1 – Will Hughes (Derby County)
After only one full season at senior level at, this 18 year-old has gained admirers from the Premier League and even Barcelona and while he is likely to remain a Pride Park for at least one more season, the Rams will certainly struggle to hold on to him. With his first England under-21 cap coming at just 17, it is clear that there is huge expectation of Hughes. This fiery midfielder is renowned for his dribbling skills and driving defenders crazy and could really flourish in the forthcoming campaign, hopefully for Derby, pushing them towards the playoffs.
2 – James Perch (Wigan)
The former Newcastle United player was one of the few positives on Tyneside last season and there was shock when he moved to Wigan earlier this summer, for his versatility was a huge advantage to the Magpies. If given a permanent role in the centre of park by Lactic’s manager Owen Coyle, he could prove to be the cornerstone of their promotion bid, with his ability to pull the strings as-well as protecting the defence – he’ll be a valuable asset.
3 – Callum McManaman (Wigan)
McManaman broke onto the scene last season, taking the Premier League by storm and after overcoming bad press due to a horrendous tackle on Massadio Haidara, the 22-year-old got his head down and emerged as one of the stars of Wigan’s FA Cup triumph. A quick winger with a vast box of tricks and eye for goal, the Championship could prove the perfect stage for McManaman to excel before moving onto a bigger club, maybe even joining Roberto Martinez at Everton.
4 – Mustapha Carayol (Middlesbrough FC)
The Gambian international is well travelled in English football with nearly 200 appearances throughout the football league and at only 24, he is expected to make the step up to the top flight sooner rather than later. He joined Boro last summer but was ruled out early in the campaign returning four months later to give the home crowd a little taster of what he is capable of, with a superb goal against Gillingham. A winger with lightening pace and a fantastic passing range, Manager Tony Mowbray will be hoping Carayol or ‘Muzzy’ as he has become affectionately known can make it through a full campaign and that the step up to the Premier League comes in the red of Teesside.
5 – Chris Eagles (Bolton Wanderers)
Another Englishman who couldn’t quite cut in the Premier League but who has found his feet at this level, Chris Eagles was a real star for Bolton Wanderers last season and is only set to continue impressing. The Trotters came agonisingly close to the play-offs last season and that was largely part to the 27 year-old who netted 12 goals and as many assists in arguably his best season. Manager Dougie Freeman will hope that the ex-Manchester United player can hit the ground running and fire Bolton onwards.
6 – Shane Ferguson (Birmingham)
On-loan from Newcastle, this young left back come winger is one of huge potential and re-joins Birmingham City after spending the latter part of last season on loan at St. Andrews. With a magical left foot this Northern Irish international could really progress should he get a full campaign under his belt, he has shown glimpses of what he is capable of and his capability when striking a ball from a dead ball situation is frightening, so you may see some Beckham-esque free-kicks this season.
7 – Michail Antonio (Sheffield Wednesday)
The Sheffield Wednesday winger impressed at Hillsborough last season after his move from Reading, with frightening pace, a repertoire of tricks and an eye for goal, it is no surprise that he is a favourite on the terraces. Although he ended last campaign with injury, he made enough of an impression to suggest that he could fulfil his potential, something he failed to do at Reading. The 23 year-old will be looking to hit the ground running when the campaign kicks off and possibly put himself in the shop window for the top flight.
8 – Tom Ince (Blackpool)
With all the hype surrounding Tom Ince, it’s easy to forget that he’s only 21 but after such a fantastic year last season – 18 goals from midfield – the interest from the big boys is somewhat justifiable. Yet after turning down a move to Premier League new boys Cardiff City, Ince looks set for one more season at Bloomfield Road and the pressure will be on for him to maintain his brilliant form of the past. Undoubtedly the star of the team, he could very well be the difference from relegation or the play offs, however should he have a good start to the campaign: a move the top flight may come in January.
9 – Charlie Austin (QPR)
Having just sealed a move to QPR, the man who scored 25 goals last season had looked set to complete his amazing rise through the football league but a move to Premier League new boys, Hull City fell through last month. However, he will now be leading The Hoops forward line as they try to bounce back to the top flight at the first time of asking and if he can continue knocking in the goals as he has done for Burnley, he will be instrumental in QPR’s promotion push. Powerful, quick and good in the air, he’s built like an old fashioned centre forward and will be excited with the new challenge ahead.
10 – James Vaughn (Huddersfield)
The ex-Everton starlet who is still the Premier League’s youngest goal-scorer will be looking to revitalise his career after failing to make it at Goodison Park. His 14 goals last season for Huddersfield Town arguably saved them from relegation and although he isn’t Jordan Rhodes who left for Blackburn Rovers last summer, he can certainly create a storm at this level.