Championship Fan Preview: Birmingham, Leeds & Millwall

Earlier in the week we brought you fan previews of Barnsley, Cardiff City and Hull City. Today we're turning our attention to Birmingham City, Leeds United and Millwall. Read on to find out their hopes and fears for the season and their opinions on Huddersfield Town.


Birmingham City - Brian Dick


What’s the mood amongst fans ahead of the new season? Quiet optimism? Exuberant confidence or downright pessimism?


Somewhere between cautious optimism and slight concern. The signings Blues make before the transfer window closes will go a long way to deciding the direction of their season. 

Happy with your manager?


Got to be, he's the one we've got. Garry Monk was very popular and oversaw a good season last time out - but there's no point dwelling on the past, it's Pep Clotet in the hotseat now and he deserves to be given a chance by everyone.

Key Player?


Lukas Jutkiewicz. Blues have lost a lot of goals in the summer with Jota, Che Adams and seven-goal centre back Michael Morrison all leaving. Jutkiewicz has a massive role to play but will need service. 



Weak Link?


Lack of depth in attacking positions. Clotet needs Kerim Mrabti, Jacques Maghoma and

Daniel Crowley to step up to the plate. 

First choice XI


3-4-1-2: Camp; Dean, Roberts, Pedersen; Colin, G Gardner, Sunjic, Seddon; Crowley; Jutkiewicz, Vassell

Predictions


It's really difficult to say because so much has changed since we last saw Blues in a competitive match. The manager, captain, record signing and leading goal-scorer from last season are no longer at the club. 


Throw into the mix the fact that a new head coach has been charged with overhauling a change in style and Blues in May compared to Blues in August are chalk and cheese. 


So I'll take a nice mid-table finish with a style makeover and a flirtation with the top six. But it might be harder than that. 

We will finish: 14th Top Two: Cardiff and Leeds Play-offs: Fulham, Brentford, Bristol City, Derby Bottom Three: Charlton, Luton, Swansea Huddersfield: 8th

Thoughts on Huddersfield 


I think you will be strong again but I am not as convinced by Jan Siewert as I was by David Wagner. 

Where can we find you?


@briandick


Millwall - John Kelly

What’s the mood amongst fans ahead of the new season? Quiet optimism? Exuberant confidence or downright pessimism?


They’re quite optimistic after a number of good signings this summer. Neil Harris said he was going to reshape his squad, and he has done that, with a few more signings to follow.

Connor Mahoney looks a class addition from Bournemouth, he’s a very skilful player who really whips in the ball from set-pieces. Millwall have a lot of plus-six-footers in the box as well at set-pieces.


The team looks a lot stronger than this time last year, and it will help them that the transfer window shuts earlier. They lost George Saville to Middlesbrough late last August and several other players were unsettled after bids came in for them.


Lions fans are realistic that it’s unlikely to be a similar season to 2017-18 when they were in the play-offs with two games left. But they should be up around mid-table and then who knows, they have been stronger in the second halves of most seasons in Harris’ time in charge.


Happy with your manager?


He’s been as good as his word when he said towards the end of last season there would be big changes. He said he had been let down by some players and they’ve been moved on. It’s been a promising pre-season, and there were some excellent individual performances and goals in the 3-3 draw with Real Sociedad. 


Harris has the players to play different formations, after being wedded almost exclusively to 4-4-2 in his first three-and-a-half seasons.


Millwall are usually difficult to play against, and even through last season was a struggle there were really only a couple of games when they were totally outclassed (Sheffield United and Preston at home).


Key Player?


Ben Thompson, 23-year-old midfielder, Millwall fan, who has come on so much in the last year after spending the first half of the season on loan at Portsmouth. Covers a lot of ground, wins the ball, good passer and a goal threat.


He gets the crowd up for it with a big tackle or a burst forward, and the fans love ‘one of their own’. He can play deeper in midfield, box-to-box, or further forward supporting the striker and he has added goals to his game this year.



Weak Link?


Lack of real pace up front. They’ve brought in two big strikers in Matt Smith and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson. Tom Bradshaw is pretty quick, but there’s no one with that pace to really frighten defenders.


First choice XI


4-4-2: Fielding; Romeo, Pearce ©, Cooper, Ferguson; J Wallace, Thompson, Leonard, Mahoney; Smith, O’Brien.


We will finish: 12th

Top Two: Fulham, Brentford

Play-offs: Cardiff, Stoke, Bristol City, West Brom

Bottom Three: Wigan, Charlton, Barnsley

Huddersfield: 14th


Thoughts on Huddersfield


I think it could be a difficult season for you. Getting rid of a losing habit is hard, and the Championship is a tough, tough league. It’s been a bit underwhelming in the transfer market as well, so I just can’t see you challenging for promotion.


Where can we find you?


@JKelly1882

Newsatden.co.uk


Rob Atkinson - Leeds United


What’s the mood amongst fans ahead of the new season? Quiet optimism? Exuberant confidence or downright pessimism?


I have to say it’s the usual Leeds United mix of all three, depending upon who you’re daft enough to listen to, especially on Twitter. We’re a mercurial bunch at the best of times, and emotions fluctuate wildly after each pre-season friendly or shock transfer out. My own mood is one of cautious pessimism, as it has been for 44 years.


Happy with your manager?


Oh my word, yes. He’s the best, Pep says so.


Key Player?


I’m going to say Pablo Hernandez, who may find himself in more of a number 10 role this season.



Weak Link?


Possibly Berardi.


First choice XI


3-3-1-3


Kiko Casilla

Luke Ayling, Ben White, Liam Cooper

Adam Forshaw, Mateusz Klich, Kalvin Phillips

Pablo Hernandez

Helder Costa, Patrick Bamford, Kemar Roofe


We will finish: 3rd

Top Two: Fulham and West Brom

Play-offs: Leeds, Huddersfield, Cardiff and Brentford

Bottom Three: Reading, Barnsley and Luton

Huddersfield: Should also be pushing for play-offs


Thoughts on Huddersfield


I think you’re better equipped to go up now than you were when you went up.


Where can we find you?


Twitter -@RobofLeeds

Blog - https://roblufc.org/

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