Sky Bet Championship guide

  • By: Nick Hext
  • Last Updated: August 1 2013, 9:36 BST

The new Sky Bet Championship season starts on Saturday so now is the perfect time to check out our team-by-team guide to the division.

  • Jason Roberts and Reading will be looking to claim the Championship trophy again.
  • Harry Redknapp is back in the Championship with QPR. 
  • Grant Holt's arrival at Wigan is good news for the Latics. 
  • Yeovil arrive in the division after winning last season's League 1 play-off final. 

We have a fan from every one of the 24 clubs offering their views and predictions, while our Nick Hext also provides the Sportinglife.com verdict on each of the teams.

Reading are picked as the most likely side to win promotion by our group of supporters but there is also plenty of backing for Bolton, Nottingham Forest, QPR and Watford in the battle to reach the Premier League.

Yeovil - Sky Bet's 10/11 favourites for relegation - are expected by most of our panel to drop straight back down to League 1. There is also trouble ahead for Barnsley, Doncaster, Huddersfield and Millwall at the wrong end of the standings according to their rivals.

Wigan's swoop for Grant Holt - 16/1 to be the Championship's top scorer with Sky Bet - has made fans take notice and there are plenty of other players picked out to watch over the coming months.

There is sure to be plenty of drama in the Sky Bet Championship so get ready for the new season and see what the verdict is on your team...


Click here for Sky Bet's Championship markets


AFC Bournemouth

Manager: Eddie Howe

Last season: Second in League 1 (promoted)

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 25/1, promotion 6/1, top-six finish 11/4, top-half finish 4/7, bottom-half finish 11/8, relegation 12/1.

View from the stands - Peter Bell of Cherry Chimes

What are the expectations for your club this season? While the bookies see us as a bit of a dark horse it will be a huge challenge to compete against some great footballing teams in the Championship. If we keep our first team on the pitch for as many games as we can I think we will be able to finish 15th or better. It is really crucial that we get our strikers scoring and build some confidence early on. We have brought in some experience at the back with the free transfers of Elliott Ward and Ian Harte, and the team that won promotion last season has stayed together and is used to winning. I am pleased that we still have Matt Ritchie who will add some flare going forward while Brett Pitman will be our top scorer again. Look out also for Mohamed Coulibaly who may be our surprise package. Of course our real ace in the pack is Eddie Howe. Under his guidance the teams and the fans believe that anything is possible so watch out for AFC Bournemouth - we may do better than many expect.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? There are probably a couple that stand out, but the main star is probably Harry Arter in the centre of midfield. He makes everything tick and gets up and down all game while hounding the opposition and creating goals. He is already being eyed by bigger clubs if the rumours are true and, if he can prove that he can score a good number of goals in the Championship, we may just struggle to keep hold of him next summer.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? Diego Fabbrini at Watford is going to take some stopping. I only hope the young Italian striker does not start well as AFC Bournemouth play Watford in their second league match. The tie-up with Udinese has still enabled Watford to bring in some great players and Diego will score 20 goals or more next season.

Who will win promotion? Tricky as there are so many good teams that have already played in the Premier League. Something tells me that Bolton will take top spot. My runners-up are Reading and the third spot is very difficult to predict but I'll go for Watford.

Who will be relegated? Doncaster Rovers, Millwall and Huddersfield. I'll be the only one who doesn't pick Yeovil Town but the Somerset club will cause more teams problems than many will expect and I think they will stay up along with Bournemouth.

Our verdict: 17th The Cherries are full of confidence after powering to promotion from League 1 last season following a slow start. Eddie Howe has Championship experience and will keep his side safe.


Click here for Sky Bet's AFC Bournemouth specials


Barnsley

Manager: David Flitcroft

Last season: 21st

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 150/1, promotion 33/1, top-six finish 12/1, top-half finish 11/2, bottom-half finish 1/10, relegation 5/2.

View from the stands - Wilky from On The Ponty End

What are the expectations for your club this season? We have consigned 2012 as being our very own annus horribilis. But as far as 2013 is concerned we have a huge amount to be optimistic about. The structure of the club has been overhauled completely with a brand-new chairman installed in the shape of former Manchester United director Maurice Watkins, a new chief executive and a settled squad with a number of eye catching signings. The momentum that was built in five short months should continue and could propel Barnsley to the Championship's top 10 this time out. And when you've stopped laughing, start watching!

