Leeds fans can be as much denial as they want, last season was your chance. Thomas Christiansen Cypriot managerial experience is reflective of Leeds' summer recruitment. Egzjan Alioski is woeful, Caleb Ekuban is unknown for a reason, Hadi Sacko you know about, Matthew Pennington isn't Kyle Bartley. Saiz, Klich and Wiedwald are understandable signings. Keeping Wood is key but there is no major improvement on last season. Even if the Lilywhites do well, like any team thrown together in the Championship, it'll take time. It'll just be going back to pre-Monk.
Boro will steamroll this division. They've spent over £30 million on 3 strikers and still have Rudy Gestede there. So that's the attack sorted. Their midfield includes Forshaw, who was on the cusp of an England call-up in November, Championship stalwart Grant Leadbitter and unbelievably they've still retained the services of Marten De Roon. Defensively, they've bought West Ham's number 1 last season in Darren Randolph, Cyrus Christie to replace Antonio Barragan and then they have Friend, Ayala and Gibson who made up 3 quarters of the best defence in the league two years ago. The squad isn't quite Premier League but 100 points is a worthwhile bet.
Neil Harris is a very Millwall manager. It's more about motivational skill rather than any tactical ability. However, I'd argue they've made the best signings of the 3 newly-promoted sides. Saville and Tunnicliffe are the standouts from their recruitment. They had to though, their squad would've been ripped apart, it still will. Up front, Gregory won't score enough in the 2nd division, Morison never has and Elliott is a decent target man. Their midfield is half-decent with Wallace, Saville, Williams, Tunnicliffe and Onyedinma. Defensively, they aren't good enough, they want a CB but have been rejected in their approach for Mark Beevers so far. They're just lacking quality outside the middle.
If Huddersfield were the mini-Liverpool then Norwich are the mini-Hudd. Webber, the man that appointed Wagner in Yorkshire has given the job Daniel Farke, formerly also in the Dortmund setup. The Canaries' didn't and don't need as radical a transfer plan as Huddersfield. They've bought from Germany but not raided like The Terriers. £15million in profits, mainly from the sale of Jacob Murphy, has also been joined by the sales of captain Jonny Howson and Graham Dorrans. However, the squad seems to have just been filled. There are no major standouts that will walk into the starting XI. Alex Pritchard is a real shout for player of the year this season. A proper manager should get at least playoffs with this side anyway.
Whisper it but I think Forest might just, just stabilise themselves. A huge club that actually resorted to appointing Dougie Freedman, that was the point where Forest truly fell in this last 5 years. However, Mark Warburton, albeit iffy with Rangers and quite the annoyance, should do well this season. Daryl Murphy is 34 but will score double figure and that will be helped by Jason Cummings. Barrie McKay is a signing that I'm very sceptical of. Darikwa upgrades upon Pinillos. They have Zach Clough too as a squad player so Assombalonga could be slightly moved on from. RB Leipzig will come calling again I feel. Hide Matty Cash. Forest aren't dynamic or young enough to hit players but they're not too unexpectedly bad to go down.
PRESTON NORTH END
Before Grayson left, I had Preston as playoff candidates. Alex Neil isn't horrific but he isn't going to take this Preston squad higher than Grayson, that's a downgrade. They have enough goals in Barkuizhen and Hugill, they've also signed Sean Maguire in a low-risk deal. Daryl Horgan's first full season will be exciting to watch and then they've continued to retain their players like Gallagher and Johnson. McGeaady is another Grayson-like blow but they maintain their defensive solidity with not enough going forward to worry the Top 6.