The 2016/17 season starts on Friday night and we’ve taken a look at the relegation odds and picked three teams to bet on to drop down to League One come next May.
We’ve already taken a look at the race for Championship promotion, but who will be struggling at the wrong end of the Championship? It looks a particularly strong league this season but three teams will finish below the dreaded dotted line.
Our tipster thinks Burton can survive in the Championship.
Burton start as favourites for relegation, but I think they’ve been priced up on the size of the club as opposed to ability. They have terrific momentum after two quick-fire promotions and Nigel Clough has experience at this level. The board have sanctioned some decent transfers and the additions of Lloyd Dyer and Chris O’Grady should give them more attacking prowess. Kyle McFadzean signed at the beginning of July and will bolster an already fairly watertight defence. Jackson Irvine is another signing who comes with terrific potential. I don’t think they deserve to be relegation favourites and I think they will make an excellent fist of staying in the division.
The Brewers seem to be able to attract players to the club and that’s a positive. A number of clubs have floundered with recruitment thus far and missed out on targets, but Burton have added to their squad effectively and I see no reason why they won’t stay up this season.
On the other hand, Rotherham are up against it in my opinion. Their squad was struggling before Neil Warnock swopped in to rescue them. The former Sheffield United manager departed soon after the season finished and Alan Stubbs was the man to replace him.
Stubbs is an unknown quantity in English management. He left Hibs for South Yorkshire, swapping Edinburgh for Rotherham but the Millers recruitment hasn’t been sparkling so far.
Anthony Forde has arrived from Walsall, he was decent enough at League One level, but is a little inconsistent and can frustrate fans at time. Will Vaulks is an unknown, but Stubbs spotted him at Falkirk and has brought him to England. They’ve missed out on a number of targets and are still looking to recruit. I worry that their squad is a little thin.
Without the savvy Warnock, Rotherham may struggle this time around and I think Stubbs will have his hands full this campaign. Rotherham to be relegated is my first Championship relegation prediction at 2/1 with Betfred.
Barnsley will be looking to carry on where they left off last season.
Barnsley have terrific momentum coming into this season and the relatively unknown Paul Heckingbottom has created a sensational buzz around the club. They proved they have little fear and there are some exciting signings with Tom Bradshaw the standout addition. George Moncur is another player who finally got his move to the Championship and should have a decent season. Adam Hammill has played in fits and starts throughout his career, but seems to have put down some roots in South Yorkshire and should give full backs a few nightmares this season. Stefan Payne, Andy Yiadom and Elliot Lee should be good additions and I can’t see them returning to League One immediately.
I worried for Blackburn from the moment Owen Coyle was announced as manager. The Scot seems fun to have around, but how tactically astute he is remains to be seen. He struggled in the MLS where the Houston Dynamo fans were glad to see the back of him. The men from Texas were swashbuckling going forward but leaky at the back.
Danny Graham is an excellent signing and should get the required goals but I worry about them at the back with the departure of Grant Hanley. The Scottish defender is brilliant and there was always a stability about Rovers whenever he was fit enough to start.
I’m not convinced by Anthony Stokes, if Graham was to pick up an injury, they could be light in attack. Jack Byrne looks an exciting addition to the midfield, but is still learning his craft. At 5/1 I think they are worth taking a punt on to be relegated and at odds of 5/1 with Sportingbet Blackburn are well worth a bet.
Reading could be a good outside bet to get relegated this season.
At a much larger price, it might be worth taking a punt on Reading’s season to fall flat. The Royals had a tremendously meek campaign under Brian McDermott and he paid the price. Jaap Stam was flown in, but whether he’ll adapt to the fast pace of the Championship remains to be seen.
John Swift has played at this level before and looked alright. He has decent potential though. The other additions this summer though as less well known. Roy Beerens joins from Hertha Berlin and should be the best of the bunch. A few more faces might be needed though. Yann Kermogant will need to be a bit more prolific, whilst Denis Rakels might be able to add a few too. But, at a big price, they look the most vulnerable. Reading to be relegated from the Championship is my final prediction for the 2016/17 season at 10/1 with Sky Bet.
Wigan should also survive whilst it’s all change at Huddersfield, but David Wagner proved last season that his side are capable of scintillating attacking football at times. Preston North End will be too well organised under Simon Grayson whilst Gary Rowett will not take Birmingham down.
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