Huddersfield Town take on Derby County in the final Championship match of the opening weekend on Monday evening with both sides harbouring ambitions of a return to the Premier League.
On the face of it, it is very difficult to separate these two teams, with both potentially suffering from hangovers from last season.
Huddersfield only managed to get 16 points in the Premier League and looked doomed very early on in the campaign.
This season is Jan Siewert’s first real opportunity to stamp his mark on the team. During the summer he decided to make most of his signings from the English leagues rather than previous boss David Wagner’s preferred route of signing players from Germany.
Tommy Elphick will provide experience in the backline, while he will be hoping the youthful exuberance of Reece Brown and Josh korma will inject fearlessness into what was a broken Huddersfield side.
Derby go into the new season under new management in the form of Philip Cocu, who took over from Frank Lampard after he left to join Chelsea.
Money, however, has been relatively scarce at Pride Park with loan signings generally being the only incomings.
Krystian Bielik signed from Arsenal for an undisclosed fee, but otherwise Kieran Dowell and Matt Clarke have arrived on loan, while Graeme Shinnie agreed a free transfer deal from Aberdeen back in May.
Both teams have their deficiencies so it is difficult to split them with a draw appealing in the match odds at 23/10.
A rare bright spot last season for Town was Karlan Grant, who arrived at the John Smith’s Stadium from Charlton in January.
He scored four goals in the Premier League – which made him the club’s top scorer for the season – a stark reminder of how poor the Terriers were in the top flight.
Grant provides good pace and excellent movement going forward for the West Yorkshire side and he will be hopeful of scoring plenty in the Championship.
The Everton midfielder has joined the Rams on a season-long loan deal after two successful loan spells elsewhere.
He netted nine in 39 for Nottingham Forest in the 2017-18 season, then in half a season last year, he scored twice in 16 games for Sheffield United as he helped get them promoted.
Dowell likes to play in the number 10 role, and will be expected to take up the same position as Mason Mount last year. Cocu likes to play attacking football and Dowell is set to profit from that.
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