Who do we want?
The 1st leg of the League One play-offs were tonight and it got me thinking about who I’d like to see in next season’s Championship.
Sheffield United are the last remaining of the ‘big clubs’ stranded in League One after the departure of Wolves, Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton, Brighton, Southampton and Norwich in recent years. This is the 4th season in League One for the Blades and after tonight’s result they may well be staring at another.
I’d love to see United come up because it would make our division even more competitive, yet I am torn because my head tells me that Chesterfield would represent an easier target for us to finish above. I know, naturally pessimistic!
Chesterfield if they did make it, and they now have a lot to do, would see no reason why they couldn’t thrive in The Championship in the same vein as Bournemouth and Brentford, who they have followed a similar path too after winning League Two last season.
Swindon are the closest in terms of geography, but memories of our play-off knockout under Parky sours my desire to play them again. So, that leaves me with Preston, a ground I have never been to, and a famous old club to boot, so the Lancashire club it is, who would replace both Blackpool and Wigan from that part of the map.
The Championship play-offs start this weekend with the East Anglian rivals having to play in the semi-finals as opposed to a potential Wembley showdown, which is a shame. I prefer Ipswich in this farmers match-up, for no reason other than I have a few Tractor Boys mate, I respect Mick McCarthy, and they have been in this division for 13 years, pretty much bouncing around mid table for the majority of that time.
I actually think Ipswich will meet Brentford in the final. The team that stealthily moves into the top 6 on the final day of the season normally carries the most threat and I can see Brentford beating Boro over two legs, with Aitor Karanka’s team still kicking themselves for blowing automatic promotion.
How sweet would a play-off win be for Mark Warburton too? Although how prepared they would be for promotion remains to be seen. Losing Brentford would mean losing a local derby however, so I’ll pick Ipswich to disappear from our fixture list next season.
Defeat for Burnley and QPR at the weekend will see them drop. Burnley have been brave but have just run out of legs and QPR frankly return to where they belong. Loftus Road is a short trip and will be welcomed by Addicks after losing easy away days at Bournemouth and Watford.
Most neutrals have their eye on the calamity that is Newcastle United. I think simply that the season will end just too soon for the Toon to drop unceremoniously into The Championship. However Leicester, Villa and Hull will each feel they only need one more win and it is Sunderland, who have a stinking run of games, that look the most at risk after 8 years eating at the top table.
Heart says Newcastle, head says Sunderland. What do you think?