How's it going? I predicted that the negative soothsayers would have called it wrong and so far have been proven correct. Barnsley are not and will not be relegation fodder this season. Being careful to temper my opinions, for a half-season report and not based on November and December results, the management duo "Hillcroft" have now begun to see their footballing blueprint materialise on the pitch. Barnsley have the potential to get even better. High-tempo possession football is the order of the day at Oakwell. We're getting some fabulous results at home and on the road through hard work and an unrivalled team ethic.
Who's been the star? Jacob Butterfield has come of age this season. Barnsley's youngest ever captain and sharp shooting specialist.
Biggest disappointment? My biggest disappointment has been the fall in average attendances at Oakwell versus last season (down nearly 2,000). Absent supporters are missing out on an incredible period of football.
How's it going? Well, the good news is we're not in administration yet; we've had some good times in Europe and the feelgood factor is there around the ground. The bad news is administration is still a distinct possibility, the European dream is over and no one (including the media) knows what the hell is going on with Carson Yeung. Hopefully the club will be able to move on a couple more players in the window and keep the wolves from the door.
Who's been the star? Without a doubt, Chris Hughton. In a period of five months he's managed to get the team attacking again and the supporters enjoying the football again, and reinstated the hope that things may get better.
Biggest disappointment? Nikola Zigic. I fully expected the big man to really show some of his skill before his inevitable sale in January, but it's been there only in flashes and when you're paying someone £50,000 per week you need more than flashes of brilliance.
How's it going? Inconsistent is the best way to sum up our first half of the season. Summer signings are still bedding in and Ian Holloway has had to whittle down his rather large squad. While doing that he has added quality from the loan market. The signings of Jonjo Shelvey and Callum McManaman have been eye-catching and arrived at times when performances seemed to be stalling. It's a shame they won't be around the club for the remainder of the season.
We are pretty much on the same track as the last time we were in the Championship. That time out we finished strongly and there's every chance we may do the same. Transfer activity in the next few months will be critical – if we bring in wisely we may sneak the final play-off spot. Fail to recruit well and we will settle in to the middle of the pack.
Who's been the star? Matthew Gilks has been fantastic. He started the season looking lean and mean. His consistency has been exemplary and his ability to pull off breathtaking saves continues to amaze.
Biggest disappointment? Losing away to Burnley was a disappointment on a few levels. Losing to a rival was disheartening, but the way we performed in that match was worrying. Holloway chopped and changed during the game, our shape was poor and it felt like the side were starting to go backwards. Luckily that may have been a turning point in our season.
Brighton & Hove Albion
How's it going? Brighton sit ninth in the table, three points outside the play-offs. Any newly promoted side would be delighted with that position come Christmas and we are no different. Heavy investment on and off the pitch has raised expectations, but our feet are planted firmly on the ground. After a blistering start (five wins from the first six matches) the nine-match winless streak that followed was a harsh reality check. With that wobble behind us, we'll be aiming to stay in the top half of the table – a tilt at the play-offs isn't out of reach.
Who's been the star? Brighton-born Lewis Dunk has been a revelation. A strong, swift and stylish central defender, his classy performances earned him a call-up to the England Under-21s in November.
Biggest disappointment? The 3-1 home defeat to bitter rivals Crystal Palace, with all three goals against conceded in the last 10 minutes. Shudder.
Andrew West (@thegreatwesty)
How's it going? We're in a relegation battle, which is bad, but we look capable of winning it, which is about as much as we can hope for. A bad start to the season sapped confidence, culminating in a spineless 5-0 reverse at Blackpool, which cost Keith Millen his job. New boss Derek McInnes took the side back to basics, making us hard to beat and concentrating attack through our most effective outlets. A good run of results hauled us out of the relegation spots, but we're far from clear and form has begun to slide again. There's no cause to relax yet.
Who's been the star? Albert Adomah. It's fair to say that he has consistency issues, but at his best the new Ghanaian cap is among the most dangerous players in the division, with pace, control and an end product.
Biggest disappointment? Keith Millen. Did a genuinely good job last season and looked ready to push on – but appeared unable to see, let alone address, some pretty fundamental problems in the squad, bequeathing his successor a badly disjointed group of players.
Grade C-. McInnes has made an impact but the team must do a very great deal better to stay up.
