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Season Preview 2020 – Part 4 09/09/2020

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.
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MILLWALL

INS: Mason Bennett (Derby County, Undisclosed); Scott Malone (Derby County, Season Loan); Troy Parrott (Tottenham Hotspur, Season Loan); Ryan Woods (Stoke City, Season Loan)

OUTS: Jason McCarthy (Wycombe Wanderers, Undisclosed); Aiden O’Brien (Sunderland, Free)

OUR EX-LIONS: Graham Stack

THEIR EX-ORNS: Terry Bullivant (Chief Scout)

REPORT ARCHIVE:

Season H A FAC LC OTH
2016-17 0-1
2014-15 3-1 2-0
2013-14 4-0
2012-13 0-0 0-1
2011-12 2-1 2-0
2010-11 1-0
2005-06 0-2 0-0
2004-05 1-0 2-0
2003-04 3-1 2-1
2002-03 0-0 0-4
2001-02 1-4 0-1
1997-98 0-1 1-1
1996-97 0-2 1-0
1995-96 2-1

POSSIBLE STARTING ELEVEN:

Bialkowski
Hutchinson            Pearce              Cooper
Romeo                Woods         Williams              M.Wallace
J.Wallace                 Smith                    Bennett

BLUFFER’S GUIDE: The Lions were relegated from this division the year we went up;  it took them two years to get back up via the play-offs and since then two eighth-placed finishes have sandwiched a struggle with relegation in 2018/19.  Gary Rowett took over as boss when local hero Neil Harris resigned in October last year;  the Lions were 18th at the time, but Rowett propelled the side upwards to finish within two points of the play-offs in a congested upper mid-table.

In as far as it’s possible to judge with the most vibrant Millwall forum – which informed my first preview for BSaD 23 years ago – now barricaded to new entrants and nothing beyond factual comment in the web coverage, you’d stick the Lions in a similar place this time.  The squad looks relatively solid, there’s been some sensible strengthening over the summer.  Rowett is a sound enough manager, and in Troy Parrott the Lions have a handy looking loan signing to supplement a forward line with plenty about it.  Not nailed on for the play-offs, but a solid top half at worst.

NORWICH CITY

INS: Jordan Hugill (West Ham United, £5,000,000); Przemysław Płacheta (Slask Wroclaw, £2,700,000); Kieran Dowell (Everton, Undisclosed); Bali Mumba (Sunderland, Undisclosed); Jacob Sørensen (Esbjerg, Undisclosed); Matthew Dennis (Arsenal, Free); Daniel Sinani (F91 Dudelange, Free); Sebastian Sono (Hannover 96, Free); Ben Gibson (Burnley, Season Loan); Xavi Quintilla (Villarreal, Season Loan); Oliver Skipp (Tottenham Hotspur, Season Loan)

OUTS: Jamal Lewis (Newcastle United, £13,500,000); Mason Bloomfield (Hartlepool United, Free); Billy Johnson (Stevenage, Free); Diallang Jaiyesimi (Swindon Town, Free); Sean Raggett (Portsmouth, Free); Tom Scully (Accrigton Stanley, Free); Rocky Bushiri (KV Mechelen, Season Loan); Carlton Morris (Franchise FC, Season Loan); Louis Thompson (Franchise FC, Season Loan); Isak Thorvaldsson (St Mirren, Season Loan)

OUR EX-CANARIES: None

THEIR EX-ORNS: None

REPORT ARCHIVE:

Season H A FAC LC OTH
2019-20 2-1 2-0
2015-16 2-0 2-4
2014-15 0-3
2013-14 2-3
2010-11 2-2 3-2
2008-09 2-1
2007-08 1-1 3-1
2005-06 2-1 3-2
2003-04 1-2 2-1
2002-03 2-1 0-4
2001-02 2-1 1-3
2000-01 4-1 1-2
1998-99 1-1 1-1
1995-96 0-2 2-1

POSSIBLE STARTING ELEVEN:

Krul
Aarons        Gibson         Godfrey          Quintilla
Sørensen       Skipp
Buendia               Cantwell             Płacheta
Pukki

BLUFFER’S GUIDE: So.  City get promoted having ripped the Championship to bits.  Then spend the bare minimum in the transfer market, a bold/foolish decision to do a long term build, to all but sacrifice last season in the name of a steady improvement of the squad and facilities, all eyes on a more sustainable pitch at it the next time around.  They attracted a remarkable amount of praise on the opening day of last season when Liverpool were able to score four first-half goals without doing very much before City put some passes together and got a goal back after the break.  An irrelevant goal,  the lack of defensive shape, albeit against the team that would win the League, screamed warnings about their season.  So it proved;  there were brief sparks of life before the lockdown but the empty stadiums robbed City of what advantage there might have been in a relatively friendly looking run-in.  They went down with barely a whimper.  Now, though, the theory would go, is when they get the payback.  When they’re well set up to go again.

I think you’d be daft to bet against it.  Those preserved monies have been spent well on an impressive range of temporary and permanent signings, and whilst doubt remains as to where the likes of Lewis (sale to Newcastle confirmed last night…), Aarons, Godfrey, Cantwell and Buendía will spend this season the Canaries seem to have succession plans in place and will profit still further if they realise their young assets.

