With what personally seems like an awfully long summer without football, it is a relief that the time is over and hopes and aspirations for a successful season re-ignite once more ahead of a gruelling 46 game campaign. With the likes of Huddersfield, Reading and Burton among others proving that the second tier can still produce the unexpected on a regular basis it can only encourage each sde to aim high and go for automatic or play-off glory. That being said we are seeing a new Championship era, we are seeing sides fork out over £15m for one player alone and you feel what is normally a more balanced competition is getting the Premier League infection of inequality in terms of spending power. That can only be a consideration as I make my Championship predictions and offer my thoughts on each club going into the season.
19th – Bolton Wanderers
The Trotters return to the Championship and will be hoping to stay clear of the drop this time under Phil Parkinson who I think is the man to lead the charge. They look well equipped to do so having bought in all English based players who have some degree of pedigree in the football league to add to what can be a competitive squad. Most notably Adam Armstrong who I am tipping to be a big success at the club. I think Bolton will ultimately have enough for survival, they have a nice blend of youth and experience and a squad that is dependable to pick up results. They might naturally get picked off by the big guns in the league but I can see Bolton causing the odd upset as Parkinson managed at Bradford and the club holding their own steadily throughout the season. They have enough reliable options over the park to ensure that they won’t come unstuck if either end of the pitch isn’t producing.
20th – QPR
QPR’s decline for me will continue as the lack of any inspirational signings hasn’t helped what is already a limited squad. They could well suffer especially if Matt Smith and Conor Washington don’t step up which is a real possibility and I think the stale setup at Loftus Road could make QPR real relegation contenders. Their home form could well be decisive and I’m not sure Ian Holloway will have all the answers. The rest of the market could be pivotal but as it stands I’m predicting a season of struggle for QPR. That being said if belief is high in the camp they still have players that have done it before and that means I wouldn’t be overly fearful in predicting an unlikely relegation.
21st – Ipswich Town
Every season life in the Championship gets harder and harder for Mick McCarthy and his men. They don’t have the resources to compete and this should only naturally lead to a decline. However that is not the reason I’m predicting a near miss for Ipswich, McCarthy does a fine job at getting results on a yearly basis but this could be the most hard hitting this time. The loss of Tom Lawrence could prove to be really hard hitting, and Ipswich could become easier to beat than in previous seasons due to some ageing players leaving the club in recent months. For this reason I think Ipswich will largely struggle to get the all important wins. That being said their additions are once again shrewd in the circumstances, a lot could depend on Joe Garner finding the net and Dominic Iorfa is a good fit for the Tractor Boys. So you wouldn’t want to be against them again but I do fear for Ipswich while they continue to lack the investment of those around them.
22nd – Burton Albion
Very much an easy target so Burton will be determined to continue to defy the odds yet again but I do think going again will be a big challenge once more. It wouldn’t surprise me if they lost Jackson Irvine and when you look at it they are one of the weakest sides in the league. They’ve added to their squad in similar fashion to last season, players like Stephen Warnock and Jake Buxton are full of experience and can do a job but they are of limited quality and I think wins could be too few and far between particularly as I think there aren’t enough match winners to haul Burton out of trouble. I think the Brewers will put up a good fight under Clough but I’m predicting them to get relegated in their second Championship season.
23rd – Barnsley
Barnsley had a successful campaign last season in which they were comfortable from safety. I do see the club being in danger though due to the nature of their transfer business over the last 9 or so months. They have lost too many key players and with the summer recruitment’s it seems like there could be too many gambles in there to see them having a repeat season. It wouldn’t surprise me if away teams are taking points from Oakwell this season and that could make it an uphill task.
24th – Millwall
In many ways this prediction has all the potential to look stupid come the end of the season particularly if Millwall start firing at the Den. That can be a crucial factor this season however I believe the Lions could well endure a similar season to their last in the Championship, lacking any true inspiration and getting rolled over on to many occasions. I think in games of fine margins they might just lack that bit of magic that can make all the difference. They’ve certainly added some solid names to the squad but probably nothing more than that. Neil Harris has the options I just think they’ll fall short.
Do you share these thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!
Part 1 Here
Part 2 Here
Part 3 Here