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Championship review: Welcome back Ipswich & Plymouth; Bradshaw sparks Millwall; Hungbo Watford regret

Tom Bradshaw finds his groove for Millwall just at the right time, Rotherham end their yo-yo status and we welcome back Ipswich and Plymouth for next season. All this and more from the latest round of the Championship...


Rotherham United

Football fans have long memories, with grudges lasting for decades and narratives building over multiple years. An example of a storyline that is by definition 'long term' revolves around those teams who go down, up....and maybe even back down again. The yo-yo clubs. The archetypal yo-yo club back in the day was West Brom. The Baggies went up in 2002, down in 2003, up in 2004, down in 2006, up in 2008, down in 2009 and up in 2010. That's seven division changes in nine seasons. In more recent times we've had Norwich and Fulham both categorised as yo-yo teams, but all of them pale into insignificance when it comes to Rotherham.

The Millers have yo-yo'ed between Championship and League 1 this past six seasons, down in 2017, up in 2018, down in 2019, up in 2020, down in 2021 and up in 2022. Happily for Rotherham fans, it's taken seven seasons but the yo-yo'ing has finally stopped and the Millers will start their second consecutive Championship season in a few months time.

It was a giant 1-0 win over Middlesbrough that means Matt Taylor did what Paul Warne worked so hard to do but couldn't and kept Rotherham in the Championship. I'm sure Taylor would be the first to admit that he's built on groundwork done by Warne over the past six seasons, now let's see if Rotherham can go that one stage further and stabilise in the second tier.


Tom Bradshaw (Millwall)

The Championship play-off race is still wide open with five teams heading into the final day still hoping to fill the final two spots and join Luton and Middlesbrough. Coventry City solidified their fifth place spot with a win over Birmingham, while the big winners behind them were Millwall, who leapfrogged Sunderland to end the round above the play-off line in sixth place. The classic Millwall win under Gary Rowett is normally pretty low scoring and what goals the Lions do score tend to come from Zian Flemming and Tom Bradshaw. A 3-2 win debunks the low scoring narrative, but the goalscorers didn't disappoint with Flemming and another two for Bradshaw doing the damage.

The Bradshaw double means the striker now has 17 for the season, easily his best ever Championship tally and equalling his best ever EFL tally for total league goals in a single campaign. When he's at it Bradshaw really gets into the zone, with this being his second two goal haul to go alongside the two hat-tricks he's scored this season.

Ultimately, his were the goals that sent Blackpool down, but Bradshaw is no flat 'track bully', with those two hat-tricks coming against Sheffield United and Watford down at The Den. How the Millwall fans would love to see a third treble in the final round, with play-off rivals visiting and a win enough to get Millwall over the line and into the play-offs.


New faces...

Down at the bottom of the table it was the end for two clubs, with their replacements from League 1 already confirmed. Blackpool were the first to go after losing at home to Millwall on Friday night and Wigan followed on Saturday with their draw at Reading not enough to keep them in the race. They say in life as one door closes another one opens and Plymouth Argyle and Ipswich Town are the two clubs confirmed to be walking through the door into the Championship following their automatic promotion from League 1.

If you're not aware of it, League 1 is equally as bonkers as the Championship is, with a split between the haves and have nots meaning Plymouth and Ipswich had to reach a frankly absurd 98 and 97 points to get over the line.

Argyle haven't been in the Championship since 2010 and bring a great sense of momentum having been in League 2 only three years ago. Steven Schumacher stepped up from assistant when Ryan Lowe left to join Preston and has powered to a superb promotion full of resilience and creative recruitment.

Ipswich Town are a more familiar face after a seemingly never-ending run of Championship seasons from the early part of the century. They return after four seasons, with their fanbase re-energised by a takeover and fresh momentum. Both clubs will be keen to carry their winning form up to the higher level but, given how much the landscape will alter between now and kick-off in the summer, I'll leave it at a simple welcome and good luck.


Joseph Hungbo (Huddersfield Town)

After the debacle of a season at Watford, fans of the Hornets will probably be fairly split on squad players under contract at Vicarage performing well on loan at fellow Championship clubs. On the one hand it's good experience and a potential boost to the value of the player, on the other hand one wonders whether, given the sense of underachievement, that player would have contributed for their parent club.

In the case of Joseph Hungbo it's hard to say, he's not been a mainstay in Huddersfield's great escape but has come up with a couple of vital contributions to their cause. Famous for giving absolutely everyone a chance of a game, Neil Warnock started Hungbo in his first match in charge and he responded by scoring Huddersfield's first goal in the first win of this survival sprint. This past weekend Hungbo's timing was even more impeccable, coming on as a second half substitute down at Cardiff and scoring a vital opening goal within 15 minutes of his introduction.

With Hungbo's seemingly excellent timing and Warnock's preference to shake up his personnel you would be surprised if the Watford loanee still has an important role to play.

Follow Benjamin Bloom on Twitter @BenjaminBloom

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