Championship Predictions: Six Players Likely to be Sent Off on Opening Day

Here's a look at the Championship players that could see red on the opening day

Championship Predictions: Six Players Likely to be Sent Off on Opening Day

With just two weeks to go until the start of the new season, we continue our build-up with more predictions for the Championship's opening day of the season. In the last piece, we looked at the players that might be scoring. This time the angle is more controversial as we look at those players that may be sent off on the opening day.

Usually, I like to use stats in my pieces either to add to my argument or simply to make the selections in the first place. After reviewing the stats for this one, I wasn’t entirely happy with the options as well as the profile of the players. Therefore, I have combined some stats with some personal instinct to produce this particular list.

So, now we have that out of the way, let’s get stuck into the options…

1. Lee Cattermole (Sunderland)

Sunderland's Lee Cattermole is shown a red card

Sunderland were finally relegated from the Premier League last season and will be looking to make an instant return. However, I don’t think there is much chance of that happening and have them down as various clubs that will struggle in the Championship. This is largely down to them being in decline over a number of years.

Getting off to a good start, in the season, can be so crucial and go a long way to setting the tone for the campaign ahead. The danger is that the Black Cats won’t get their good start and that would be compounded by a sending off on the opening day.

Lee Cattermole is a tough tackling defensive midfielder that could well be a big asset for Sunderland. However, the player can also be a liability at times due to the risks he takes with yellow and red cards. Cattermole only made eight appearances in the Premier League last season – but still managed to pick up four yellow cards. The Championship tends to be more physical, which suggests he will play more – but also in danger of red cards.

2. Bradley Johnson (Derby County)

Derby County's bradley Johnson

Derby County are always a slightly tricky team to size up in Championship terms. It’s quite clear though that there is ambition to get back to the Premier League. The club have been through a few managers in recent seasons – but it’s clear that they are onto a good one with Gary Rowett. In fact, I have tipped the Rams to finish second in my top six prediction piece.

Of course, to achieve that target it will be necessary for Derby’s top players to perform well. Former Norwich City midfielder Bradley Johnson is certainly one of those players. Johnson is not technically the best player or even the best passer, however, he compensates that with his physical attributes as well as a keen eye for goal.

The player is also versatile and can be used as a defensive midfielder or in a more attacking role. Johnson played on a regular basis in the league last season, playing 33 games and he picked up nine yellow cards as well as being sent off once. The midfielder can take his tackling too far at times and that can make him a liability – so he makes the list as a player that may see red on the opening day.  

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3. Alex Tettey (Norwich City)

Norwich City's Alex Tettey

The Norwich City squad is going through a summer of change with a lower wage bill and younger players as principal aims. Although some people see the negatives in such changes it’s all in fact very necessary. I’m personally optimistic that the changes will be positive and have picked the Canaries out as a team to sizzle in the coming season.

Norwich will certainly need some experienced heads to mix with the young talent they have at their disposal. Alex Tettey is a player that looks destined to remain at the club and coach Daniel Farke must have a role planned for him. Some people would still regard Tettey as the best midfield enforcer that the Canaries have.

The problem with being an enforcer is when it doesn’t quite go right yellow and red cards can be the consequence. Last season, the Norwegian started 33 games and received 11 yellow cards for his efforts. You always worry with players of this type what will happen next after they have been booked, so you could argue that Tettey is due a red card.

4. Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough)

Middlesbrough's Adam Clayton

Middlesbrough were in the Premier League last season and gave things a good go – but a lack of firepower let them down in the end. Boro are in a good position to make an instant return though and I have ranked Garry Monk as one of the best managers in the Championship.

Clearly, there are some very good players at the club that will be looking to make some serious waves in the league. Adam Clayton is one of those players that not a lot of people will be talking about – but the work he does is vital to his team. Clayton is a tough tackling midfielder that can be used either in a standard central midfield position or as a defensive midfielder.

In the Premier league last season, the player started 32 games and picked up 10 yellow cards for his trouble. As mentioned earlier, the Championship tends to be a physical league and Clayton is likely to play an important part in this. Adapting to that change between the leagues can be tricky though – and if he gets the balance a bit wrong on the opening day then he could be heading for an early bath.

5. Pontus Jansson (Leeds United)

Leeds United's Pontus Jansson

Leeds United performed better than expected last season, certainly a challenge to the play-offs was not something that was expected ahead of the season. Of course, some people would feel that they ultimately failed because they missed out on that play-off place. It was certainly a terrific effort by Garry Monk’s team.

However, Monk has now moved on and it’s difficult to predict a repeat season for the club. The Whites won’t struggle, but a play-off push is likely to be beyond them.  Pontus Jansson is a fantastic dominating central defender that made quite an impression on the Championship last season.

However, he can also be overly aggressive and that can cause problems with yellow and red cards. In fact, last season the Swede picked up 14 yellow cards for his efforts – no other player received more yellows than that. Therefore, there is a real risk if he takes things too far on the opening day– then a red card could be heading his way.

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6. Sam Hutchinson (Sheffield Wednesday)

Sheffield Wednesday's Sam Hutchinson

Sheffield Wednesday are a club that now must be considered one of the best in the Championship. It’s certainly true that I’m expecting them to have a good campaign in the coming season. However, I have also listed them as a club that could make a slow start.

Sam Hutchinson is an important player for the Owls and like most of the players in this list is prepared to do the dirty side of the game. The question will still be though if he can keep on the right side of the law in football terms.

The stats from last season proves that Hutchinson didn’t always get the balance right as he received nine yellow cards and two red ones. Wednesday supporters will be hoping that he is learned from these indiscretions in time for the new season. If not, then the player may find himself seeing red on the opening day.


This completes the end of the content section for this article looking at the players that are most likely to get sent off on the opening day. Hopefully, this one was an enjoyable read and has offered some good food for thought for the new season. However, do you agree that these players are in danger of being sent off on the opening day?

If you enjoy Championship content – then keep an eye on my profile page for all the new developments. Next, I will be looking at how transfers are going in the league and also those that are expected to start the season fast.    


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