The 10 Championship players you need to look out for this season

Published on 25 June 2023 at 20:00

1 - Hayden Hackney

One of the local lads at Middlesbrough, Hayden Hackney enjoyed a breakthrough season last campaign.


Following on from an unsuccessful loan at Morecambe, Hackney came from nowhere to become one of Boro’s most consistent players. With 6.35 progressive passes p/90 we could see Hackney’s assist figures fly through the roof next season. Certainly one to watch


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2 - Bali Mumba


Last season's League One Young Player Of The Year, Mumba contributed 6 goals and 7 assists to a highflying Plymouth Argyle side which achieved promotion.


With Sam Byram leaving on a free and Aarons' future up in the air, this season could be a defining one for the youngsters career and one which could catapult him into the limelight ever further.


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3 - Alex Scott


Following on from Mumba, we have another EFL YPOTY winner with Alex Scott. The 19 year old described by Pep Guardiola as an "unbelievable talent" was the bright spark in an otherwise fairly dim Bristol City side.


Whilst he may still leave before the window closes, if the teenager stays with his current club we could see the explosion of a true star. One to keep an eye on for sure.


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4 - Ross Stewart


Taking a break from the youngsters now, we have 26 year old Sunderland striker Ross Stewart. Commonly known as "The Lochness Drogba", Stewart endured an injury hit 21/22 campaign.


Despite this, in just 11 starts Stewart notched up an impressive ten goals and supplied a further three assists. If he can stay fit for the entire season he may prove vital in a promotion push and challenge for the golden boot himself.


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5 - Chuba Akpom


However, Stewart would not be without competition for that award and one man who will be looking to retain his crown as top marksman will be Chuba Akpom. Last season's surprise package, Akpom went from shunned to superstar under Michael Carrick, netting 28 league goals.


He is another player who may leave his current employers with just the one year remaining on his current contract, however should he stay it will certainly be interesting to see if the London born striker can prove to be more than a one season wonder.


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6 - James Ward-Prowse


Now onto arguably the most predictable shout of the lot. No surprises to see arguably the greatest free-kick taker in Premier League history in this list and whilst he certainly shouldn't be playing at this level, the reported £52m price tag could scare off any potential suitors.


So, assuming the Englishman does stay in this division, he could well secure promotion for Russell Martin's side all by himself. It will at the very least be interesting to tally up his free kick goals.


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7 - Daniel Iversen

The first and only goalkeeper on this list, Daniel Iversen looks set to nail down the number one shirt at Leicester this season after jostling with Danny Ward in 2022/23 behind an incredibly shaky defence.


The last time the Dane played at this level was two seasons ago with Preston North End in which he achieved a fairly impressive 70.7% save percentage. Couple that with the inevitable improvement of the Foxes' defence at a lower level and we may be about to see the emergence of another Danish legend between the sticks at Leicester.


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8 - Marcelino Núñez

One for the Football Manager lovers out there, Marcelino Núñez could well go on to be a brilliant forward-thinking midfielder for the Canaries. The Chilean international fired off a remarkable 2.73 shots p/90 last season and whilst only three of them found the back of the net, with a slight improvement in his shot positioning, the 23 year old could become a prolific scorer from midfield.


 Couple that with his 4.09 shot creating actions p/90 and we begin to see why Norwich signed him in the first place. This season could really be the start of Núñez’s rise to stardom.


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9 - Will Smallbone


The second Southampton midfielder on this list, Irish international Smallbone spent last season on loan at Stoke City and was quite impressive.


A versatile midfielder, the 23 year old is always looking to get into space (as shown by his impressive progressive passes received figure of 4.01 p/90) and thus could dovetail very nicely with the likes of Che Adams and Adam Armstrong. Could he be the next James Ward-Prowse?


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10 - James Justin


Following Leicester’s relegation there are many players who look set to leave. One however, who looks likely to stay at the King Power this season is James Justin. 


A versatile full back/wing back, Justin has been hampered by injury the past few years. But before that, he was one of the most exciting young English defenders in the game.  Having previously excelled for Luton as they got promoted from League One and then an impressive 20/21 season with Leicester City in which he had and xG+A of 0.18. Justin could truly be a phenomenon at Championship level under Enzo Maresca.


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Did we miss anyone out? Let us know in the comments



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