After what seemed like a rather short summer, the English Football League will return this weekend for the 2022/23 season.
Of course, the Championship is probably the division with the most Irish interest. Some young players have joined the league with the hopes of taking the next step in their careers, while others will be hoping to arrest recent slides. There is also the matter of those who will to follow up strong showings last year with another run of good form.
With all of that in mind, here are seven intriguing Irish storylines to keep an eye on this season.
Irish storylines in the Championship
How will Troy Parrott cope with the step up?
— Preston North End FC (@pnefc) July 25, 2022
After his uptick in form at the turn of the year, Troy Parrott is probably the player that Ireland fans will be keeping the closes eye on this season.
The Dubliner struggled during his only previous spell in the Championship, with his season-long loan at Millwall being cut short after only six months. However, now 18 months on, he will be expected to fare much better on this occasion.
Spurs have apparently requested that Parrott be used as a central striker during this loan spell, so you can expect him to get plenty of scoring at opportunities at Preston. After the strides made in his game at MK Dons last season, this will be a big campaign as he attempts to establish himself at international level.
Should John Egan have pushed for a move this summer?
John Egan is good enough to play in the Premier League. His two seasons in the English top flight showed that he was more than capable of duking it out with the best, although he will now be readying himself for a second consecutive season with Sheffield United in the Championship.
At 29-years old, this may have been his final opportunity to get a move to a club higher up the footballing ladder. As a result, promotion in the upcoming campaign is a must.
Egan is certainly not in danger of losing his Ireland place, although a player of his quality deserves to play at the highest level. Should Sheffield United come up short in the promotion race, he may well regret angling for the exit door in recent months.
Josh Cullen's return to English football
Josh Cullen is a prime example of what a player can achieve by taking a risk in their career. His transfer to Anderlecht was a surprising one, but there is no doubt that he has made massive strides as a player ever since taking the plunge and moving to Anderlecht.
He now returns to English football as a much better player, while he will also be working with a familiar face at Burnley in the form of Vincent Kompany. The pair worked brilliantly together at Anderlecht and the Belgian is likely to lean heavily on the Irishman as he attempts to craft his new team in his image.
Everything is perfectly set up for Cullen to have a huge season.
Can Michael Obafemi produce over the course of a full season?
While he has long been touted as a top prospect, last season was Michael Obafemi's first full one in senior football. He initially struggled at Swansea City as he adapted to the demands of the Championship, but the second half of the campaign was a very fruitful one.
The striker would score 11 goals in the division from February onwards, finishing up with 12 in total. He would then carry that form onto the international stage, scoring an absolute cracker on his first ever Ireland start.
Hopes will be high that the 22-year old can now produce that form over the course of a full season, where Stephen Kenny will be keeping a close eye on his form. His revival could be a massive boost for an Irish side that has struggled in front of goal at times.
Andrew Omobamidele and Adam Idah progress
Andrew Omobamidele and Adam Idah are both hugely talented players. They are also very highly thought of at Norwich City, although they have yet to nail down a consistent place in the side at this point in their careers.
Idah was well on his way to doing so last season only for his progress to be halted by injury, while Omobamidele also spent a huge amount of time on the sidelines.
Now back in the Championship and with the club without the pressure of attempting to avoid relegation, both should see plenty of playing time in the upcoming campaign. They will be expected to have a big impact.
Will Chiedozie Ogbene bring his international form into the Championship?
Ireland fans who watched Chiedozie Ogbene at international level over the last 12 months will know that Chiedozie Ogbene was far too good for League One. He will now be granted the opportunity to perform at a higher level after Rotherham United's promotion.
The winger has been linked with a move away from the club this summer, although a deal with Swansea City has yet to materialise. In the midst of the best run of his career, he will want to make a big impact in the second tier this season.
While his team are likely to be in the lower echelons of the division, his individual quality should still shine through.
Can some experienced players get their careers back on track?
— Reading FC (@ReadingFC) July 19, 2022
As Ireland's next generation prepare to take the next step in their careers, a number of the older guard will be looking to rejuvenate their's.
Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick have both struggled massively over the last couple of years, with the pair now hoping to get back on track after moves to Preston and Reading respectively. The same can be said of Ciaran Clark, who joined Sheffield United.
Hendrick will be hoping that a return to form can help him keep his place in the Ireland team, while Brady will be hoping to play his way back into the squad. Neither of those look like guarantees at the moment.