As you would expect, the last ten seasons have seen ten different winners, which as this is the second level in England, is not a huge surprise, with five of those winners currently in the top-flight. It is a notoriously tough league not just to win, but also to get out of even with two automatic promotion spots available along with a play-off place.
It is unlikely that this season’s Championship will be any different to the last few seasons with plenty of sides capable of gaining promotion. It would be foolish to step in and bet at this early stage with the fancied sides, particularly until we see the squads for the season with the likes of Norwich, Bournemouth and Watford from last season’s Premier League, and beaten play-off sides Brentford, Cardiff and Swansea, all sure to lose some personnel. A squad of players can look vastly different on the opening day of the season to what it appears to be at present. Taking single figures about any side at this point is shocking value particularly when sides like Nottingham Forest who so nearly made the play-offs, can be backed at double the price of Watford, Norwich and Brentford. Brentford were superb last season, but it is easy to see them faring less well, particularly if they lose Ollie Watkins, as seems probable. Norwich will probably fare well enough, as they seemed to have been preparing for relegation for a while, but it is easy to see Bournemouth and Watford struggling, they both have new managers, and Bournemouth have already sold some players with Watford likely to follow suit. I was a big fan of Preston last season and in patches they looked superb. If they can add consistency, they can be considered if you can grab the 25/1 available in a couple of places. Forest, Stoke, Derby, Cardiff and Swansea are all rebuilding and will need to hit the ground running, but at least one of those five sides should be close to promotion, and it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if all five were in the top ten next May. The main thing on their side is that they are now experienced at this level and that will help. Of the bigger prices, Blackburn and QPR will be popular and the latter have been active in the transfer market. The three promoted sides, Coventry, Rotherham and Wycombe will be up against it as soon as they start the season, and it is not hard to envisage all three of them involved in a relegation battle, come March/April next year.
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