With the Championship set to start on Friday we look at who the current favourites are, teams targeting playoffs, key signings and much more.
Who are the favourites for the title?
As usual, the list of favourites to win the Championship consist of the teams relegated from the Premier League last year. The yo-yo club with the likes of Fulham, Watford and Norwich have been switching between leagues for the past several years so it is no surprise some of these names are mentioned again this year. With hefty parachute payments allowing clubs to invest heavily when relegated, this is no wonder these clubs are able to do this.
This season’s favourites are Norwich City with odds as short as 9/2 (6/1 best price). After relegation last year they will be looking to win promotion once again and with not too many drastic changes to the squad Dean Smith in charge, they are the bookies' favourites to do just that.
READ OUR NORWICH SEASON PREVIEW HERE.
The second favourites are Watford (7/1 best). Another team relegated last season, they have added some quality additions to their squad and have a new young manager in Rob Edwards in charge. With many relegated teams been promoted a season later over the past several years, it is no surprise all three relegated clubs are amongst the favourites.
READ OUR WATFORD SEASON PREVIEW HERE.
Which teams are targeting a playoff place?
After a couple of poor seasons, West Brom look like they will be competitive this year and are among the favourites to reach the playoffs with odds as short as 2/1. With an experienced head in Steve Bruce at the helm and a couple of good additions they look set to push on and challenge the top six.
Although Bruce doesn’t exactly play the best football that many fans hope of, he has a track record of success in the Championship and will be hoping he can pull of yet another promotion season. With both Jed Wallace and John Swift being added to the roster and with Daryl Dike expected to be fully fit for the start of the season, it is easy to see why they are one of the bookies' favourites.
READ OUR WEST BROM SEASON PREVIEW HERE.
Like West Brom, Middlesbrough have a manager in Chris Wilder with a track record of Championship success. They finished 7th last season, only narrowly missing out on a play-off spot and will be hoping to go step further this season.
They have added some good players to their squad with Zac Steffen signing on loan from Manchester City, Darragh Lenihan from Blackburn and Ryan Giles on loan from Wolves. With these additions alongside the experience of Wilder, you can see why the bookies have them as short as 15/8 to make the playoffs.
READ OUR MIDDLESBROUGH SEASON PREVIEW HERE.
A slightly outside choice to make the playoffs at 5/1, QPR taken a risk appointing Michael Beale as head coach. He has been a highly rated coach within the English set up for the past few years and has joined from Aston Villa where he was Steve Gerrard’s assistant.
This appointment can go one of two ways. He either flourishes and implements to style of football he is known for or crumbles under the pressure of his first managerial role.
They have added quality in Tyler Roberts on loan from Leeds and have been rumoured to be in line to take a few of his former club’s hot prospects on loan later in the window. For this reason, we think they will be progressing on their 11th place finish last year.
Who are the key summer signings?
John Swift and Jed Wallace
West Brom have had an excellent transfer window, adding both John Swift and Jed Wallace to their squad on free transfers. The two sign after their deals at their former clubs expired at the end of June. They have been highly thought of in the Championship over the past several years and have been tipped with moves to Premier League clubs numerous times.
The addition of the pair really bolsters West Brom’s squad and adds some real attacking talent to an already talented Daryl Dike. The signing of these two players has been a real coup for the West Midland’s outfit and they will be looking to capitalise on this and fight for the top six, if not automatic promotion.
A great addition to an already stacked squad, Hayden brings with him Premier League experience and will help fill the gap in the heart of their midfield that troubled them so much last year. Hayden joins to get more first team experience after his selections were limited after the arrival of Bruno Guimarães on Tyne side.
This move is good for all parties as it gives Hayden the playing time he needs and will likely see him play In the Premier League again soon and adds a quality player to Norwich’s ranks, one with Premier League experience for when they inevitably win promotion yet again.
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Which teams have been hardest hit by outgoings?
With Nottingham Forest’s promotion come financial advantage and pulling power, both of which they utilised to gut Huddersfield and sign Harry Toffolo and Lewis O’Brien. The pair join the Premier League outfit after an excellent season which saw them lose to Forest in the play-off final. As well as losing these to Forest, they have also lost Pipa to Olympiacos.
With three influential players leaving, Huddersfield could be in a dyer situation that could see them drop back down the table. The biggest kick into the gut isn’t the fact that they lost two of their best players for cheap, but it was the team that beat them in the playoff final that stole them. A real double whammy.
How will the table shape up according to the odds?
Down the other end of the table Rotherham (6/4) are favourites to be relegated a season after winning promotion again. Along with Reading (2/1) and Birmingham City (2/1) who have both be the subject of takeover talks in recent months.