Will Jones, To The Left Of Ross
How's it going? It's been very inconsistent, we go on runs of wins but then runs of defeats. We've shown some flashes of really good work, but too often throw in poor performances. But it's a young team, so we will only improve if Eddie Howe gets time, money and patience. Most fans understand it's tough with the financial restrictions the board has imposed but we're well placed to kick on in the new year. We should finish in the top half, but that's dependent on not selling Jay Rodriguez or Charlie Austin and adding a couple of players in defence and midfield.
Who's been the star? Marvin Bartley has shown the most improvement – last season he was a red card waiting to happen but this year he's shown drive, energy and a thunderous tackle in the middle of the park.
Biggest disappointment? The two lads signed from West Ham – Zavon Hines and Junior Stanislas – have been a letdown. Although neither has benefited from an extended run in the side, they haven't shown enough to earn one.
How it's going? To be challenging for the automatic promotion places and in the semi-final of the Carling Cup at this point is way beyond the expectations of even the most optimistic Cardiff City fan, but the Malky Mackay revolution shows no signs of stopping. Gone are last seasons ego players and in their place are a team that work their socks off and play for the shirt, which is all we desire. City fans are loving life again and at no point expect promotion or a cup final. They're enjoying the ride without the weight of expectation.
Who's been the star? Peter Whittingham has again stood out but the real success is down to how hard the whole team work for each other and not as individuals. Mackay deserves massive credit for his all hard work too, though.
Biggest disappointment? I really can't find a negative so far, it's a great time to be a Cardiff City fan!
Grade A, with the potential to be an A*, depending on the next few months.
Steve Davies-Evans, Cardiff City fan (@The_Real_SDE)
How's it going? Quite badly. While never expecting to set the league alight, many felt if we replaced some of the outgoing players, we could continue to develop under Andy Thorn. The replacements never arrived, and the tone for the season was set early on as one of making do. Thorn idealises a passing game, but lacks the personnel to implement this with any real conviction. Rarely hammered, but without causing much attacking grief either, we've lacked a clinical nature and have struggled to convert winning positions into points. Most fans see the owners as chief culprits, leaving us bottom and fighting a battle that's looking increasingly futile.
Who's been the star? Even with our lack of goals, Lukas Jutkiewicz has been a mainstay of the top scorers chart this season and is certainly doing his bit.
Biggest disappointment? Falling bottom of the table at the beginning of December was a huge blow psychologically, and one we're still waiting (and praying) we can bounce back from.
Grade F. Have to grade us relative to the league we're in. Bottom's bottom, right?.
How's it going? If you'd have told most Palace fans that come 2012 their side would be in mid-table, preparing for a League Cup semi-final, and had won at Old Trafford, they would have given their right arm and probably most of their torso. There are things to work on, such as going a month without scoring, but overall the progress shown over the past 18 months is something to be very proud of.
Who's been the star? Glenn Murray was already a Palace legend the moment he decided to leave rivals Brighton on a free transfer and move to south London, but goals against the Seagulls, Manchester United and West Ham have solidified his cult hero status.
Biggest disappointment? Australian international and Star Wars-themed midfielder Mile Jedinak has not had the force with him since arriving in August. Must do better, young padawan.
How's it going? The season has been a mixed bag, a great run of victories and a desperate run of defeats. However, we were neither as good or bad as each run suggested and mid-table is about right for how we've performed. Unlike last season, we have good players returning from injury and should perform better in the latter half, making a top-eight finish a realistic target. A big bonus for us has been the emergence of several young players, such as Mark O'Brien, Jeff Hendrick, Callum Ball and Mason Bennett, which bodes well for the future.
Who's been the star? Difficult to call but probably Jamie Ward, if only for his goal at Forest.
Biggest disappointment? Nathan Tyson and Chris Maguire were high-profile signings in the summer but for different reasons, neither has contributed significantly so far.
How's it going? Since I contributed to the Guardian's season preview Rovers have gone through a midlife crisis. The steady, yet much-admired, means that had brought us this far have been dispensed with and we've roared off into the unknown on a motorbike with no helmet. A new manager whose greatest virtue is "enthusiasm" and a new embrace of short-term talent has brought a mix of decent results and painfully disjointed performances. January is likely to herald the departure of a number of long-serving players. What trajectory that places the club on for the rest of the season is open to interpretation, but it looks likely we'll rue not wearing that helmet.
