Ranked! The 10 Championship players we’re most excited to see this season
10. Sam Field (West Brom)
Last season was one of the worst in living memory for West Brom supporters. Embarrassing results on the pitch were matched only by laughable events off it, when some of the club’s senior professionals allegedly stole a taxi during a trip to Spain that was designed to boost morale and restore order. In the end, the permanent appointment of club legend Darren Moore after a successful caretaker stint was at least able to lift the mood around The Hawthorns – even if avoiding relegation was a miracle too far.
West Brom’s rookie manager is keen to give youth a chance, and the clever passing and impressive work-rate of Sam Field should shine through. The 20-year-old midfielder scored his first Premier League goal last season in a 2-2 draw with Newcastle, and the England U20 international should be able to display more of his craft now that he's unlikely to be part of a team which is just struggling for survival.
9. Ezri Konsa (Brentford)
Every year, Brentford sell some of their best players but are able to impressively regenerate and perform, consistently finishing in the top 10 of the Championship. Three of their leading names joined Birmingham for big fees late last summer, but the Bees still finished well clear of Blues.
Brentford’s data-driven recruitment strategy has helped them identify plenty of bargains in recent times – and Ezri Konsa could well be another for 2018/19. The England youth international centre-back arrived from Charlton for an undisclosed fee and will hope to slot in alongside Chris Mepham. A strong and technically-assured defender, several Premier League clubs were linked to the 20-year-old (including Arsenal, Chelsea Everton and Liverpool), but Brentford offered the best platform for Konsa to get game time and progress.
8. Nick Powell (Wigan)
Although still only 24, Powell hasn’t pushed on as so many hoped he would after joining Manchester United from Crewe back in 2012. The goalscoring midfielder was one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s last signings and touted as a potential successor to Paul Scholes, but an apparent lack of dedication to his craft led to a drifting career. It finally got back on track at Wigan last year.
In League One, Powell was a cut above the majority of players he came up against, and operated as the attacking luxury in Paul Cook’s well-drilled side. Bids from Bournemouth and Brighton were rejected in January, and Powell now has the chance to continue rebuilding in the Championship at a club that understands how to get the best from him.
7. Barry Douglas (Leeds)
As a key component in a fluid title-winning side, it was a surprise to see Douglas so readily discarded by Wolves. Signed from Konyaspor just last summer, the left-wing-back enjoyed a brief but eventful Molineux career. His stamina, technical skill and set-piece precision helped Wolves to the Premier League at the first attempt under Nuno.
The 28-year-old Scotland international never looked out of place among the club's high-profile imports, and was expected to get his chance in the top flight until a surprise move to Leeds last week. He was unlucky to miss out on a place in the Championship Team of the Year after registering five goals and 14 assists (the joint-highest in the division). Douglas has proved what he can do at this level and will be a major asset for new boss Marcelo Bielsa.
6. Mohamed Eisa (Bristol City)
After unexpectedly being shifted up front by manager Lee Johnson last season, Bobby Reid proved himself a terror for Championship defences. His record goal return earned him a move to Cardiff, and his replacement at Ashton Gate is the lively Eisa. The Sudanese striker almost single-handedly kept Cheltenham out of trouble in League Two during his first season as a professional footballer.
He scored 23 goals, at a rate of better than one every other game, and will be hoping to make light of the two-division leap. The 24-year old is a different and far more direct player than Reid, but has big shoes to fill as Bristol City look to compensate for lost firepower and make another push for the play-offs.