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The Championship View: Part three

The Championship View: Part three

  • Fans of Nottingham Forest, West Brom and more share their views ahead of the season
  • Opposition fans also give their take on Cardiff's forthcoming season
Ken Zohore/WBA

The 2019/20 season is almost upon us and Cardiff are back in the Championship, but what do fans of the other second tier clubs think of the Bluebirds and how do they think their own team will fare?

Scott Salter caught up with fans of some of Cardiff’s opponents this year, and in part two we’ll hear from fans of Forest, West Brom, QPR and Reading.

If you missed part one, check it out here. Part two is here.

Nottingham Forest

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What does your side need this summer?

To make it to the end of the season without sacking a manager.

What’s the one thing Cardiff fans should know about your team/club?

Although we don’t like to go on about it, we did win two successive European Cups. Did we not mention that?

How do you think you’ll fare this season?

I honestly don’t know: anywhere between 6th and 22nd. As I write this, it’s July so everything could click into place from the opening game, precipitating a magical season about which books are written and t shirts are printed.

More realistically, we’ll do ok – enjoy a few decent and unexpected wins while embarrassing ourselves against relegation strugglers and probably finish…16th.

What do you make of Cardiff?

Obdurate opponents from whom we rarely get any joy from. The very definition of ‘tough, organised, difficult place to go, will give you a game.’

What do you make of Cardiff? Where do you think Cardiff will finish?

If you still have Stacey Caldicott and Andy Legg, you’ll probably do ok. If not…..

Absolutely no idea. This league is exactly the same as it was since you left it: very very silly and very very hard to predict.

Thanks to David Marples for his input. David is the author of The History Boys, the story of 30 iconic goals in Forest history. Check it out here.

Queen’s Park Rangers

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What does your side need this summer?

QPR’s glaring weakness is the striker position. Currently the two strikers on the squad are 2 20 year olds in Oteh and and Walker. That’s it. No experience up top and very thin as well. I think it’s even a bit more concerning that, at the time of typing this, we haven’t been linked to any strikers. We need to sign at the minimum two strikers in the upcoming weeks or things could get ugly fast.

What’s the one thing Cardiff fans should know about your team/club?

The one thing Cardiff fans should know is we do have young and exciting players. Eze is a delight to watch with the ball at his feet and rightfully wears the number 10 for QPR. Joe Lumley was probably one of the few bright spots for us last year and has unbelievable ball distribution. Also look for Bright Osayi-Samuel and Ilias Chair to make more of an impact this year. Lastly it will be interesting to see what our two big loans, Luke Amos (Spurs) and Matt Smith (Man City) bring to the table.

How do you think you’ll fare this season?

To be honest the hole at striker is so concerning for me. Especially with getting someone in soon so he can build chemistry and learn teammates tendencies. If we had a striker or two from early on this could be a team that finishes 9-12 range but instead we are more likely in a relegation battle finishing around 17-21.

What do you make of Cardiff?

I believe Cardiff has enough talent to compete in the championship but do wonder if they have enough depth for an entire year. It feels like looking at the current squad the midfield may be an issue, especially in the center part of the pitch. It was tough to judge them based on last year as they took a very defensive approach in the Premier League. They have a few Rangers on the squad who I still cheer on in Hoilett and Smithies (who may be on his way out?), but I’m not sure if you go with the roster currently on paper, it get you back up.

Where do you think Cardiff will finish?

I think Cardiff finishes anywhere from 6 (playoffs!) to 10.

Thanks to the @RollHoagie for his input. 

Reading

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What does your side need this summer?

Finding a new centre-half partner for Liam Moore remains the priority – the captain is currently the only senior centre-back at the club. Matt Miazga’s performances throughout the second half of last season were pivotal to survival and all Reading fans would welcome him back with open arms. Another creative central midfielder to provide cover for the injury-prone John Swift wouldn’t go amiss either.

What’s the one thing Cardiff fans should know about your team/club?

Don’t underestimate the value of our academy. Only six non-academy players were initially taken on the pre-season tour and Jose Gomes plans to build the team around the academy stars this season. Box-to-box midfielder Andy Rinomhota won the fans’ POTS vote last season, Danny Loader has been subject to heavy Premier League interest, Andrija Novakovich is already a US international and tore up the Eredivisie on loan last season, while Michael Olise is one of the most exciting talents we’ve produced in recent years. Keep an eye out for those four this season especially.

How do you think you’ll fare this season?

The board have stated, somewhat optimistically, that they expect us to be battling for promotion this season but with FFP issues currently preventing us from making any new signings and a hugely inexperienced squad, most Reading fans would simply be happy with survival. These are exciting times for a club in transition but we can’t expect too much too soon. I’ll go for a comfortable lower-mid-table finish.

What do you make of Cardiff?

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I’ve been particularly impressed with Warnock’s business so far. Aden Flint’s imminent arrival represents an upgrade on Bruce Manga and I feel like getting £8million out of Kenneth Zohore is a good deal for all parties. Will Vaulks was a player I hoped Reading would look at and looks an astute acquisition for this level.

Where do you think Cardiff will finish?

Neil Warnock is possibly my favourite manager in the EFL and with an arguably stronger squad than the one that saw you promoted in 2017/18 in a much weaker division, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cardiff battling for automatic promotion once again.

Thanks to @HarrySmithRFC
for his input.

West Bromwich Albion

What does your side need this summer?

Without being all doom and gloom, the side needs a lot. We’ve lost a huge chunk of first team talent this summer in Gayle, Rodriguez, Dawson et al. Up front is the main problem; we lost 46 goals in Dwight and Jay-Rod and having Hal Robson-Kanu as our only recognised striker at the time of writing this doesn’t exactly bode brilliantly for a promotion push. Mass recruitment is absolutely essential over the next few weeks.

Editor’s note: We spoke to Cam before Ken Zohore had been confirmed as a West Brom player

What’s the one thing Cardiff fans should know about your team/club?

If I had to pick one thing you should know about the club it’d be that – if you haven’t seen him already – we have a massive combi boiler with arms and legs that struts around the pitch before kick off. So any Bluebirds making the trip our way this season, prepare to meet Boilerman! Also, The Vine got voted the best away pub in the Premier League before we got relegated so look out for that.

How do you think you’ll fare this season?

It’s hard to tell how we’ll do this season to be honest. As I said, the type of faces we bring in before the season starts are more than likely going to decide that because at the moment, this paper-thin squad is barely good enough for top half. Anything less than at least another playoff push is going to be seen as a failure, though. This is really cheery.

What do you make of Cardiff?

I’ve never had a problem with Cardiff personally. Neil Warnock is always guaranteed box office so it’s nice to have him back in the same division, and I’ve always enjoyed Vincent Tan’s ‘replica shirt over high-waisted trousers’ look. Very good away day as well, got no complaints. Looking forward to Sol Bamba’s 92nd minute winner at The Hawthorns.

Where do you think Cardiff will finish?

I think you’ll be right up there, hopefully with us. I won’t pretend to be clued up on all things Cardiff but Vaulks looks a decent signing and you seem to have kept the bulk of last season’s squad together. Would’ve been nice to see you keep hold of Camarasa permanently just because I thought he was excellent but it isn’t surprising that he’s looking Premier League-bound. I reckon you’ll do well. Hopefully not too well, I would like to go up!

Thanks to West Brom fan @_CamWBA for his input. 

We hope you enjoyed part three of our Championship view. Thanks to those who provided their input.

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