Which player from your club should we watch out for? A relatively unknown Paul Digby will become the next speculative addition to some very well respected Premier League clubs by the next transfer window. If we manage to keep hold of this home grown colossus, I'm convinced that he will be regarded as one of the brightest midfield talents outside of the Premier League by the end of the season. Perhaps the best youngster to come out of Barnsley since the late, great Tommy Taylor.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? Purely for the fun factor, Paddy Kenny. He always gets his fair share from the Ponty End at Oakwell. From a football perspective, it will be interesting to watch the soap opera that will be Queen's Park Rangers. But tactically, Jordan Rhodes (an ex Barnsley FC trainee) always makes scoring goals seem effortless. It's a shame he got away!

Who will win promotion? Bolton, Watford and Leeds United.

Who will be relegated? Yeovil, Middlesbrough and Blackpool.

Our verdict: 13th The Tykes are expected by most to be at the wrong end of the standings but the addition of Dale Jennings from Bayern Munich and great team spirit under David Flitcroft will be enough to avoid trouble.


Click here for Sky Bet's Barnsley specials


Birmingham City

Manager: Lee Clark

Last season: 12th

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 40/1, promotion 10/1, top-six finish 4/1, top-half finish 5/6, bottom-half finish evens, relegation 10/1.

View from the stands - Christopher Handy

What are the expectations for your club this season? Well my expectations in particular would be a lot of the same, the club at current aren't in a stable position and a lot of Lee Clark's tasks are damage control by the looks of things. Whilst players are coming in there is no doubt losing players like Redmond, Fahey, King, Ferguson, Morrison, Caldwell and Butland are all huge blows and the landscape of the squad is going to be entirely different. A top 10 finish would be very pleasing, a mid-table slug would be realistic, whilst a relegation battle would not be a shock; an expected disappointing season most probably.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? Looking at the Blues squad I would probably pick out Koby Arthur, he is a young lad in midfield who got a few games in last season. Clark has been dropping hints that he wants to look to the academy to steer the club through these difficult times and this young man's name has been bouncing around. I think out of all the young lads attacking wise he may well be the one with the nod to go get his dream next term. I also would not be surprised to see Mitch Hancox come through but that is heavily dependent on how fit David Murphy can stay throughout the season.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? I have always liked Chris Cohen and now I think it's probably time for him to really kick on with some important and good performances for Nottingham Forest. Consistency is what impresses me and from what I've seen he's got it.

Who will win promotion? The Championship is such a surprising and difficult league I often end up tormented by such questions. Starting with the teams going down, I don't think any of them are a sure-fire thing. Reading for example conceded over 70 goals in 38 games; there's a problem there. Simply because I can't write Harry Redknapp off I'm going for QPR and possibly Leicester for the automatic places and maybe a Bolton v Forest play-off final.

Who will be relegated? I wouldn't be surprised to see Huddersfield go. Barnsley are another I would tip to go down and I may regret saying this but I think Doncaster and Yeovil will fare better than Bournemouth should only one of them go down.

Our verdict: 20th There have been plenty of departures from St Andrew's and the likes of Jack Butland and Nathan Redmond will be sorely missed. A season of struggle is on the cards.


Click here for Sky Bet's Birmingham specials


Blackburn Rovers

Manager: Gary Bowyer

Last season: 17th

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 20/1, promotion 13/2, top-six finish 3/1, top-half finish 8/13, bottom-half finish 5/4, relegation 10/1.

View from the stands - Mike Delap

What are the expectations for your club this season? The club are trying to encourage 'another shot at promotion', which is all fine in principle but one look at the squad we currently have and an inexperienced manager would indicate to most that a push towards the top may be beyond us. So using the dreaded cap of realism/negativity the aim for this season would perhaps be just a period of 'normality'. A season of stabilisation and foundation building would not be the worst outcome in the world given the atrocious atmosphere and working conditions the club has been run under during the last three years. Setting the bar low, at least this way the crushing blow of disappointment may not be as brutal!