Who's been the star? Billy Sharp is that comic-book centre-forward we all dreamed of being, the star at the top of the Christmas tree formation, and he continues to score goals at will. The touchingly humble and honest way in which he dealt with his personal tragedy in October only enhances his standing and reflects what a shame it will be when he inevitably moves on.
Biggest disappointment? The manner in which Sean O'Driscoll's dismissal was orchestrated and conducted. From ill-timed start to yet to be fully reached conclusion it has been an ugly and shoddy affair and a terrible way to treat a man who had done so much for the club and their reputation during his tenure.
How's it going? Nick Barmby's Tigers are quite different from Nigel Pearson's Tigers, but both versions of City look like play-off contenders. Our former manager's emphasis was on a stingy defence, so wins under Pearson were often of the 1-0 variety and there were enough of them to establish us as a top-six side before he defected to Leicester. We remain so under local hero Barmby, but the coaching philosophy is different. Barmby's style is less catenaccio and more tiki-taka; while we're conceding more we're also scoring more. Increased entertainment has Tiger nationals content at the halfway point.
Who's been the star? Robert Koren has been coruscatingly brilliant of late. Unshackled from the restraints of a cautious approach by Barmby, he's developed a habit of scoring spectacular (and often late) winning goals.
Biggest disappointment? Nigel Pearson feigned indignation at being linked to and asked about the vacant Leicester job, then promptly traded the KC Stadium for the Kung Pao Bowl or whatever Leicester's home is called. Poor show Mr Pearson, but many thanks for assembling a talented, competitive squad.
How's it going? It's been a half-season that on the field has veered alarmingly from one extreme to the other, sometimes within the course of the same match. After a 3-0 away win on the opening day at Bristol City, hopes were high of a decent season for the first time in some years, but a collapse of 1990s England middle-order proportions followed with successive hammerings by Southampton, 5-2, and Peterborough, 7-1, although we were reduced to nine men for 44 minutes of the latter.
The pressure on manager Paul Jewell was starting to grow before an upturn that saw victories over West Ham and Brighton and draws at Middlesbrough and Cardiff and a push into the top six. However, those play-off dreams were soon crushed as the Blues went on another poor run, this time a seven-game losing streak – the first at this level since pre-Sir Alf days – including a 4-0 thrashing at Burnley. But just as Jewell's detractor boys were daubing their bedsheets with the word "out", Town pulled off the frankly ridiculous 5-3 comeback at Barnsley and followed it up with the rather duller home win against Derby. Add in a succession of off-field issues, including a number of court appearances, and it's not been an uneventful few months, although, given the money spent over the summer, Town ought to be doing much, much better.
Who's been the star? Aaron Cresswell has been the main highlight. The young left-back came in from Tranmere in the summer and has outperformed many of the more experienced former Premier League players who joined at the same time. Honourable mention to loanee Keith Andrews for his nine goals in midfield.
Biggest disappointment? Jimmy Bullard is yet to live up to last season's excellent loan spell. Aside from the September/October run of form, the midfielder has looked well off the pace, perhaps still feeling the effects of his interrupted pre-season at Hull City.
Grade D and the traditional school report "could do better", with maybe a line or two about behaviour.
How's it going? At the start of the campaign I was predicting a play-off finish for the Whites, but stressed the importance of keeping key players if we were to realise that dream. Unfortunately, on the final day of the transfer window, Max Gradel was sold to St-Etienne and Leeds were unable to find suitable replacement for 2010-11's player of the season. With the loss of our most creative player added to an already injury-plagued Leeds United attack, it was hard to see where the goals were going to come from and predictions became ever more gloomier thereafter. However, with the re-emergence of Ross McCormack as one of the division's deadliest scorers and young players such as Adam Clayton, Tom Lees and Aidan White blossoming into major assets, Simon Grayson's side have overcome huge hurdles to remain as consistently inconsistent as the rest of the Championship.
All things considered, sixth place at this stage in the campaign is nothing short of a miracle. We lack quality in certain positions and could use some pace in attack, but heading into January with a play-off finish still within our grasp is more than we could have hoped for. I'm going to stick with the play-off prediction I made pre-season. If Ken Bates can find the key to his elusive transfer war chest there is no reason why Leeds United won't be battling for a Premier League spot in April and May.
