PREVIEW: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
Life below the Premier League picks back up this weekend as Anton Peterlin and Frank Simek look to see playing time for their respective teams to kick off the new campaign.
Norwich - Watford
Zak Whitbread will look to kick his Championship debut off with a bang as newly promoted Norwich will have a point to prove in their new home for the next season.
Watford have had six strong pre-season displays, only stumbling once to Barnet away from home. After barely avoiding relegation, and parting ways with multiple key players including U.S. international Jay DeMerit, things could turn from bad to worse for the Championship outfit.
Norwich have brought in seven new players and dropped 11 players in their rise to Championship soccer, including experienced top-flight additions Andrew Surman from Wolverhampton, Steven Smith from Rangers, and John Ruddy from Everton.
Leeds - Derby
Mike Grella will hope that pre-season work has paid off as Leeds United start their Championship campaign at home against Derby County.
Leeds have allowed striker Tresor Kandol to leave the club, canceling the rest of his contract. The news may bode well for Grella, as head coach Simon Grayson said that Kandol was not part of his plans for this season. With one striker out, Grella may be able to force his way into the line-up at some point down the road.
Perennial whipping boys, Derby County finished a mediocre 14th position at the end of last term. The club has made moves to bring in five new players, two from Crewe Alexandra, and another from Wigan. Derby have also let loose five players, while sending Lee Croft on loan to Huddersfield.
Carlisle United – Brentford
Carlisle United and newly acquired American defender Frank Simek will host Brentford in the opening game of the season in League One.
After spending five years playing for Sheffield Wednesday, Simek is ready for a fresh start with his new team, and hopefully a spot in the starting eleven.
The Cumbrians finished last season 14th in the standings and will want to improve their play for a possible promotion to the Championship next season. With only one win in their final five games last season, Carlisle will look to start in different fashion this Saturday.
Brentford finished a respectable ninth in the standings last season and will hope to land in a promotion spot come the end of this term.
The Bees twice beat the Cumbrians last season and will expect to do the same this Saturday. Both teams appear to be injury free coming off of preseason play.
Plymouth Argyle – Southampton
Plymouth Argyle and new signee Anton Peterlin will take on Southampton at home to kick off their League One season.
The former Everton reserves player recently signed with Plymouth and will look to start on the bench and maybe get playing time for his new team.
The Pilgrims were relegated from the Championship last season and are hoping to find their way back with a successful season in League One.
Southampton starts the season as title favorites to many and will look to begin the season with a win. The Saints finished just one spot from a playoff place last season.
Plymouth will be without winger Yannick Bolasie who is out with an ankle injury. Ryan Leonard could also be left out of the lineup to do a knee problem.
The Saints' Frazier Richardson is injured with a dislocated shoulder while Oscar Gobern is still recuperating from a hip operation earlier this summer.
Wycombe Wanderers – Morecambe
Wycombe Wanderers and Jon Paul Pittman host Morecambe this Saturday to kick off League Two action this season.
American forward Pittman has enjoyed a successful preseason with the Chairboys, highlighted by a hat-trick as a second half sub against the Chelsea reserves and should be in the starting eleven for Wycombe.
The Chairboys were relegated from League One last season and are looking to quickly bounce back this season in hopes of promotion.
Morecambe made the promotion playoffs last season but lost to Dagenham to end their dreams reaching League One. The Shrimps are nevertheless poised for another successful season though and will look to start off right with a win against the Chairboys.
Both teams appear to have no injury problems going into their clash this Saturday.
Northampton Town – Torquay United
Northampton Town and Seb Harris will take on Torquay United in both teams' first game of the season.
Harris, starting his second season as a professional, will hope to come off the bench for the Cobblers this Saturday.
Northampton Town finished last season in 11th place and is looking to improve that standing and possibly reach promotion this season. Even with their finish in the middle of the standings, the Cobblers were still only five points from the playoffs.
Torquay were 17th in the standings last season but finished very strong in the latter stages. Currently the Gulls are on club record of minutes without conceding a goal.
Both the Cobblers and the Gulls both appear to be injury free going into the League Two season.
Jemal Johnson is joining MLS team DC United on a trial in hopes of securing a move away from MK Dons and is not expected to figure into the team's plans for the upcoming season.