Which player from your club should we watch out for? I'll avoid the glaringly obvious call of Jordan Rhodes who is just 72 different shades of goal scoring excellence and plump for the slightly more left-field option of Alan Judge. Back at the club after leaving us for Notts County a few seasons back. He was deemed not good enough for the Premier League but after a fruitful spell in League 1 has been bought back 'home' for a crack at the Championship - he's tricky and could be good, given the lease of life to express himself.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? Dare I say our old boy Junior Hoilett. He left us to chase the Premier League dream/extra cash and has now found himself in the same league he tried to escape. If QPR still want him come kick off he's got devastating pace and a good shot on him. He could come good again as he was special at Rovers. Elsewhere, I expect Adam Le Fondre to find the Championship an open invitation to fill his boots.

Who will win promotion? Wigan, QPR and Watford.

Who will be relegated? Not us, not us and not us. All joking aside - Yeovil, Barnsley and Millwall.

Our verdict: Ninth So much has been written about the off-field problems at Ewood Park but any team with the goals of Jordan Rhodes should be at least on the periphery of the top-six.


Click here for Sky Bet's Blackburn specials


Blackpool

Manager: Paul Ince

Last season: 15th

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 80/1, promotion 14/1, top-six finish 6/1, top-half finish 3/1, bottom-half finish 1/4, relegation 7/2.

View from the stands - Glenn Bowley

What are the expectations for your club this season? To have a stable season, keep hold of our manager and hopefully have a decent pitch. Last year was challenging to say the least so a bit of stability wouldn't go a miss.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? Whilst he is still here then I would say Thomas Ince. If not then James Caton is a youngster in our squad who is highly thought of. If he is given a chance then he could shine.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? Royston Drenthe at Reading. I think it is a tremendous signing for them and I expect they will be strong next season and challenging for honours.

Who will win promotion? Reading, QPR and Nottingham Forest.

Who will be relegated? Burnley, Doncaster and Birmingham City.

Our verdict: 23rd (relegated) The days of Premier League football at Bloomfield Road are now just a distant memory. Problems are ahead with reports already having to be played down about manager Paul Ince's future.


Click here for Sky Bet's Blackpool specials


Bolton

Manager: Dougie Freedman

Last season: Seventh

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 9/1, promotion 3/1, top-six finish 5/4, top-half finish 1/7, bottom-half finish 4/1, relegation 33/1.

View from the stands - Chris Manning

What are the expectations for your club this season? Champions. I think that the way that the club ended the last season gives the fans real confidence going into this one. We have, in my opinion, an excellent manager in Dougie Freedman plus we have one of the stronger squads in the division having kept the majority of our best players - bar the return to Liverpool of Jay Spearing. Most of our squad have experience of this league or of the Premier League and hopefully with the benefit of a proper pre-season under their belt should be fit enough and strong enough to be one of the leading teams in the division.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? Mohamed 'Medo' Kamara - signed from Partizan Belgrade for a bargain £700,000 last January. He showed more in a dozen games than most did in an entire season. He has strength, determination and skill in abundance - it is clear to see why he was linked previously with a move to a bigger side in Spurs. Given a full season with us I think he will go on to be the best midfielder in the division and he could easily play in the Premier League and not be out of place. If it was up to me I'd make him captain - the guy is a born leader. To see him in his second game bossing round established team-mates and showing them where to go and what to do made him stand out a mile.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? Grant Holt - be interesting to see what such a bulky lad can do given that he has moved to a town synonymous with pies, and that he's training under a manager whose idea of fitness work is a four hour table tennis tournament.

Who will win promotion? Bolton Wanderers, Nottingham Forest and Watford.

Who will be relegated? Yeovil Town, Huddersfield Town and Wigan Athletic.

Our verdict: Second (automatic promotion) The Trotters look a good bet for automatic promotion after a very strong end to last season and further additions to the squad.


Click here for Sky Bet's Bolton specials


Brighton and Hove Albion

Manager: Oscar Garcia

Last season: Fourth

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 16/1, promotion 9/2, top-six finish 6/4, top-half finish 1/4, bottom-half finish 11/4, relegation 20/1.

