The Championship 2017-2018 Preview
With an influx of quality coaching in recent years and with transfer fees soaring the Championship looks set to be better than ever this year. Characters including Harry Redknapp, Neil Warnock and Ian Holloway be pitting their wits against an influx of foreign coaches as well as the new breed of British managers.
It all gets started with an absolute cracker of a game when Sunderland take on Derby live on Sky Sports Football. In addition to that Nottingham Forest an outside bet for the playoffs kick off their season against Millwall with both teams looking to start the season with a respectable result.
The Championship is a grind. Clubs coming down from the premiership don’t always mount a serious title challenge, in fact only 6 teams that have been relegated from the premier league have subsequently gone on to get automatic promotion.
Middlesbrough are by far the most suited to mount a serious title challenge this year and they are rightly favourites to land the title at the first time of asking. The signing of Britt Assombalonga gives them an experienced goal threat and they have been able to keep a lot of the premier league squad together. Aston Villa should also be in the mix, they have added some incredible experience and talent. John Terry expects nothing less than a Championship title and the defence looks stronger than ever, the question will be whether they are able to score enough goals something they failed to do last year despite what appeared to be a strong attacking line-up.
Automatic Promotion Contenders
The form team since Christmas last year Fulham have kept hold of starlet Ryan Sessegnon for another season and will be strongly favoured by many to make a playoff run at worst. In Gary Rowett Derby County have one of England’s most promising coaches. The additions of Tom Huddleston & Andre Wisdom will paper over the loss Will Hughes and a promotion push should be expected. Norwich endured a torrid campaign last time out, having started the year as contenders they finished a disappointing 10 points off the playoffs. The appointment of the highly rated Daniel Farke has led to an influx of Bundesliga talent to the club with many pundits tipping Norwich to follow David Wagner into the Premier league.
Having completed the signing of Jordan Rhodes following his loan spell Sheffield Wednesday should be well placed for a playoff run. The addition of George Boyd from Burnley will add to their attacking threat and even though Rhodes didn’t exactly set the world alight during his loan spell he is quality performer at this level and a bounce back season is expected. With agent Jorge Mendes brokering the deal to bring Ruben Neves to the midlands fans of Wolves have plenty to be excited about. It may take some time for the new players to adjust but expect Wolves to get stronger as the year goes on and potentially get a playoff berth. Reading defied most pundits last year and narrowly missed out on promotion eventually losing the Championship final to Huddersfield on penalties. Jaap Stam signed a new two-year deal in the summer and will be expecting his side to go one step further this year.
Sunderland are a playoff side at best, having suffered the ignominy of a home thrashing by Celtic in preseason the fans expectation should be to take a run at the playoffs. Hull are in interesting proposition but there are too many unknowns surrounding the club. Slutsky a friend of Roman Abramovich is in charge and they have lost a lot of quality including Tom Huddlestone to contenders Derby. The chances of them making the playoffs are as likely as them being in a relegation dog fight. Sheffield United stormed to the League One title last year and will be many peoples outside bet to make the playoffs. Richard Stearman has joined from Fulham and with Billy Sharpe leading the line the steele city looks set for a competitive rivalry once again.
Burton will again look to defy the bookmakers. They have added the experienced Stephen Warnock to their ranks and will be hoping that Liam Boyce will be able to replicate the form he showed in Scotland. With Tammy Abraham now at Swansea, Bristol City will look for record signing Famara Diedhiou to hit the ground running and fire them away from a relegation battle. Bolton fans were finally given something to cheer about last year when Phil Parkinson led them back to the Championship. With Adam Le Fondre, Sammy Ameobi, Aaron Wilbraham and Adam Armstrong forming a potent forward line, Trotters fans will enter the season with expectations of survival at the very least. Barnsley will start the season with an array of young talent but a lack of experience looks like it could scupper their chances of survival. The tykes were one of the league’s worst performers in the 2nd half of the season and are rightly one of the favoured teams for relegation.