Back Fulham for fast start
Nick Hext previews the opening weekend of the Sky Bet Football League season with Fulham backed for a fast start in the Championship.
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Fulham to beat Ipswich, Championship
Fulham travel to Ipswich for their first game of the Sky Bet Championship season and the Sky Sports cameras will be there on Saturday night. It has been a busy summer for Felix Magath as he revitalises his squad and I reckon he's done a decent job. Ross McCormack has caught the eye as the stellar purchase from Leeds but don't be surprised to see a number of Fulham's young stars get their chance to shine. Ipswich are proven Championship performers but I reckon the Cottagers have the quality to come away with the three points.
Northampton to beat Mansfield, League 2
Northampton stayed up on the final day of last season but I expect better from the Cobblers this season. Chris Wilder has taken charge of his first pre-season at Sixfields and I fully expect his men to be quick out of the blocks. That was certainly the case for Oxford during Wilder's time in charge as they started like a train before running out of steam later in the season. Mansfield should occupy a mid-table slot and won't return north with anything to show for their efforts on Saturday.
Also worth considering:
Norwich to beat Wolves, Championship
Molineux is the venue for the Sky Sports cameras on Sunday and I will again be backing one of the clubs relegated from the Premier League. Norwich open up against last season's League 1 champions Wolves and I think they are too big at 9/4 with Sky Bet to claim victory. There won't be much between the sides in this clash but there were signs of improvement from the Canaries last season under Neil Adams and a decent squad remains at Carrow Road.
Coventry to beat Bradford, League 1
Coventry will be delighted to start this season without having to play catch-up from the off. The Sky Blues started last term in good form to close the gap and I expect them to go well again at the start this time around. The loss of top scorer Callum Wilson to Bournemouth is a blow but several decent signings have been made by boss Steven Pressley. Danny Swanson and Marcus Tudgay look the pick of the arrivals. I reckon Bradford will end up in the top half but it might take time for their new batch of youngsters to adjust. Coventry get the vote on the road in Yorkshire.
Sam Baldock to score at anytime in Sheffield United v Bristol City, League 1
The Sky Bet League 1 season starts at lunchtime on Saturday as Sheffield United host Bristol City. Both sides have been priced up among the promotion contenders and I wouldn't disagree they are both likely to be at the front. The Blades are title favourites but I think getting with Bristol City is the way to go on Saturday. Sam Baldock finished last season as top scorer in the third tier of English football and he's clearly a cut above this level. He can show that class once again.
Accrington to beat Southend, League 2
I've tipped Accrington to go well in my League 2 season preview so you shouldn't be too surprised to see me back them to start the season with victory over Southend. Stanley bounced back last term after a horrific start and I think James Beattie has got a decent squad at his disposal. Southend have made a lot of signings close to the start of the season and it may take them a bit of time to gel.