View from the stands - Scott McCarthy

What are the expectations for your club this season? Given the summer of turmoil we've had with our new boss Oscar Garcia coming in after pre-season had begun, it's hard to say. I think most Brighton fans would be happy with another stab at the play offs but to do that we'll need to strengthen as the squad is undoubtedly weaker at the moment.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? Most of the division seems to have sat up and noticed Liam Bridcutt now as our outstanding player so we'll go for Leonardo Ulloa. We've been crying out for a target man centre-forward since Glenn Murray went to Palace and he looks like he is the real deal. Nine goals in 17 games after signing in January propelled us into the play-offs so if he can repeat that form under Oscar then we might have the striker we need to fire us into the Premier League.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? Grant Holt signing for Wigan is an absolutely stunning move on their part - if he can fire in the goals then they'll definitely be up there come the end of the season.

Who will win promotion? Reading, Wigan, Nottingham Forest.

Who will be relegated? Blackburn, Doncaster, Yeovil.

Our verdict: 11th A summer of change at Brighton has seen hugely-successful manager Gus Poyet depart and Oscar Garcia arrive. The new boss will be under pressure to keep the upward trajectory going but a drop to mid-table is in the offing.


Click here for Sky Bet's Brighton specials


Burnley

Manager: Sean Dyche

Last season: 11th

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 80/1, promotion 16/1, top-six finish 7/1, top-half finish 7/2, bottom-half finish 1/5, relegation 4/1.

View from the stands - James Bird of NoNayNever

What are the expectations for your club this season? I'd expect to see an improvement on last season but I'm not sure we will make the play offs. I'd like to see a placing between seventh and 10th.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? This massively hinges on whether Charlie Austin stays. If he does there's no doubt he's our star. Otherwise, probably Danny Ings.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? I think it'll be interesting to see how Jamie Mackie does back at this level.

Who will win promotion? QPR, Brighton and Watford.

Who will be relegated? Barnsley, Yeovil and Doncaster.

Our verdict: 19th The possible departure of top striker Charlie Austin would dent the Clarets. A slide down the table is likely.


Click here for Sky Bet's Burnley specials


Charlton Athletic

Manager: Chris Powell

Last season: Ninth

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 40/1, promotion 12/1, top-six finish 9/2, top-half finish 15/8, bottom-half finish 2/5, relegation 8/1.

View from the stands - Craig Sloman of the Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust

What are the expectations for your club this season? Last season's ninth-place finish impressed all but the most critical Addicks. To have been in with a shout of the play-offs with a couple of weeks to go was impressive considering the majority of the squad was that which was promoted from League 1. A repeat of that finish will satisfy most, particularly as at the time of writing the club has one senior striker (fans favourite Yann Kermorgant) and few reinforcements in other areas of the squad.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? Chris Solly has been our 'one to watch' for the last few seasons but also look out for winger Callum Harriott who broke into the first team at the end of last season and is at the forefront of a development squad which won the national level 2 academy championship and the Kent Senior Cup last year.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? Andy Reid always performs well and has to be the classiest player in the division. James Coppinger at Doncaster is a player I always enjoy watching also so it'll be good to see him back in the Championship.

Who will win promotion? Nottingham Forest, Reading and Leeds.

Who will be relegated? Yeovil, Huddersfield and Millwall.

Our verdict: 12th The Addicks finished ninth last term and it should be a similar campaign again.


Click here for Sky Bet's Charlton specials


Derby County

Manager: Nigel Clough

Last season: 10th

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 28/1, promotion 9/1, top-six finish 7/2, top-half finish 8/12, bottom-half finish 5/4, relegation 10/1.

View from the stands - Nathan Morley

What are the expectations for your club this season? After another season of steady progress, it's time for a more sustained push to the top six. Nigel Clough has bought well this summer and the squad has better depth so I certainly think it'll be a top 10 finish, maybe even sneaking in the play-offs.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? Johnny Russell, signed from Dundee United, could be the one to watch. His record in Scotland is impressive but it's a big step up. His form in pre-season and knack of being a nuisance to the opponents' defence make him a force to be reckoned with.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? Grant Holt will need to be a marked man. He is an incredible signing by Wigan and, in this division, is a man to be fearful of.

