Football season is back this weekend, so we’ve picked out four players who we think will have a big impact this week.
Hull start off the season with a home game to Huddersfield, which they will view as a winnable game, given they were a Premier League side this time last year. Despite selling Robbie Brady and James Chester for a combined £16m, they have made a few impressive signings and look like a side capable of going straight back up. Chuba Akpom is a talented forward who could make the difference this season. Though he’s never scored a professional goal, his record at youth international level is superb, and he has shown flashes of real ability. Arsenal, and Akpom himself, will be hoping a spell at Hull will do him a world of good.
If Akpom can find the finishing ability to match his physical prowess, he will be a frightening player for any Championship defence.
Wolves’ front line was talked about a lot last year, as they tore through defences with incredible pace and power, with all of them able to score goals. Though they’ve lost Bakary Sako, who embodied everything about that front line, they’ve brought in Sheyi Ojo from Liverpool. Liverpool have high hopes for Ojo, who they are hoping follows the path of Sterling and Ibe into their first team. It could be a coup for Wolves to bring him in on loan, and it would appear that he’ll play on the left of the three.
Wolves harbour hopes of promotion this year, but face a difficult opening game away to Blackburn. Sheyi Ojo could be the difference this weekend, so keep your eye out for him.
One player we’re excited to see this season is Joe Garner of Preston. Jermaine Beckford was the hero at Wembley, but Garner’s record is fantastic and it will be very interesting to see if he can carry it on at a higher level. He’s had spells in this league before, but he’s established at Preston and part of a successful side that have gone up, so he will be hoping that this time he can make his mark. At 27, if he scores goals at the rate he did last year, he might get a chance to play in the Premier League – but for now, he’ll be worried about keeping Preston up.
Preston came up via the playoffs, so will not be expected to do much this year. With the help of their strikeforce they could surprise quite a few people next year.
Finally, we look at Reading, who face a difficult start away to Birmingham. Nobody’s quite sure how good Rowett’s side will be, so Reading could have a good chance to start their campaign extremely well. Their most interesting acquisition was that of former Fulham striker Orlando Sa. Sa’s record in the last two years is impressive, however he hadn’t been prolific until a move to AEL Limassol in Greece. He scored 14 in 33 last season for Legia Warsaw, but clearly Reading have seen something in the forward. It will be very interesting to see how he does at Reading, given he never made a name for himself at Fulham.
Sa is a very interesting buy, and will be an interesting watch this year.