How's it going? Frustratingly. The problem with appointing a new manager in November is Nigel Pearson having to learn week by week what Leicester fans already know – too many players have been shadows of their former selves. Promotion contenders are capable of winning consecutive matches, Leicester have failed to do this on eight occasions. As the promotion pack slip further out of reach the need for a run of results increases and the hope of achieving one diminishes. The signs point to more spending in January, but the Premier League remains as far away as it was this time last year.
Who's been the star? Kasper Schmeichel is a revelation in goal, combining superb reflexes with the ability to make his own luck.
Biggest disappointment? That we have become the club many critics said we would, overpaying for underwhelming performances in an increasingly desperate attempt to shortcut our way to promotion.
How's it going? Better than expected. Our away form has been exceptional, leading to increased expectation at home and ultimately thoughts of promotion. We can't quite get that balance right at the moment, but I don't really care where we pick up points just so long as we keep doing it. It will be interesting to see if Mogga is given any funds in January, but of equal importance will be seeing if we can continue to hang on to our home-grown stars. The best defensive record in league but with one of fewest goals scored tells its own story.
Who's the been the star? Tony Mowbray – the man is quite simply a legend, his contribution has been nothing short of miraculous
Biggest disappointment? Crowds at the Riverside, especially given the run we have been having.
How's it going? Millwall appear to be suffering from a serious bout of second-season syndrome. Ninth place last year had fans hoping for a play-off push this campaign – but at the halfway stage, many would happily accept avoiding relegation. The Lions' problems are clear; too inconsistent in front of their opponents' goal and too unconvincing in front of their own. Having boasted the second-best defensive record in the division last year, 26 goals conceded so far is indicative of a side struggling to maintain their upward momentum from the past few seasons.
Who's been the star? Darius Henderson has proved to be a more than adequate replacement for Steve Morison, sold to Norwich in the summer. Nine league goals in 17 appearances is a decent return.
Biggest disappointment? Millwall's progress has been inhibited by injuries. Midfield mainstay Tamika Mkandawire is suffering from a long-term thigh problem, while first-choice keeper David Forde has been sidelined with a persistent achilles knock. The Lions were without all five of their central midfielders for Saturday's 2-0 loss at Hull. The manager Kenny Jackett has struggled to name an unchanged XI two weeks running.
Alex Aldridge, South London Press (@accordingtoaldo)
How's it going? Forest's season has lurched from farce, a flicker of hope and ultimately a disgustingly poor standard of performance. Deservedly ensconced in the relegation zone we look with hope to the wheeler-dealering of Steve Cotterill in the January transfer window to try to add some much needed balance to the strangely assembled squad of Steve McClaren. That's right, Forest fans hoping for a profitable January transfer window – that's how desperate it has become. After failing to score in well over seven hours of football while displaying seasonal generosity in gifting goals to opponents, we are in one hell of a pickle.
Who's been the star? The bright spot has been the emergence of Joel Lynch at centre-back …
Biggest disappointment? … alas, he is also rather injury prone.
Grade It's a big F for Fail at Forest for half-term.
How's it going? The signs so far this season have been encouraging. We all feared a repeat of the 2009-10 season, when we were relegated from this level after finishing bottom, but we have shown we are more than able to compete with even the top sides, picking up a number of surprising results in the process. Yet, rather worryingly, we sit four points outside the relegation zone and in poor form, with one win in nine games. Nine games ago we could have gone second with a win against Leeds (we ended up losing 3-2) and now the harsh reality of Championship life has set in. We should stay up, but this season will be a relegation fight.
Who's the been the star? Grant McCann. A midfielder with supreme technical ability, McCann has taken to the Championship with ease. He sits third in the division's top-scorer charts, with a majority of his goals coming from free-kicks, and has earned rave reviews from inside and outside the club.
Biggest disappointment? Lee Tomlin. He surprised everyone when he burst on to the scene last season after a transfer from non-league and forced his way to become a regular in the first team. He has struggled to adapt to the new level though and has looked a little languid and sluggish at times, failing to recreate the form he showed last season.
Grade B. We've surpassed most people's expectations but relegation remains a possibility.