Who will win promotion? Reading, Wigan and Watford.

Who will be relegated? Blackpool, Millwall and Yeovil.

Our verdict: Fourth (play-offs) The Rams look like the team who can spring a surprise this season with Nigel Clough's philosophy fully in place and new faces signed to complement a developing squad.


Click here for Sky Bet's Derby specials


Doncaster Rovers

Manager: Paul Dickov

Last season: League 1 champions (promoted)

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 125/1, promotion 25/1, top-six finish 14/1,top-half finish 11/2, bottom-half finish 1/10, relegation 7/4.

View from the stands - Mark Lister

What are the expectations for your club this season? We saw the dogfight that took place at the back end of last season and that 55 points was probably the safety net, so we need to ensure we keep our heads above water from the beginning. As League 1 champions we have to put up a good show, but this is the most competitive division in football, so we have to respect where we are & that it will be a tough season.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? James Husband is already maturing into a cultured left sided defender and midfielder. At 19, he should have been included in Peter Taylor's England U-20 squad for Turkey, as he'd have provided much more passion than the Premier League players who lacked real experience & bite out there.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? Thomas Ince. If he remains at Blackpool, we will get the chance to see him on opening day at the Keepmoat. I look forward to seeing how his game develops despite the pressure that will be on his young shoulders, as he is the standout player in the Blackpool team and will be expected to carry them this season.

Who will win promotion? Reading, Leeds United (automatic) with Charlton winning the play-offs.

Who will be relegated? Huddersfield, Blackpool, Millwall.

Our verdict: 24th (relegated) A new boss in charge means it will be interesting to see just how last season's League 1 champions get on. There has been talk about a takeover at the Keepmoat but currently a repeat of their last campaign in the Championship is in the offing.


Click here for Sky Bet's Doncaster specials


Huddersfield Town

Manager: Mark Robins

Last season: 19th

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 100/1, promotion 20/1, top-six finish 9/1, top-half finish 9/2, bottom-half finish 1/8, relegation 9/2.

View from the stands - Steve King

What are the expectations for your club this season? We had a great start last season but then it was then a struggle to stay in the division. Most of us would be happy to again maintain our Championship status.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? James Vaughan has made his move here permanent over the summer and he'll be our key player.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? It hurts to say but our former striker Jordan Rhodes at Blackburn.

Who will win promotion? A tricky one this season. I'll say Brighton, QPR and Leicester.

Who will be relegated? Burnley, Yeovil and Barnsley.

Our verdict: 18th There should be slow progress for the Terriers with Mark Robins having enough quality in the squad to stay away from the bottom three.


Click here for Sky Bet's Huddersfield specials


Ipswich Town

Manager: Mick McCarthy

Last season: 14th

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 22/1, promotion 6/1, top-six finish 5/2, top-half finish 8/15, bottom-half finish 6/4, relegation 14/1.

View from the stands - Peter Marazzi

What are the expectations for your club this season? After too many years of mid table mediocrity and flirting with relegation things picked up when Mick McCarthy arrived. Many Town fans feel a promotion/play-off push is in sight next season although money is tight whereas other teams have more parachute money than they know what to do with. I would say top-half/flirting with the play offs.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? David McGoldrick. Signed full-time, he started to get going last season just as his loan ended. Hopefully he'll show the potential he had at Southampton.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? It will probably be Adel Taarabt again. He was way too good the last time QPR were in the Championship, and he's got a point to prove too after a rather underwhelming Premier League stint in the past two seasons.

Who will win promotion? Bolton, Reading and Nottingham Forest.

Who will be relegated? Yeovil, Barnsley and Millwall.

Our verdict: 14th Ipswich are a side who could get in amongst the play-off mix but another mid-table finish is the more likely outcome.


Click here for Sky Bet's Ipswich specials


Leeds United

Manager: Brian McDermott

Last season: 13th

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 22/1, promotion 7/1, top-six finish 11/4, top-half finish 4/7, bottom-half finish 11/8, relegation 18/1.

