Old Firm target and key Scotland players - The 6 Scots to watch out for in the English Championship

The English Championship returns this evening with Bournemouth v West Brom. Over the course of the weekend there could be upwards of 30 Scottish players who could feature.

Siriki Dembele in action for Peterborough United. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

We look at six worth keeping an eye on:

Scott McKenna – Nottingham Forest

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The Scotland national team and their centre-back choice has been an interesting relationship in recent years. At one point there seemed to be a dearth. Now, there is plenty of choice, especially with Kieran Tierney playing on the left of a back three. McKenna was one of six at the Euros. Domestic stars like Ryan Porteous and John Souttar will be looking to put pressure on this season to get back into the squad.

The 24-year-old had a solid start to life in England but injuries restricted him to 25 appearances for Forest. This season it is about building on that. Being a consistent presence at the heart of the defence, playing upwards of 40 games. He has the perfect manager to get the best out of his defensive qualities in Chris Hughton. The defender also revealed he is doing yoga to help prevent any more injuries.

Allan Campbell – Luton Town

The midfield dynamo left Motherwell after 160 appearances where he carved a reputation as an all-action asset in the middle of the pitch. A player most opposition supporters would have loved to have had in their team. He has joined one of the more unfashionable sides in the Championship. Yet, a team like the Hatters could be the perfect staging post down in England to showcase his talents, the ability to pressure opponents and support the attack, and perhaps win a move to a bigger side.

It will also be fascinating to watch how he adapts outside of Motherwell, a club he was no doubt comfortable at having played for them all his life. One thing is for sure, through his professionalism, he will give it his all to succeed.

Oli McBurnie has had a difficult 2020 so far. Picture: SNS

He told Not the Old Firm: “I’ll be doing lots of extra work during pre-season. I wanted to come down to the Championship and play as that’s the next step for me, I think. I spoke to the manager (Nathan Jones) and he has ambition for me. He wants to improve the club, but he wants to make me a better player too. That was a big thing, but there’s tough competition.”

Oli McBurnie – Sheffield United

Last season wasn’t a good one for Oli McBurnie. In 25 appearances for Sheffield United he scored just one goal. In April he was ruled out of Euro 2020 after suffering a stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal in his foot. The 25-year-old was then involved in an altercation in the street during the summer after being pestered while being filmed. Back in the Championship after two seasons in the Premier League following the Blades’ relegation, he is in an environment where he has had his best goalscoring seasons.

A player who splits opinion amongst the Scotland support, the inclusion of Che Adams will likely mean McBurnie has slid down the pecking order in the national team. But there is no better way to remind Clarke or prove doubters wrong by firing Sheffield United back into the Premier League.

Allan Campbell has made the move to England to join Luton Town. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

David Marshall – Derby County

The 36-year-old retained his No.1 place for Euro 2020 despite losing that status for Derby County at the end of last season. He faces competition from Kelle Roos for the spot under the management of Wayne Rooney.

Steve Clarke is a loyal manager and if he doesn’t see anyone ready to step in he will continue with Marshall. However, if he doesn’t play and Craig Gordon continues to produce the heroics he has done for Hearts, now back in the top-flight, it will be hard to make the argument for Marshall. Especially when you consider some difficult moments in the World Cup qualifiers prior to the European Championships and within the tournament itself.

Siriki Dembélé – Peterborough United

The 24-year-old is the older brother of Celtic’s Karamoko and qualifies for Scotland. A fast dribbler he can play as a wide attacker or as part of a strike pairing. Dembele was key in helping Peterborough United win promotion to the Championship. His 11 league goals brought plenty of transfer interest from around England as well as north of the border with Celtic and Rangers linked. Plenty of reports suggested the player was keen on following Ivan Toney by leaving Posh for another team. So far the club have held on to him and he will be key in helping them stay up.

An exciting talent, a fine season in the Championship will surely alert Steve Clarke to a player who spent time with Dundee United and Ayr United as a youngster. He could prove a useful attacking option and a foil for either Che Adams or Lyndon Dykes.

Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson labelled him “one of the bravest players” he has managed. He said: “He gets butchered every week by opponents, but he takes it, gets back up and continues to carry the ball.”

Oli Burke – Sheffield United

The second player from the Blades. The second player called Oli. And the second player who divides opinion. An athlete playing football or a player with the potential to destroy teams with his pace and power? The 24-year-old has already had quite the year. Nottingham Forest to RB Leipzig to West Brom to Sheffield united via loan spells at Celtic and in La Liga.

On his day he can be unplayable and uncatchable but there hasn't been enough of those days, especially for the national team. Another player who could well benefit from a spell in the Championship to get game time, get goals and gain confidence.

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