English Football League Predictions: Bolton Wanderers, Sheffield United & Fleetwood Town to be Champions?
Predictions for the Npower Championship season 2012/2013
Champions- Bolton Wanderers
For Bolton last season was an emotional one, the collapsing of Fabrice Muamba was a dreadful moment, although it showed how great football truly is, but in the process it led to Bolton suffering a lack of form.
The reality is last season Bolton were unlucky with injuries influential pair Stuart Holden and Lee Chung-Yong both missed the whole of the last season, and with Kevin Davies and Chris Eagles both agreeing to stay this season the team have great attacking options.
Although 15 players have left the team during the transfer window, they have kept their better players and should have enough to go back up at the first attempt.
2nd place- Blackpool
Heartbreak for Blackpool after a play-off final loss to West Ham, but Blackpool have kept their whole squad intact with dangerous wingers Tom Ince and Matty Phillips remaining the key threat for the side.
Ian Holloway has got the mix between youth and experience correct hence Blackpool should be aiming for automatic promotion. And for a team celebrating their 125th anniversary it would be fitting for the tangerines to get back into the Premier League yet again.
After Carson Yeung was charged for money laundering, it became quite obvious that funds would not be made available to whoever the manager may be. But with new manager Lee Clarke in charge hopes should be high, after he did a great job at Huddersfield Town.
He has already signed talented midfielder Darren Ambrose, and with the likes of Marlon King who does score goals and also Chris Burke who adds width to the squad and the young talent of Nathan Redmond and Jack Butland already in the squad Lee Clarke has a good team to begin with.
While he has also signed Hayden Mullins and Peter Lovenkrands who add real depth to the team. Birmingham City fans have early right to feel optimistic.
During a tough season in the Premier League, the appointment of Terry Connor’s of course proved to be the wrong choice, but the employment of Stale Solbakken is a decision which could be a great one. Whilst to many fans he is unknown his success as a manager is there for all to see, with his time at Copenhagen being his most fruitful.
Also Wolves seem to not be in a position were they are forced to sell their big stars, so Matt Jarvis may stay, and even if Steven Fletcher does leave, if some of the £15 million is spent on new players then Wolves should have enough to get into the play-offs.
Tony Mowbray has already become a fans favourite while managing the club he once played for, and in the transfer market the signing of Jonathan Woodgate could be a crucial one, if Woodgate can maintain his fitness he will clearly be the best defender in the division, and Woodgate has spoken of his desire to get his home town club back into the Premiership.
The other signing who could make an impact is Mustapha Carayol, who really impressed while playing for Bristol Rovers, although he is moving up two divisions, I believe he can make an impact in the division with his pace.
The controversial plans to change the traditional colour of the club from blue to red, has of course been frowned upon by fans, but with the money the owners have promised to invest in the club should be in a position where they can sign players of high quality. Jordon Mutch, Kim Bo-Kyung and Etien Velikonja are all young players with lots of potential, and they should help complement the more experience players in the squad.
Barnsley in Keith Hill has a manager who never sugar coats a result, and he admitted at the end of the season his side were poor, infact it was such a poor run of form at the end of the season, it meant that if Portsmouth had not been deducted ten points, it would have been Barnsley who had gone down instead.
Their major signing of Mido could work out, but Mido has gained a reputation of not always giving it 100%, and complaining about going to smaller grounds.
Dougie Freedman is a club legend and he had a great full first season in charge, but the problem is after such a good season, players have left the club and the reality is with Sean Scannell gone to Huddersfield Town, Nathaniel Clyne off to Southampton, and Darren Ambrose now at Birmingham City, the core of the squad from last season has gone.
The main positives for Crystal Palace are their defence with captain Paddy McCarthy signing a new three year deal. But it will be a real struggle for Palace and a lack of goals may be their downfall.
For Darren Ferguson it is yet another season where his best attacking players look to be on the way out, in George Boyd and Paul Taylor. Though the signing of Danny Swanson from Dundee United is a good deal, Peterborough seem to be lacking depth and it seems inevitable that more Man Utd youth players will once again be brought in on loan deals, and will have to quickly adjust to the fast pace of the Championship.
Predictions for the Npower League one season 2012/2013
Champions- Sheffield United
2nd place- Doncaster Rovers
Play-off places- Swindon Town, Coventry City, Preston and MK Dons
Relegated- Yeovil Town, Tranmere, Stevenage and Walsall
Predictions for the Npower League two season 2012/2013
Champions- Fleetwood Town
2nd place and 3rd place- Rotherham United and Gillingham Town
Play-off places- Bradford City, Chesterfield and Port Vale and Bristol Rovers
Relegated- Barnet and Accrington