View from the stands - Andrew Dalton

What are the expectations for your club this season? Expectations would be to improve on last season. When Brian McDermott came in at the back of the last campaign he steadied the ship and we actually started playing football, rather than the long ball game we had under Neil Warnock. I'd hope to make the top 10 at least.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? Luke Murphy will come with massive expectations following his move from Crewe Alexandra, with this being the highest level he has ever played at. Will be one to keep an eye on ever the next 10 months.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? Grant Holt. He helped Norwich win promotion from the Championship in 2011, and will be looking to do it again in the blue of Wigan.

Who will win promotion? Reading, Bolton and Wigan via the play-offs.

Who will be relegated? Yeovil, Bournemouth and Millwall.

Our verdict: 10th Brian McDermott is starting to put his ideas across at Elland Road and will get it right if given time. Might be a season too soon for promotion.


Click here for Sky Bet's Leeds specials


Leicester City

Manager: Nigel Pearson

Last season: Sixth

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 14/1, promotion 7/2, top-six finish 11/8, top-half finish 1/6, bottom-half finish 7/2, relegation 33/1.

View from the stands - Jamie Hales

What are the expectations for your club this season? Expectation as always with Leicester is promotion but realistically I think we will be top 10.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? Anthony Knockaert. The France under-21 international plays on either wing or as an attacking midfielder and showed glimpses of brilliance last season. We are expecting even more from him this season!

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? Callum McManaman from Wigan will be the opposition player to watch. He's only young and again showed glimpses of brilliance in the Premier League last year and ripped Manchester City apart in the FA Cup final!

Who will win promotion? Wigan, QPR and Watford.

Who will be relegated? Bournemouth, Yeovil and Barnsley.

Our verdict: Eighth Nigel Pearson will be under pressure straight away if the Foxes don't start quickly. The quality is in the squad for a promotion challenge but that has also been said for the last few seasons.


Click here for Sky Bet's Leicester specials


Middlesbrough

Manager: Tony Mowbray

Last season: 16th

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 33/1, promotion 10/1, top-six finish 7/2, top-half finish 8/11, bottom-half finish 11/10, relegation 10/1.

View from the stands - Neil Whitehead

What are the expectations for your club this season? Mid-table unless new signings come in before the the window closes.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? Marvin Emnes had a miserable season last term mainly due to off-field issues which apparently have been sorted and he is also entering the last year of his contract so he a lot to prove to warrant another one. Ben Gibson is the youngster to watch if Mowbray gives him the opportunity.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? Charlie Austin. After the failed medical at Hull it will be interesting to see how he reacts. I would like Boro to take a chance on him.

Who will win promotion? I would like to put Boro in this trio but if we don't add quality I will say Forest, Bolton and Watford.

Who will be relegated? I hope we don't end up here but for now...Barnsley, Huddersfield and Yeovil.

Our verdict: 15th Boro have recently been strong starters before falling away after Christmas. They will look to stop that trend but a promotion push is too big an ask.


Click here for Sky Bet's Middlesbrough specials


Millwall

Manager: Steve Lomas

Last season: 20th

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 80/1, promotion 25/1, top-six finish 9/1, top-half finish 7/2, bottom-half finish 1/5, relegation 100/30.

View from the stands - George Lampey of the Lions Live radio show

What are the expectations for your club this season? At the end of last season we were down in dumps after only just escaping relegation and the manager leaving. A new manager is now in place and has recruited lots of quality players so I think the season's looking good.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? Steve Morison has been with us before and is tried and trusted as a Championship striker. Richard Chaplow and Nicky Bailey are also going to strengthen the midfield and make a big difference.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? Jermaine Beckford is always dangerous and most Championship teams now have good quality forwards.

Who will win promotion? Brighton, Blackburn and to be bold Millwall.

Who will be relegated? Charlton, Doncaster and Yeovil.

Our verdict: 16th Steve Lomas has taken over from Kenny Jackett as the man in charge at the New Den and strong summer signings are a good sign for the new era.


Click here for Sky Bet's Millwall specials


Nottingham Forest

Manager: Billy Davies

Last season: Eighth

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 11/1, promotion 7/2, top-six finish 11/8, top-half finish 1/5, bottom-half finish 100/30, relegation 28/1.

