Championship league ladder: Derby County up, Millwall down

The Seventy Two’s Championship league ladder continues with the thoughts of Adam Bate.

In brief, the idea will be that the table begins in the order that the Championship finished at the end of the 2010/11 season and a series of bloggers and journalists will each re-position one team further up and one team further down based on their thoughts over the summer. By the end, we will have a predicted Championship table for which we can all take some part of the blame…

Over to Adam…

One up: Derby County

It’s been a difficult few years for Derby County. On the face of it, Nigel Clough’s side went backwards last season and a 19th place finish was undoubtedly a disappointment. However, results on the pitch have to be taken in the context of what has happened off it. Clough has been tasked with providing Championship stability while slashing the wage bill and this has been achieved – just. Given these circumstances, the majority of fans have been tolerant thus far. But that is unlikely to last forever and, with Clough in the final year of his contract, the coming season is a huge one for both Derby County and the manager personally.

It helps that this is now ‘his’ team and there have been some good additions. The promising Frank Fielding has signed a permanent deal and will get his chance in goal. Meanwhile, Barnsley’s player of the year, Jason Shackell, comes in at the heart of defence. Considering only Doncaster survived having conceded more goals than the Rams in 2010-11, this should help. Up front, the signings of Theo Robinson and Jamie Ward have also been made permanent, while the acquisition of enthusiastic Aberdeen forward Chris Maguire could prove a good one in time.

And time is really what it’s all about. This will be Clough’s fourth season in charge and the fans now expect to see progress. It was in his fourth season with Burton Albion that Clough won the Northern Premier league. Not many Derby fans are holding out much hope of a title but equalling their highest league finish since relegation from the top flight should be achievable.

Derby County up to: 15th

One down: Millwall

They may well not care but, for what it’s worth, it’s not that I don’t like Millwall. They just over-achieved last season. There’s some pretty good sides below them in that Championship Ladder at the moment – teams that are spending money and will have goals in them.

That could be a problem for Millwall in 2011-12. Darius Henderson is an experienced forward at Championship level but it would be something of a surprise if he is able to replicate the threat and the numbers of Steve Morison, who has moved to the Premier League with Norwich City. Relegation shouldn’t be an issue for Millwall this season.

Just don’t expect the kind of late surge that took them to the brink of the play-offs last time around. I think 16th is a fair estimate.

Millwall down to: 16th

Table after Adam’s picks:

  1. Nottingham Forest
  2. West Ham United
  3. Leicester City
  4. Leeds United
  5. Hull City
  6. Burnley
  7. Reading
  8. Cardiff City
  9. Brighton and Hove Albion
  10. Middlesbrough
  11. Birmingham City
  12. Ipswich Town
  13. Blackpool
  14. Watford
  15. Derby County
  16. Millwall
  17. Bristol City
  18. Portsmouth
  19. Barnsley
  20. Southampton
  21. Crystal Palace
  22. Peterborough United
  23. Doncaster Rovers
  24. Coventry City
The Seventy Two
The Seventy Two published an outstanding series of articles about the Football League between 2010-12 and was the brainchild of Leicester City fan, David Bevan. As well as collaborating with The Two Unfortunates on the Football League Blog Network and a mammoth 2011-12 season preview, the site featured a host of leading bloggers and David was rewarded with a nomination in the 2011 Football Supporters’ Federation awards. Latterly, he was joined as co-editor by Joe Harrison and TTU is happy to present this archive of the site’s output.


  1. Championship league ladder: Derby County up, Millwall down – The 72 Football League : DCFC News - Derby County News
    July 8, 2011

    […] Championship league ladder: Derby County up, Millwall downThe 72 Football LeagueIt's been a difficult few years for Derby County. On the face of it, Nigel Clough's side went backwards last season and a 19th place finish was undoubtedly a disappointment. However, results on the pitch have to be taken in the context of what has …Derby County – Nigel Clough seeks further […]

  2. David Brown
    July 8, 2011

    I think an improvement at Derby will take place and i am hoping for a little higher than you predict but we shall see. One major change i feel will be at Nottingham Forest who have lost Billy Davies and 9 key plauers on free transfers after the back-room staff did not get pen to paper with many players. They couild not decide if they wanted them or not and new premier league contracts were expected as they banked on promotion. Now with 9 out and only 1 player nobody wants and has played 5 games for 2 clubs in the past 2 years, Forest for me could be the big changers this season dropping down to the bottom half if investment isnt coming soon.

  3. Scott
    July 8, 2011

    Morison is a loss, however Millwall’s success last year was built on rock solid defence which will be stronger this year (additional midfielders mean that Tam can move to centre half, Jordan Stewart should bring a bit more experience to the troubled left-back slot). Couple to this a more experienced McQuoid, a fully fit Bouazza, the possible return of Townsend, the possibility of the marquee striker signing we have been promised and of course the talents of KJ (can you imagine supporting a team with Erikson as the manager regardless of how much money you have?) and I am quietly confident we can finish 10th – 12th

  4. Stanley
    July 8, 2011

    While there is nothing disagreeable in Adam’s assessment, Scott has pointed out something that outside pundits always miss. The key to our success under Kenny Jackett has been the defence and goalkeeper David Forde: only QPR and Swansea kept more clean sheets last season. The lack of goals may not be as much of an issue as Adam fears, either. From what I gather, Darius Henderson was a target even before Morison left for Norfolk, and Jackett has told the local press that he is looking for a proven goalscorer to partner him. James Henry and Hameur Bouazza (with the possible addition of Andros Townsend) will supply the forwards and provide a few more goals.

    The Championship is looking particularly competitive at this (admittedly early) stage, and the play-offs look unlikely, but a top 10 finish is a realistic target.


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