The Championship looks as competitive as ever with a number of top quality teams fighting it out for a place in the Premier League. Down the other end, many teams will be aiming to avoid the drop as they scrap away potentially dodging the fall into the third tier. We take you through the prospects of those sides battling at the bottom.
It’s no surprise to see Burton (13/8 Betfred) and Barnsley (2/1 Sky Bet) priced up as the two favourites for relegation back to League One and we’ve take a quick look at their credentials.
Nigel Clough worked wonders at the Pirelli last season keeping the Brewers in the Championship with little to worry about on the final day of the campaign. The players clearly enjoy working under the former Sheffield United boss and they’ve recruited smartly once again in the off-season. Jake Buxton and Stephen Warnock have both arrived to bolster the defence and although they provide Championship experience, neither are getting any younger. Liam Boyce is a bit of an unknown quantity at this level (although so was Jackson Irvine…) whilst Matty Lund has plenty of potential and an eye for goal.
Another fierce battle awaits the Brewers this season and team spirit might just help them escape once again…
Barnsley’s squad has once again been cherry-picked this summer and there are only two or three players left at the club from their Play-Off success at Wembley a short while ago. Marc Roberts has been replaced by Ethan Pinnock, who must make the step up whilst recent recruits Alex Mowatt and George Moncur should both benefit from a run in the side. Jason McCarthy, Cameron McGeehan and Lloyd Isgrove look like decent enough additions and I think Paul Heckingbottom can steer the Tykes away from the dreaded drop zone….
2017/18 Championship Relegation Contenders
I generally don’t like tipping sides to go straight back down but I fear for Millwall based on their recruitment so far. James Meredith will undoubtedly make the step-up but Jed Wallace has previously disappointed at this level and Tom Elliott might not bag many Championship goals. Neil Harris’ side weren’t expected to beat Bradford in the League One Play-off Final last season and did struggle on the road at times. They will need the Den to be completely unforgiving once again if they are to survive in the second tier and not get relegated from the Championship this season.
Millwall to be Relegated – 13/5 with SportingBet.
Bolton could be another one to fall this season. The Trotters did well to get promoted at the first time of asking but Phil Parkinson has his work cut out to keep them in the Championship and avoid relegation. Mark Davies is constantly injured and not the same player of yesteryear whilst the likes of Mark Little and Andrew Taylor hardly impressed at their respective clubs last season. Another striker is definitely required by the North West outfit who can’t rely on Gary Madine and Adam Le Fondre whilst recent recruit Will Buckley is likely to spend more time on the sidelines than on the pitch. Financial problems may stop the Trotters bidding for top quality players this summer.
Bolton to be Relegated – 13/5 with Betfair.
At a much bigger price, Bristol City could be in danger next season. Tammy Abraham’s goal will be much missed and many fans are still baffled by Lee Johnson’s constant tinkering of his formations. There are some very talented and capable Championship players in their squad but it remains to be seen whether the boss can deploy them successfully. Eros Pisano is an unknown quantity and there will be plenty of pressure on Famara Diedhiou to start firing from the off. With the likes of Wolves spending big, ‘Arry staying at Birmingham and a decent looking Sheffield United outfit arriving in the league, Bristol City may struggle to stay afloat next season and they are a nice price to drop.
Bristol City to be Relegated – 6/1 with Betfair.