The Sky Bet Championship gets underway in less than a week and fans cannot wait for another season of excitement and drama. The league is one of the most exciting in the world thanks to its competitiveness, and it always provides a great platform for players who wish to reach the Premier League. Beyond the players who earn promotion to the top-flight, there are always those from other clubs who show enough skill and ability to catch the eye of sides in the promised land. Here are five players who could be in for impressive campaigns in the 2021-22 Championship season.
Keane Lewis-Potter – Hull City
The 20-year-old striker enjoyed a fruitful year in League One as the Tigers fought their way back to the Championship, coming up as league champions. Under Grant McCann, Lewis-Potter played a key role in his side’s attack, scoring 13 league goals. While it was a tragic story when the Tigers were relegated two seasons ago having been on the cusp of the play-offs at the mid-way point of the campaign, the club’s relegation provided the perfect opportunity for the forward to express himself and find his feet in senior football.
Lewis-Potter will be happy with how it has panned out because he will return to the second tier full of confidence after his fruitful spell in front of goal last season. He now has the faith of his manager and there is a much more positive atmosphere around the club this time around, and this could be a young star who makes a name for himself in the Championship this year.
Ilias Chair – QPR
The midfielder has been one of the west London club’s standout performers in recent years and has been able to bounce back from being sent on loan to Stevenage for the second half of the 2018-19 season. He is now one of Mark Warburton’s integral cogs in the QPR machine and both the manager and Chair will be hoping for a positive campaign to build on their top-10 finish last term. The Moroccan international netted eight goals in the league in 2020-21, assisting his team-mates on four occasions.
While those figures do not look the most glamorous, the midfielder’s role in QPR’s attacking threat is not to be ignored. He has a huge impact on his team, and his vision and passing ability are what makes him an interesting player to watch. He will demand the ball at his feet, and he will either release it to a runner or he will try to get himself in a more promising position and run at defenders to test their resolve. At the age of 23, he is at a stage now where another impressive season for Rangers could earn him a move to the Premier League, or he could even inspire his side to a play-off spot.
Carlos Mendes Gomes – Luton Town
This tricky winger enjoyed a brilliant campaign in League Two last season, helping Morecambe reach the third tier for the first time ever as they defeated Newport County in the play-off final at Wembley. The 22-year-old scored an impressive 16 goals in all competitions last time around and Nathan Jones will be confident he will be able to carry his impressive form with him at Luton Town, hoping for a smooth transition to the Championship.
There is no doubt that Jones has on his hands an exciting player who loves to run at defences, but Mendes Gomes can also provide that killer, defence-splitting pass. Luton have enjoyed their return to the Championship so far and they will feel that they can push on this season, with the capture of Mendes Gomes a real signal of intent.
The wide man has shown that he is all for scoring goals as well as creating them, and this is what is demanded of top players in the second tier. It may take him a few weeks to adjust to the pace of the game, but before long the Championship is in for a treat as he will have fans on the edge of their seats.
Jerry Yates – Blackpool
Another player who achieved promotion last season, Yates will be hoping to carry his fine form in front of goal last season into the Championship as Neil Critchley’s side look to make an impact. Yates was part of the side that ended Blackpool’s six-year exile from the second tier through the play-offs, and the striker was a revelation in League One after finally discovering his golden touch in front of goal. It seems it was largely down to the confidence from his manager and the fact that the player had a new permanent home.
In his time at Rotherham United, Yates went out on loan five times to four different clubs and at a young age in your professional career, finding it difficult to settle in one location. But last summer he found a new home in the north west and Yates was instrumental in getting Blackpool to the play-off final. The 24-year-old scored 23 goals in all competitions and he will be looking to carry his momentum in front of goal into the Championship this season.
Daniel Jebbison – Sheffield United
The young striker made an impression on interim boss Paul Heckingbottom toward the end of the Blades’ Premier League campaign, with the Canadian forward being handed an opportunity to express himself on the biggest stage after he had spent a loan spell with National League North side Chorley earlier in the season.
The 18-year-old made four appearances in the Premier League, scoring his first ever Premier League goal against Everton and becoming the youngest player to score in their first start in the history of the league. Blades fans were impressed with what they saw, and they will be hoping that new boss Slavisa Jokanovic will give the youngster a chance in the Championship.
With the poor performance of record signing Rhian Brewster last season, the Blades may wish to cash in on the ex-Liverpool man and Jebbison looks more than capable of stepping up to the challenge of the Championship. He could be an exciting player to watch this season if he is given the opportunity under Jokanovic.