The Championship guide: Part two

4th June 2018

Swansea City are preparing for their first second-tier campaign since 2010-11.

With nine weeks to go until the new Championship season kicks off, we take an early look at the clubs the Swans will be up against as they plot a promotion challenge.

In part two of our club-by-club guide, we check out the clubs from N to W.



How did they get on in 2017-18? They may be one of many big-name clubs in the Championship, but last season’s 17th-placed finish means Forest’s wait for a return to the top flight – where they last played in 1997 – goes on.

Who’s the boss? Spaniard Aitor Karanka took over at the City Ground in January, following the departure of Mark Warburton. A former assistant to Jose Mourinho, he led Middlesbrough to the Premier League in 2016 only to suffer an immediate return to the second tier.

Do the Swans like facing them? The last meeting was pretty good. It was the Championship play-off semi-final, and the Swans won 3-1 on a thrilling night at the Liberty to book a place at Wembley. The two clubs had previously had a number of tight battles in the second tier and before that in League One.

Any other business? Leon Britton’s 17th and final Swans goal came against Forest, in that play-off classic seven years ago.



How did they get on in 2017-18? Two years after they were relegated from the Premier League, Norwich finished a disappointing 14th in May.

Who’s the boss? Daniel Farke. The German has just finished his first season at Carrow Road having previously been manager of Borussia Dortmund’s reserve side.

Do the Swans like facing them? The two clubs have had plenty of good tussles down the years, with the Swans banking 22 wins compared to Norwich’s 21.

Any other business? Kyle Naughton, Martin Olsson and Leroy Fer will all be going back to a former club when the Swans face Norwich, while Nelson Oliveira could face the team he played for on loan.



How did they get on in 2017-18? It was a good season for Preston, who finished just two points outside the play-off places in seventh. They have had three straight top-half finishes having won the League One play-offs in 2015.

Who’s the boss? Former Norwich manager Alex Neil, who took over last summer when Simon Grayson left for Sunderland. The 36-year-old Scot steered the Canaries to promotion from the second tier in 2015.

Do the Swans like facing them? For the most part, the Swans have had the upper hand over Preston in their most recent encounters. There was a significant success at Deepdale in 1981, too.

Any other business? The Swans lost their last game at Preston, in April 2011. Happily, they were beaten only once in their 10 remaining games that season as they clinched promotion to the top flight.



How did they get on in 2017-18? QPR finished 16th, well clear of relegation danger but also a long way off the play-off places. Hence they are looking ahead to a fourth successive campaign in the second tier.

Who’s the boss? Steve McClaren. The former England manager was appointed in May after Ian Holloway left Loftus Road.

Do the Swans like facing them? The Swans took on the Hoops six times in the Premier League and lost just once. There were three wins, including that memorable 5-0 away triumph in 2012.

Any other business? Leroy Fer, Tom Carroll and Wayne Routledge all know their way around Loftus Road having previously played for Rangers.



How did they get on in 2017-18? It was a tough season for the Royals after the reached the play-offs in 2016-17, but it ended on a high as they avoided relegation, finishing 20th.

Who’s the boss? Paul Clement. One of two former Swans managers working in the Championship, Clement took charge at Reading in March following the departure of Jaap Stam and steered the club to safety.

Do the Swans like facing them? Yes. The Swans have not lost in their last nine meetings with Reading, one of which was the Championship play-off final of 2011.

Any other business? Clement is not the only ex-Swan at Reading. Nigel Gibbs and Karl Halabi are on his staff, while Mo Barrow is part of the playing squad.



How did they get on in 2017-18? The Millers made an immediate return to the Championship courtesy of victory over Shrewsbury in the League One play-off final.

Who’s the boss? Paul Warne. The former striker had two spells at Rotherham in his playing days before joining the coaching staff. He took the managerial reins following Kenny Jackett’s resignation in November 2016.

Do the Swans like facing them? The Swans have done pretty well against Rotherham in their recent encounters – although there have not been too many. Their only meeting in the last 11 years was in the League Cup in 2014, when Bafetimbi Gomis’s first Swans goal proved the difference.

Any other business? Striker Jamie Proctor plays for Rotherham these days having spent a chunk of the 2012-13 season on the Swans’ books.



How did they get on in 2017-18? Having romped to the League One title in 2016-17, the Blades had a strong season in the Championship, eventually finishing 10th.

Who’s the boss? Chris Wilder. Former Sheffield United player Wilder managed the likes of Oxford and Northampton before taking over at Bramall Lane in 2016. A boyhood Blade, he has done a fine job.

Do the Swans like facing them? The Swans have not had much joy on the Blades’ patch down the decades, although there was that memorable FA Cup win in 2007. Last time they met in the league, at the Liberty in 2011, Leon Britton scored in a 4-0 Swans victory.

Any other business? Britton may not be around to face the one other club for whom he played at senior level, but the United games will be interesting for Sheffield-born ex-Blade Kyle Naughton.



How did they get on in 2017-18? After two successive appearances in the Championship play-offs under Carlos Carvalhal, the Owls finished 15ht last season.

Who’s the boss? Jos Luhukay. The Dutchman took his first job in English football when he was appointed as Carvalhal’s successor in January. Has previously managed the likes of Stuttgart, Hertha Berlin and Borussia Monchengladbach.

Do the Swans like facing them? The Swans have not lost in their last six meetings with Wednesday, who last beat them back in 1984. Their most recent meeting came in the FA Cup in February, when the Swans won 2-0 in a replay.

Any other business? Wednesday have failed to score in their last five games against the Swans. The last Owl to net against the men from the Liberty was Steve Watson, in a 1-1 draw in 2008.



How did they get on in 2017-18? The Potters finished up 19th in the Premier League, one place below the Swans on goal difference.

Who’s the boss? Gary Rowett. The former Burton and Birmingham boss left Derby to take charge of the Potters last month.

Do the Swans like facing them? For the most part, the Swans have done well in home games against Stoke but struggled in North Staffordshire. The Potters did the double over the Potters in the Premier League last season, however.

Any other business? Having just come out of the top flight, Stoke – like the Swans – will be promotion contenders next season in the eyes of the bookmakers.



How did they get on in 2017-18? There was a fine late rally, but West Brom finished bottom of the Premier League, ending an eight-year stint in the top division.

Who’s the boss? Darren Moore. The former Baggies defender and fans’ favourite has been handed the job on a permanent basis after a fine spell as caretaker manager.

Do the Swans like facing them? In the Premier League era, yes. The Swans claimed eight wins and a couple of draws in their 14 meetings with West Brom at that level.

Any other business? Albion took 11 points from six games under Moore at the back-end of 2017-18, form which offers plenty of hope ahead of the new season.



How did they get on in 2017-18? The Latics won the League One title to win promotion alongside Blackburn and Rotherham – the two other clubs who had been relegated from the Championship in 2016-17.

Who’s the boss? Paul Cook. A midfielder for a number of clubs including Wolves, Burnley and Wigan, he had managed the likes of Chesterfield and Portsmouth before taking charge at the DW Stadium last summer.

Do the Swans like facing them? The Swans took 10 points from four Premier League meetings with Wigan.

Any other business? Wigan and Wales midfielder Shaun MacDonald could face his beloved Swans next season, while Jay Fulton spent the second of half of last season on loan with the Latics.