With the football season edging ever closer, football fans across the country are counting down the days until their team can finally put all the pre-season preparation into practice.
Every fan will be praying for the all important three points in that first game to kick start the season. In this post I will be looking at who I think are the teams to look out for next season, and who have a chance at gaining promotion into the Premier League.
As much as I hate to say it being a Forest fan, but already at this very early stage, before the season has even kicked off, I look at Derby as a team that can really challenge for a top two spot for the upcoming season.
When Derby decided to appoint Paul Clement as the manager, at first I didn’t know much about him, but after doing some research, it seemed to be that Derby had found a very good replacement for McClaren.
Most importantly are the signings that Clement has made. He has obviously taken into account the great work that Darren Bent and Tom Ince did last season for Derby, and made them priority signings. On top of these two impressive signings, players like Andreas Weimann, Chris Baird and Scott Carson have a lot of Premier League experience and could help fire Derby into the top flight.
QPR, Hull and Burnley, the three relegated teams, will be favourites to bounce straight back up to the Premier League, purely because they all have Premier League quality and experienced players. Hull have managed to keep players such as Michael Dawson, Tom Huddlestone and Mo Diame, these are all players who are easily good enough for the Premier League.
QPR as it stands have got players such as Matt Philips, Steven Caulker, Leroy Fer and Sandro. With players like this there is no reason why on paper, Rangers shouldn’t gain automatic promotion back to the top flight.
Burnley have a slightly weaker squad on paper than Hull and QPR, but they showed us last season that they could fight in the Premier League and did in fact finish higher than QPR. They still have top class players such as Ben Mee, Tom Heaton, Michael Keane and Sam Vokes to name a few. Burnley should be fighting for a top six position next season.
Other teams who I believe will be in and around the top six next season are Middlesbrough, Wolves, Ipswich, Blackburn, Sheffield Wednesday and Brentford.
Middlesbrough were within touching distance of the promised land last season when they were beaten in the play-off final (Sorry for the reminder Boro fans). However, with Boro keeping Karanka as their manager and bolstering the already strong squad, adding players such as Downing and Kalas it makes them hard to overlook as one of the favourites to gain promotion.
Wolves were unlucky last season to miss out on the play-offs and I was very jealous of their strike force. Although they have lost Bakary Sako, they still have two of the best strikers in the league with Afobe and Dicko. If these two goal machines get the right service this season there is no reason why they can’t tear up any defence in the Championship.
Ipswich made the play-offs last year and seem to be able to grind out wins under Mick McCarthy. Keeping last season’s top goal scorer Daryl Murphy is a big boost for them and if they could finish in a similar position to last season I’m sure they would be very happy.
Blackburn and Sheffield Wednesday are my wild cards. Blackburn didn’t have a bad season last year and have one of the best strike partnerships in the league in Rhodes and Gestede.
If they can keep their squad fit they could be very competitive next season. Wednesday have had a big financial take over and are showing good intent in their signings, a beautiful new pitch but now all they need to do is perform on it.
As we all know the Championship is impossible to predict and come the end of the season theses predictions could be completely wrong, but that is what we love about this league we never know what is going to happen.
Bring on the new season!