’s one for debate: I’m not convinced Dack is as good a footballer as Dunn.

Dunn is/was criminally underrated by many. Not really a debate for me yet until Dack can show it at a higher level. 

I do think Dack can get up there and it will be a good conversation, but now the dust has settled and perspective has been gained I think we can all say that Dunn had a great career and was a very special player - we can’t quite judge Dack in those terms yet.

 

 

Dacky has a better haircut though.

 

Edited by S8 & Blue
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