With the Football League kick-off this weekend, this series of articles takes a closer look at the 24 teams vying for the £100 million Premier League bonanza.
After taking the reigns with Wednesday deep in relegation trouble, Stuart Gray did a fantastic job to guide the owls to safety in relative comfort last season - even affording to lose their final three games without threat to their Championship status.
In a bid to avoid the dogfight and build on last season Gray has opted for a few choice additions rather than a complete overhaul.
Of those brought in Tom Lees from Leeds is the most exciting - a promising defender who should add steel to the backline. Kieren Westwood was once considered one of the best goalkeepers outside the Premier League and Gray will hope to coax that kind of from the Republic of Ireland international.
Last season’s player of the year and highly rated prospect Liam Palmer remains having signed a new four-year contract in March, however the reality is that Gray will once again be tasked with maintaining the status quo.
There will always be huge potential at Wednesday, but is looks like the kind of investment required to turn the squad into genuine contenders for a return to the Premier League is still some way afar.
Last Season: 16th
Manager: Stuart Gray
Transfers In*: Paul McElroy (Hull, free), Kieren Westwood (Sunderland, free), Sam Hutchinson (Chelsea, free), Tom Lees (Leeds, undisclosed), Dejan Kelhar (Red Star Belgrade, free)
Transfers Out*: Michail Antonio (Nottingham Forest, £1.5 million), Taylor McKenzie (Notts County, free), Adam Davies (Barnsley, free), Reda Johnson (Coventry, free), Miguel Llera (Scunthorpe, free), Arron Jameson, Anthony Gardner, Martin Taylor, Jermaine Johnson, David Prutton (released)
One To Watch: Liam Palmer (right wing back)
The Scotland U21 international rose to prominence at Hillsborough last season; in a campaign that was largely disappointing he was the real bright spark and was rewarded by being voted as Wednesday’s player of the season.
The 22-year-old could once again be the one to keep an eye on at Hillsborough.
After beginning his career as a central midfielder, Palmer successful made the transition to full back last season where is his speed, athleticism and technique made him a threat down Wednesday’s right flank.
Earlier this year ex-Wednesday legend Carlton Palmer compared his namesake to former England international Wayne Bridge, stating he believed the defender was capable of going on to player at a higher level.
Whether Palmer can do that remains to be seen, but for now he will be happy to continue his progress and build on a breakthrough season that saw him catch the attention of more than a few eyes.
Selected Odds: Champions 40-1; Promotion 11-1; Relegation 9-2
Opening Fixtures: Brighton (A), Derby (H), Millwall (H)
*correct at the time of writing
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