If there’s one thing we’ve come to expect from the Championship, it’s surprises.
Every season we do our best to predict which teams will be challenging at the top end of the table, and you can absolutely guarantee that by the end of the season there’ll be a couple of teams up there that you’d tipped to go down.
It’s the same with players. We always think we know which players to watch out for but, let’s be honest, there’s always one youngster or one new arrival that comes from nowhere to absolutely tear through the league.
With that in mind, 90min has taken a look at some of the new arrivals in this season’s Championship who we think are worth watching out for…
George Honeyman looked a real player when he broke through at Sunderland back in 2017/18, and he’s continued to develop since moving to Hull in 2019.
The midfielder was easily the Tigers’ standout player last season in League One – basically taking every award there was on offer at the club’s end of season award ceremony – and if Hull are to avoid being dragged into a relegation dog fight he’ll be key.
Martin Payero hasn’t actually been announced as a Middlesbrough player yet, but with paperwork signed and a medical completed all that we’re waiting for is the youngster to return from the Olympics.
With just 37 senior career appearances to his name it’s difficult to know what to expect from the midfielder, but with cash-strapped Boro forking out a reported £5.8m and Argentina clearly deeming him talented enough to make their Olympic squad, there must be a real player in there – right?
Fulham’s academy has been producing some quality youngsters for a number of years now, but the club seem hell bent on not giving the majority of them a chance in the first team.
Next year is likely to be a little different, with a host of outgoings expected over the coming weeks as they look to trim their wage bill, and as such we could see youth afforded a chance.
Marlon Fossey is one of the best players their academy has produced in recent times and if the pacey full-back is given his chance then he could end up being one of the breakout stars of the season.
Similar to Fulham, West Brom are expected to ship some big earners off their wage bill before the transfer window closes.
If Valerien Ismael can keep hold of the likes of Kenneth Zohore and Karlan Grant then the Baggies will have a great strike force, but we all know you need much more than just two strikers if you’re going to succeed over a 46-game season.
Callum Morton has impressed during his numerous loan spells away from The Hawthorns and Ismael could view next season as the perfect chance to offer him his opportunity in the first team.
Speaking of goalscorers…
Obviously stepping up to the next level is always a challenge, but when you’ve bagged 31 goals in 45 league games the season prior you’re probably going to be alright.
Nobody even came close to matching Jonson Clarke-Harris’ tally in League One last season and we’ll put our bottom dollar on him bagging double figures at an absolute minimum next season.
Already regretting saying that.
Given the financial strain clubs are being put under of late it’s no surprise to see big-money deals at a premium, though Swansea’s £1m capture of Joel Piroe – potentially rising to £2m – is pretty bold given the circumstances.
Dubbed ‘the next Ruud van Nistelrooy’ – that name could genuinely have been made up by his mum but we promise it’s true – the youngster is a regular in the Netherlands’ various youth set-ups and having clinched the Golden Boot at the 2017 Under-19 European Championship he clearly knows where the net is.
Just watch that goal if you want to know what Bright Enobakhare is all about.
Having spent time abroad with AEK Athens and more recently Indian outfit East Bengal, Enobakhare has re-joined Coventry who he represented back when the club were in League One.
The Nigeria Under-23 international is a box of tricks and, while he can be as frustrating as he can brilliant, he’s one of those players you just can’t take your eyes off for fear of missing the spectacular.
Blackpool’s promotion last season was built on their solid backline and goalkeeper Chris Maxwell was naturally central to their efforts.
The Seasiders conceded just 37 goals in their 46 outings across the regular season, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that if Maxwell can carry his form from last season into the 2021/22 campaign he’ll already be up there with the best goalkeepers in the league.
It’s hard to believe that Mallik Wilks is still just 22 years of age.
The nomadic youngster seems to have been around forever and having finally looked to have settled at a club he could be about to show us just what he can do.
Wilks bagged an impressive 19 goals in 44 League One games last season and if he truly is settled and happy at Hull then he could be a big problem for the Championship.