How's it going? Yet again, Pompey fans are worried for the club's future. With the owners, CSI, in administration and the club saying that there is 'short term' funding in place, we need a buyer and soon. It's difficult to predict what the next few months will bring. On the pitch, lower mid-table is about right. We've paid the price for another slow start and terrible away form, but haven't lost at Fratton Park since September. New manager Michael Appleton has made a good early impression and supporters are generally glad to be rid of Steve 'Excuses' Cotterill.
Who's been the star? We've looked our most dangerous when Luke Varney is in the side and using his pace to frighten defenders. Our best attacking moments have invariably involved him, although he's not always been playing thanks to injuries.
Biggest disappointment? Ownership issues aside, a squad with a good number of big-name players on considerable wages should have done better than one away win before Christmas. Home attendances have also been worryingly low.
Grade C- but staying up and still having a club in May will more than do.
James de Mellow, Portsmouth fan (@jamesdemellow)
How's it going? Reading have been following the script. Having lost our star players in Shane Long and Matt Mills over the summer, as well as the majority of our backline, it wasn't difficult to predict that we'd have a slow start. However, as with the previous season – when we lost Gylfi Sigurdsson, among others – Brian McDermott is showing signs of turning it around and bringing us back into contention in the second half of the season. And you can't complain about going into the Christmas period sitting two points off the play-offs, having just beaten West Ham and Leeds …
Who's been the star? It felt as though the new signing Kaspars Gorkss was playing in defence on his own at times at the start of the season, but he has been a rock at centre-back and seems to have had a positive effect on the youngsters around him as well.
Biggest disappointment? Jimmy Kébé finished last season on top form, but has been badly distracted by his contract situation. So much so that his sock-pulling antics against West Ham were among the most effective contributions he has made.
Todd Nash, Reading fan (@toddnash)
How's it going? Exceeding our wildest expectations. Top at Christmas? You are having a laugh! At the start of the season I would have been happy with being in the top half of the table about now. There was always the feeling that the bubble would burst, but Adkins has kept everyone grounded. There are some quality players in the side and they have blossomed in front of our eyes as the season has progressed. As one of our posters so eloquently put it: "Skills on toast".
Who's been the star? Rickie Lambert, without doubt. Honourable mentions for Richard Chaplow (most improved player) and Nigel Adkins.
Biggest disappointment? Our away form.
Grade A- (due to the above mentioned away form).
Hugh Collins, itsbeautifuloutside.co.uk
How's it going? Following the departure of talismanic striker Danny Graham and the wholesale defection of our management team to south Wales it would have taken rose-tinted glasses of Elton John proportions to have viewed the season ahead as anything but a struggle. But after a shaky initial period, the team are starting to look cohesive and, crucially, hard to beat. Sean Dyche brought in 10 or 11 players pre-season and many fans questioned this approach, hoping instead to see more products of Watford's much-heralded youth setup. Dyche has stuck to his guns, though, and has done well to win over sceptical Hornets fans, who are heading into 2012 hopeful that Watford can achieve this season's goal – survival.
Who's been the star? Home-grown defender Adrian Mariappa has again looked imperious at the heart of defence. With Watford's defending historically pretty madcap, he's a pleasure to watch. Special mention must also go to Nyron Nosworthy, who having endured a nightmare debut at Vicarage Road for Sheffield United a few seasons ago has conquered his demons to become an instant hit at WD18.
Biggest disappointment? Our propensity for conceding last-minute goals shows no sign of abating and I'd have liked to see us score more ourselves. Also giving me cause for a furrowed brow have been the introduction of the elite player performance plan and the willingness of England fans to get excited about the European Championships so soon after the 2010 World Cup abomination.
West Ham United
How's it going? Well, we never said it was going to be pretty and it certainly isn't, but there can be no doubt that Sam is doing the job he was brought in to do. There is still a feeling that at some point it will click a little more and it will be efficient and entertaining, but for now efficiency is putting us where we want to be. Considering the directionless ship we were sailing last season, it's nice to see us if not quite cruising, then sailing in the same direction.
Who's been the star? Sam Baldock is a lovely player, while Mark Noble, James Tomkins and Julien Faubert have shown massive improvements.
Biggest disappointment? Home performances against Burnley and Ipswich were some of the worst performances I've seen at Upton Park (and yes, I did see us last season).
Grade B-. Although top of the class at most things, if we applied ourselves a bit better, we could be A*.
Simon, West Ham Blog