With the Championship only a few days away I’ll take a look at the likely promotion contenders and relegation candidates. Wigan Athletic, Reading and Queens Park Rangers were all relegated to the Championship last season and they all boasts squads with which they will look to return to the Premier League on their first attempt.
Queens Park Rangers still boasts a strong squad which should see them bounce straight back to the Premier League. They are the strongest team on paper by a large margin and manager Harry Redknapp hails the best CV by any manager in the league. His squad features the likes of Loic Remy, Esteban Granero and Adel Taarabt and they have recently announced the signings of Richard Dunne, Karl Henry and Danny Simpson further adding to the depth of their squad.
The Reading squad has barely changed since the Premier League and they have added the likes of Dutch winger Royston Drenthe and England veteran Wayne Bridge to their ranks. Tony Adkins’ Reading are the likely candidates to win the Championship this season.
Bolton Wanderers are playing in their second Championship season after they were relegated from the Premier League season in the 2011-12 season. They are play-off candidates and they finished seventh place last season, Dougie Freedman’s Bolton have added the likes of Jermaine Beckford to their ranks which will further bolster their attack.
FA Cup champions Wigan Athletic will also look to bounce back on their first attempt. Owen Coyle’s club have signed Grant Holt, Stephen Crainey, Chris McCann, James Perch and Marc-Antoine Fortune while they have sold target man Arouna Kone, Antolin Alcaraz and Maynor Figueroa this summer. It will take a big effort for the Latics to return to the Premier League this season.
Other teams I feel will push for a play-off spot will be Watford, Leicester City, Leeds United, Brighton & Hove Albion and Nottingham Forest.
Newly promoted Yeovil Town will face a tough Championship season as all the odds are against the Somerset side as this is the first time in their history they are playing in the second tier. Gary Johnson’s side will look to get a good start to the season as they will be playing Millwall at The Den on opening day.
Barnsley holds the record for the most number of seasons in the Championship as they escaped relegation last season coming 21st. Doncaster Rovers won the League One in great fashion last season and they will have to fight to stay up this season. Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield Town and Millwall may also have to fight for a place to stay in the Championship.
This upcoming Championship season looks to be one of the most exciting in the past decade as teams like Yeovil Town and Doncaster Rovers have nothing to lose while teams like Queens Park Rangers and Reading have everything to gain. There is a key opening round derbies with Burnley hosting Bolton Wanderers and other key games feature Derby County vs Blackurn Rovers, Queens Park Rangers playing Sheffield Wednesday and Reading against Ipswich Town.
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