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Who's New To The Championship

13 June 2016

The 2016/17 fixtures are released next week, and so we took a closer look at the six new teams joining the division.

Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Norwich City came down from the Premier League last term with Wigan Athletic, Burton Albion and Barnsley winning promotion from League One to complete the Championship for the new campaign.

We take a brief look at each team, their history with North End and what to expect for the new season.

Aston Villa

Aston Villa ended an ill-fated 2015/16 campaign at the foot of the Premier League table with just 17 points.

The Villans have shown their ambitions of a swift return to the top flight with the appointment of Roberto Di Matteo as manager. Di Matteo comes with both Championship and Premier League managerial experience, and also led Chelsea to Champions League success in 2012.

The Club was taken over by Chinese businessman Tony Xia this week, replacing previous owner Randy Lerner, and new manager Di Matteo is expected to have a significant war chest to build his squad for an immediate return to the Premier League.

North End haven't played Villa in competitive action since 2002 in the League Cup, and it was way back in the 1973/74 season when the two faced each other in the league, when both teams were competing in the old second divison.


An incredible turnaround in fortunes in the second half of the season led the Tykes to a Johnstone's Paint Trophy and League One Play-Off final double last term.

The club sat bottom of League One in November but the resurgent Reds climbed their way up the table. The turnaround was started by previous manager Lee Johnson, but Paul Heckingbottom built on that momentum when Johnson left for Bristol City in February.

The caretaker manager is expected to take up the role full time ahead of the new season, and there's no question it is deserved after a terrific end to the season for the Oakwell outfit.

The Tykes are well aware of the challenges of the Championship, having been in League One for just two seasons after relegation from the second tier in 2014.

North End are no strangers to the Reds either, with both sides battling it out in League One during the 2014/15 campaign and previously in the Championship up until the 2010/11 season.

Burton Albion

Nigel Clough's Burton Albion secured promotion to the Championship on the final day of the 2015/16 season with a 0-0 draw away to Doncaster Rovers.

The point was enough to guarantee the Brewers their place in the second tier of English football for the first time in their history.

Clough took the reigns at the Pirelli Stadium back in December after the departure of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink as boss.

It was a fairytale ending to the season for the club, with the manager leading the side to promotion, 14 years after leading them to promotion from the sixth tier in his first stint as manager before leaving for Derby County in 2009.

Burton may be one of the underdogs going into the new season, but will believe they have what it takes to establish themselves in the division after an incredible rise in the last eight years from the Conference Premier to the Championship.

This season will also put North End and Burton head to head for the first time in their history.

Newcastle United

Newcastle's relegation to the Championship was confirmed on the final day of the season after rivals Sunderland secured their place in the Premier League with victory over Everton.

The toon army were hoping for a revival under new manager Rafael Benitez, who replaced Steve McLaren in March, but fell just short of Premier League survival.

Benitez ended the season on a six game unbeaten run, ending the season with a 5-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur. Unfortunately for the St James' Park faithful, north east rivals Sunderland claimed 12 points from their last six games to take 17th place and survival in the Premier League.

The Spanish boss will now spend the summer preparing for his first season as manager of a Championship side.

North End will meet Newcastle for the first time since 2010, when Newcastle went on to win the Championship and earn a place in the Premier League.

Norwich City

Norwich City ended the 2015/16 season in 19th place meaning relegation from the Premier League after just one season.

Manager Alex Neil remains at the helm ahead of the 2015/16 season, and will be eyeing a quick return to the top flight after a disappointing first full season in charge.

Neil knows what promotion from the Championship is all about, after leading the Canaries to Play-Off final victory in 2015.

PNE were victorious in their last encounter with Norwich, beating the Canaries 2-0 at Deepdale in the third round of the FA Cup through a Paul Gallagher brace.

Wigan Athletic

The Latics returned to the Championship at the first attempt, winning League One at the first time of asking.

Wigan were relegated from the Championship but Uwe Rosler made sure it was a fleeting visit as he led the Lancashire side to the League One title.

They secured promotion with a 4-0 win over Blackpool in April, before claiming top spot on the final day.

Wigan will be looking to keep hold of their key players as they look to push on in the Championship in the coming season.

It's over ten years ago since North End faced Wigan in league action, the last time being a 1-1 draw in the Championship in 2005.

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