*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
Second time lucky? The Cherries will certainly be hoping to make up for last season’s play-off semi-final heartache and they’ve recruited Wembley experience in the form of ex-Fulham boss Scott Parker. Whether Bournemouth have enough to compete with the three relegated teams and the inevitable surprise package remains to be seen but they should be there or thereabouts.
The Tykes’ run to the play-offs was one of the stories of last season but gaffer Valerien Ismael’s departure to West Brom, with captain Alex Mowatt following, means new boss Markus Schopp has a challenging assignment on his hands.
Lee Bowyer led Blues out of trouble after replacing Aitor Karanka towards the end of last season and will be expecting to build on his promising start to life in the St Andrew’s dugout. Birmingham don’t have the flashiest squad in the league but there’s plenty of options in midfield and upfront to ensure a more successful campaign.
Tony Mowbray’s entering his fourth full campaign in charge but Blackburn are a hard team to pin down due to loanees like Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott being a key figure last term. A whole host of experienced pros have been released with little in the way of incomings while the future of Adam Armstrong is key to Rovers’ season. On the plus side, they’ve still got Copa America icon Ben Brereton Diaz after he took Chile by storm over the summer.
It’s a big step up from League One to Championship but the Tangerines have momentum under Neil Critchley and will fancy their chances of survival thanks to the relative (lack of) strength in the bottom end of the division this year. A strong defence was key to Blackpool‘s promotion so they’ve got a base to work off but they may find goals hard to come by so Jerry Yates will need to be clinical.
Nigel Pearson has revamped the Robins’ squad with a raft of players being released. Bristol City shipped 68 goals last season so summer signing Rob Atkinson will need to quickly adapt to Championship level while former Leicester midfield duo Matty James and Andy King should provide a bit of know-how in the middle of the park. Can Nigel Pearson work his magic in his first full season? Only time will tell but they give off the vibe of a club in transition.
Mick McCarthy earned a permanent deal in the dugout last season after an impressive interim stint and will have ambitions of guiding Cardiff into the play-offs. Kieffer Moore hit 20 goals last term and heads into the season high on life after an impressive Euros campaign with Wales. The signing of James Collins eases the scoring burden on the big man, while a squad packed with Championship experience will fancy their chances over the course of a 46-game campaign.
The Sky Blues are back at the Ricoh Arena – or the Coventry Building Society Arena to be precise – and they’ll be hoping to build on last season’s impressive survival campaign. A club on the up, Coventry fans should expect a comfortable season well clear of the battle at the bottom.
It’s difficult to imagine a club having a worse build up to a campaign – and you really have to fear for the Rams. They managed to avoid relegation last season by the skin of their teeth but a paper-thin squad, a transfer embargo (that has been partially lifted) and ongoing questions over Wayne Rooney’s management means it could be a long old season at Pride Park.
An eye-catching managerial appointment and a stacked squad has given Fulham fans a sense of optimism heading into the season. A fit-and-firing Aleksandar Mitrovic is basically a Championship cheat code but Marco Silva might need a bit of time to fully implement his attacking style of play as the Whites were limp in front of goal last term.
Fair play to the Terriers for quickly going about their transfer business after last season’s struggles but survival is the aim of the game once again. Huddersfield conceded an absolute lorryload of goals in 2020/21 and their raft of defensive additions will need to sort things out at the back if they’re to make any headway up the table.
The Tigers were the best in League One and bounced back at the first time of asking last season. Sure, Hull are another team working under a transfer embargo but they boast a youthful, exuberant squad that should have enough to avoid a repeat of their previous relegation . If they get off to a decent start then it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them knocking on the door of a Top-Half Finish while being the Top Promoted Team should be achievable.
A lack of goals was the Hatters’ Achilles heel last season and Nathan Jones has attempted to add more creativity to his squad over the summer. James Collins’ departure means there’s 10 goals to replace but Elijah Adebayo could be the man to step up to the plate for Luton.
Neil Warnock just loves a promotion and could you bet against him extending his English record to nine? Middlesbrough were a bit of a mixed bag last season but turning a few defeats into wins would shoot them into the play-offs. Summer signing Uche Ikpeazu will be expected to provide the firepower needed.
The return of fans is likely to play to the Lions’ advantage with home form always key. There’s an element of consistency to Millwall as the bulk of last season’s squad has been retained while the loan additions of Daniel Ballard from Arsenal and Stoke forward Benik Afobe adds an extra dimension.
A tricky season for the Tricky Trees last term as Chris Hughton eventually steadied the ship after replacing Sabri Lamouchi early doors. There’s been minimal activity on the transfer front but Nottingham Forest have – on paper, at least – a decent squad while the return of Brennan Johnson from a successful loan spell at Lincoln City should provide some x factor.
At the very least, Posh will provide plenty of goals and attacking football so they’ll be a welcome addition to the league under Darren Ferguson. The additions of Josh Knight, Jorge Grant, Kwame Poku and Jack Marriott bolster a squad that might be able to pick up enough wins along the way.
A seventh-successive season in the Championship lies ahead for the Lilywhites, who handed the managerial reins to Frankie McAvoy after a decent interim spell towards the end of last season. Preston have a competent squad at this level but probably lack the firepower or creativity to really challenge for a play-off spot.
Manager: Frankie McAvoy
Key Player: Daniel Johnson
Last Season: 13th
Promotion Odds: 9/1
Relegation Odds: 9/2
QPR finished last season like a train and will be hoping that momentum can tick over into the new campaign. Arguably, the dark horses after keeping loanees such as Stefan Johansen and Charlie Austin, Mark Warburton has plenty of options at his disposal. After a few years of bobbing about near the lower reaches of the Championship, you can’t blame QPR fans for having high hopes this time around.
A tricky summer for the Royals, who are under a transfer embargo for breaching Profit and Sustainability rules and have seen key duo Michael Olise and Omar Richards depart. Reading have quality dotted about their squad but were a real mixed bag on their way to a seventh-place finish last term. They could provide peak Championship drama with their unpredictability.
Blades fans could be forgiven for wanting to erase last season from their memories – it really was a terrible campaign – but, in Slavisa Jokanovic, they’ve got the perfect man to take them back to the top tier. It might take a while for the team to adapt to his tactics and they may need time to shake off their Premier League hangover but Sheffield United will be one to watch.
After a couple of sub-par seasons back in the Championship, the Potters are gradually evolving their squad and look to have enough quality in their ranks to push on a bit. Whether there’s enough to mount a promotion push is up for debate but the long-awaited return from injury of Tyrese Campbell could prove key if he manages to hit the ground running.
After back-to-back play-off campaigns, Swansea are likely to find this season a tougher affair amid plenty of upheaval. Russell Martin was appointed as Steve Cooper’s replacement six days before their opener against Blackburn, star man Andre Ayew has gone while loanees Freddie Woodman, Marc Guehi and Conor Hourihane have all departed.
The market suggests the Baggies will be battling it out with Fulham for top spot and the dugout change from Sam Allardyce to Valerien Ismael means they’ll be a bit more of an exciting watch. West Brom are the yo-yo team to end all yo-yo teams so don’t be shocked if they bounce back at the first attempt.
- Football Tips: EFL Championship best bets – winner, promotion, relegation and top scorer verdicts
- Rooney accidentally burns down Derby training complex after leaving toast on too long
- Scotland’s 0-0 Euros win heroes get guard of honour on Premiership return
- Pepe starts fight in phone box after Roma friendly
- Breaking: Joe Hart Fails Celtic Medical Over Flaky Scalp