A lot has been made of the quality of this seasons Championship and whether it is as good as earlier seasons. In my opinion Wolves aside this is a very average division in terms of quality and about half of the league can still get sucked into the relegation fight but with that in mind let’s have a look at the bottom six clubs and see whether they have enough to stay up and fight another season.
Barnsley: Fresh off of the departure of Paul Heckingbottom to Leeds United, Jose Morais is the new man at the Oakwell helm. On Tuesday he had far from the ideal début losing 2 – 1 to Burton Albion in a huge relegation six pointer. With no real goalscorer in the team and average recruitment in the January window I believe the departure of Heckingbottom was the final nail in the coffin of the Tykes and with a manager who doesn’t have the best win ratios in leagues of lesser quality than the Championship, for me the Tykes will be playing their trade in the third tier next season. VERDICT: Relegation.
Birmingham City: Not a team I really expected to be in this situation at the start of the season but here they are. Harry Redknapp failed to get the Blues off to a strong start to the season, quickly paying the price. Replaced by the uninspiring appointment of Steve Cotterill results have failed to improve and despite what looked like a slight revival, recent losses against Aston Villa and Brentford have sent them sliding right back down the table. Most other years I would say relegation but because of the poor quality other sides have, in my opinion they will just survive. Big improvements needed for next season though. VERDICT: Survival.
Burton Albion: A team working miracles by even being in this division, if the Brewers survive for a second season, for me Nigel Clough deserves to be nominated to Manager of the Season because once again he has done a fantastic job at the Pirelli Stadium. However, Burton have been close or in the bottom three all season and as this stands they are set for a return to League One. The signing of Darren Bent hasn’t proven to be a good one so far and in my opinion as much of a good go they will give it, it just won’t be enough. I wouldn’t be at all surprised though if they do string some results together and finish at least 21st. Should do well in League One next season. VERDICT: Relegation.
Hull City: A team with many off field problems, it isn’t that much of a surprise to see the Tigers in this position. Disputes between supporters and the Allam family over club name and concessions, things on the field haven’t been too successful either. Injuries have yet again ravaged a squad who on paper is capable of promotion. Last minute goals have been a big issue this season but the return of key players from injury such as Hernandez, Bowen, Grosicki and Odubajo should be enough for Nigel Adkins men to see another season in the Championship. But unless the Allam family sell up, they will find themselves in a similar situation next season. VERDICT: Survival
Sunderland: Arguably the most depressing side to support in England, this season has followed on from the last in the sense of being a complete disaster. Simon Grayson had an unsuccessful spell at the Stadium of Light and now Chris Coleman has taken the reigns, he isn’t faring any better. The Miracle of Bristanbul looked to possibly be a turning point for the Black Cats but losses to Brentford and more importantly, Bolton have seen the club slip to bottom of the league. With Ellis Short doing all he can to sell the club, players who don’t want to be there such as Khazri, Lens and nDong returning from loan spells at the end of the season, next season doesn’ look remotely promising and for me, a return to the Championship won’t be swift for the North East club. VERDICT: Relegation
Bolton Wanderers: Starting the season in a transfer window when the club was limited to free transfers and loan deals, Phil Parkinson’s men didn’t get off to a good start but the ex Bradford City man has yet again proved he can work wonders on a shoestring budget. Despite losing Gary Madine to Cardiff for a sizeable fee, the Lancashire look in a very strong position to consolidate their place in the Championship next season. If anything, this paragraph should probably have been about Reading as their descent down the table continues. I would say the Royals are more in danger of relegation than Bolton, but because of their struggles pre-Christmas, they earn an unwanted spot on this list. VERDICT: Survival.
What is your verdict? Let us know in the comments below!