Coming off the back of a relegation season is never completely straightforward… City have lost a lot of games over the last twelve months but the stiffening of the midfield in front of the back four is critical and the influx of new players will provide impetus.  Wide margins of error on any prediction this of all seasons of course, but the Canaries have to be strong candidates for automatic promotion.

NOTTINGHAM FOREST

INS: Faouad Bachirou (Malmö, Undisclosed); Miguel Angel Guerrero (Olympiacos, Undisclosed); Tyler Blackett (Reading, Free); Jack Colback (Newcastle United, Free); Lyle Taylor (Charlton Athletic, Free); Luke Freeman (Sheffield United, Season Loan)

OUTS: Matty Cash (Aston Villa, £16,000,000); Tyler Walker (Coventry City, Undisclosed); Liam Bridcutt (Lincoln City, Free); Costel Pantilimon (Denizlispor, Free); Marcus McGuane (Oxford United, Season Loan); Danny Preston (Grimsby Town, Season Loan)

OUR EX-FOREST: Nathaniel Chalobah

THEIR EX-ORNS: Ben Watson

REPORT ARCHIVE:

Season H A FAC LC OTH
2015-16 1-0
2014-15 3-1
2013-14 1-1 2-4
2012-13 2-0
2011-12 0-1
2010-11 1-1
2009-10 0-0 4-2
2008-09 2-1
2004-05 0-2 2-1
2003-04 1-1 1-1
2002-03 1-1 1-0
2001-02 1-2 0-0
2000-01 3-0 2-0
1980-81 4-1

POSSIBLE STARTING ELEVEN:

Samba
Darikwa         Worrall        Dawson          Ribeiro
Sow                Colback            Freeman
Lolley                       Grabban                    Ameobi

BLUFFER’S GUIDE: Since our relegation Forest spent three year fumbling around at the wrong end of the division, but in the last two years have been at the business end of the table culminating in a crushing slip out of the play-off positions at the last minute last season.

Since last summer the man at the helm has been Sabri Lamouchi, a one-time French international midfielder who almost made the cut for the 1998 World Cup winning squad, and on at least one occasion last season was linked with the Watford vacancy.  Following last season’s disappointment Forest have strengthened in midfield in particular and are another side who ought to be challenging.  Whether there’s quite enough for automatic is open to question – there’s not overwhelming confidence on the Forest messageboards – but the midlands side are well stocked in most positions.  Play-offs minimum you’d have thought.

PRESTON NORTH END

INS: None

OUTS: Jack Armer (Carlisle United, Free); Tom Clarke (Salford, Free); Michael Crowe (Viking FK, Free); Connor Simpson (Cork City, Free); Josh Ginnelly (Hearts, Season Loan)

OUR EX-LILYWHITES: Danny Welbeck

THEIR EX-ORNS: None

REPORT ARCHIVE:

Season H A FAC LC OTH
2010-11 2-2
2009-10 2-0
2008-09 2-1
2007-08 0-0
2005-06 1-2 1-1
2004-05 0-2 1-2
2003-04 2-0 1-2
2002-03 0-1 1-1
2001-02 1-1 1-1
2000-01 2-3 2-3
1997-98 3-1 0-2
1996-97 1-0 1-1

POSSIBLE STARTING ELEVEN:

Rudd
Fisher               Bauer                 Davies             Hughes
Pearson             Ledson
Barkhuizen               Johnson                       Sinclair
Maguire

BLUFFER’S GUIDE: Preston were promoted to the Championship after a four year absence the same year that we went up, and have since established themselves in upper mid-table.  We’ve not played them in the League for almost a decade, and so the side itself isn’t familiar.   There are a few well-known faces…  former Swansea and Celtic winger Scott Sinclair, the hugely experienced Paul Gallagher and David Nugent who is guaranteed to trundle off the bench and score against us again if he’s still at Deepdale by the end of November.  Alex Neil, the boss, is also a familiar adversary having been in charge of the Norwich side that came up with us.

It would be wrong to dismiss the unfamiliar names as filler though, since in the likes of Daniel Johnson, Ben Pearson, Ben Davies and Darnell Fisher North End have players coveted by other clubs.  They fall squarely into the bucket labelled “no mugs”, and were praised pre-season by Chris Wilder after a competitive friendly draw with Sheffield United.  They’re not the best resourced club in the Championship and have a number of valued players precariously close to the end of their contracts which could upset the dressing room if agitation starts early.  Otherwise, have a good shout of the play-offs.

Comments»

1. mikepeter - 09/09/2020

We played Preston away in the League Cup in 2015. I remember because Miguel Britos brutally assaulted someone on his debut and got sent off and a part of me thought there’d be a certain poetry if that were the only thing he ever did in a Watford shirt.

Harefield Hornet - 09/09/2020

He also did Knockaert!

Robbos Tackle - 10/09/2020

My kids still talk about that Britos tackle on Knockaert, I think they remember it more fondly than any goal!

2. Harefield Hornet - 09/09/2020

He also did Knockaert!


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