Championship Season Review Part II
In part two of our review of the Championship Season, we look at the seasons of Brentford, Bristol City, Derby County and Hull City. In today’s edit, we talk about playoff misery, roller-coaster seasons and some strong attacks.
Championship Season Review Part II
Brentford – 11th
It was another season of upheaval at Griffin Park last summer. After losing their prized assets Florian Josefzoon and Ryan Woods, then Chris Mepham in January, they had to rely on their skilled scouting network again.
Brentford, with all their new signings and a promising start, were playoff contenders in October. However, one win in 15 matches saw them plummet near the drop-zone. Their fall coincided with Dean Smith’s departure to Aston Villa. His replacement, Thomas Frank, at first struggled to propel his side, but their strong spell around the turn of the year shot them up the table.
Inconsistency jolted the Bees, though, and they were unable to follow Fulham’s footsteps from last year. They finished in a respectable 11th place, largely due to their attacking prowess.
Neal Maupay carried the team at times, and may feel it is time to move up the English football pyramid. With Ollie Watkins, Said Benrahma and Sergi Canos, they are by no means short of attacking talent. If Frank can fix their poor away form, Brentford could fight for promotion next year.
Bristol City – 8th
But their second half saw them tumble out of the playoffs. This season, their fluctuating form saw them mid-table at Christmas. A 13-game unbeaten streak pushed them firmly in playoff contention.
However, losing crucial games at the end of the season against Derby, Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday left them playing catch up. The Robins have Adam Webster to thank for their stern defence (fifth-best in the league), which proved crucial to their high finish. Lee Johnson had to cope without the goals of Bobby Reid.
With another 15-goal striker playing beside workhorse Famara Diedhiou and some improved home form, they could find themselves in the playoffs next year. Johnson may not fulfil his dream of Europe by 2021, but they could certainly sneak into the Premier League by then.
Derby County – 6th
Frank Lampard’s first season in management ultimately ended in a playoff place, but it wasn’t easy. They needed a six-game unbeaten run to propel them into sixth. Lampard used his Premier League connections to bring in some brilliant young talent; Mason Mount and Harry Wilson both highly influential in their loan spells, creating 30 of Derby’s 69 goals amongst themselves.
Jayden Bogle had a successful breakthrough season, the 18-year-old becoming a key part of the Rams’ defence. With another youngster in Max Bird coming through the ranks, they have the right mix of youth and experience to enjoy more success.
Derby are perennial promotion challengers, and Lampard has done well to cope with the pressure. If he can get can over their playoff heartbreak and fill the gaps left by Mount and Wilson going forward, they should challenge again.
Hull City – 13th
After fighting off relegation in their first year back in the Championship, this season initially looked like another long slog. The overhaul in the squad, losing influential players like Abel Hernandez and Michael Dawson meant wholesale changes in a short timespan. As such Hull were expected to struggle yet again. This was not exactly the case. A purple patch over the Festive Period saw the Tigers shoot up the table into playoff reckoning.
Nigel Adkins had much to thank for his impressive front three of Fraizer Campbell, Kamil Grosicki and Jarrod Bowen, who scored 43 of their 66 goals. They would do well to keep their attacking trio, especially with Leicester sniffing around for Bowen.
Having been bottom in October, finishing 13th was a great achievement. With some key signings in the defence, their playoff push could yet move them up the table.