View from the stands - Adam Bexon

What are the expectations for your club this season? The new owners made it very clear when they arrived that they are here to take Forest back to the Premier League. Since Billy Davies returned to the club the board, players and staff all seem to be believe that promotion is a realistic achievement. Anything other than promotion will mean the season has been a failure in the eyes of the board and the majority of fans. Currently the squad is missing quality players in a couple of important areas. Personally I would be happy if we reached the play-offs.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? Simon Cox. He is experienced at the top level having played in the Premier League and international football for the Republic of Ireland. I think 15 league goals is a reasonable target for him this season but he also adds to the team in terms of creativity and assists.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? If he stays at QPR and applies himself I think Adel Taarabt will be the best player in the league, when he played in the Championship a couple of seasons ago he was outstanding and was the driving force behind their success. The only question mark is his temperament.

Who will win promotion? QPR, Watford and Reading via the play-offs.

Who will be relegated? Yeovil, Bournemouth and Barnsley.

Our verdict: Fifth (play-offs) Should be right in the play-off mix unless stability is lost again with further managerial upheaval.


Click here for Sky Bet's Forest specials


Queens Park Rangers

Manager: Harry Redknapp

Last season: 20th in the Premier League (relegated)

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 6/1, promotion 15/8, top-six finish 4/7, top-half finish 1/10, bottom-half finish 11/2, relegation 28/1.

View from the stands - Paul Finney of Independent R's

What are the expectations for your club this season? Mixed among the fans. Some want to come back up first time but others like me just want to see the club stabilize, rebuild and then focus on getting back to the Premier League and making more of a fist of it. But it will be nice if we can win some matches again as the last two seasons have been hard to get joy from as getting beat most games is not fun.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? The return of Alejandro Faurlín for the club is huge and once fit will I am sure he will carry on from where he left off in the Championship. One would also like to say Adel Taarabt but it looks like he won't be here next season.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? Well if he stays in this league it would have to be Jordan Rhodes.

Who will win promotion? QPR, Nottingham Forest and Reading.

Who will be relegated? Yeovil Town, AFC Bournemouth and Burnley.

Our verdict: Sixth (play-offs) Hard to be too sure how the season will pan out but there is the ability at Loftus Road to be in the play-offs at the very least.


Click here for Sky Bet's QPR specials


Reading

Manager: Nigel Adkins

Last season: 19th in the Premier League (relegated)

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 9/1, promotion 3/1, top-six finish 11/10, top-half finish 1/8, bottom-half finish 9/2, relegation 33/1.

View from the stands - Dan Wimbush of The Tilehurst End

What are the expectations for your club this season? I think the expectation has to be at least a play-off push if not more. At the time of writing we've retained the bulk of last season's squad and Nigel Adkins has added some real quality with Wayne Bridge, Danny Williams and most importantly Royston Drenthe. If we can keep other key players like England keeper Alex McCarthy, winger Jimmy Kebe plus forwards Pavel Pogrebnyak and Adam Le Fondre, we should be well equipped to mount a promotion push.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? It has to be Royston Drenthe, it's not often you get former Real Madrid wingers playing in the Championship! If we get the sort of player that prompted Madrid to splash the millions then we could have the division's player of the year. On the other hand if we get some of the off-pitch theatrics that has seen him move from club to club and be offloaded by Everton, it could be a destabilising influence on a club that prides itself on togetherness.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? At the time of writing it could be any one of QPR's multi-million pound buys if they hang around for the campaign. However with that far from certain I'll opt for Brighton's Liam Bridcutt who's always looked a very good midfielder and could help push them into the top two next season.

Who will win promotion? Reading, Wigan, Brighton.

Who will be relegated? Barnsley, Yeovil, Huddersfield.

Our verdict: Champions Plenty of good signings have been made by Nigel Adkins and the Royals won the Championship just two seasons ago.


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Sheffield Wednesday

Manager: Dave Jones

Last season: 18th

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 66/1, promotion 14/1, top-six finish 7/1, top-half finish 7/2, bottom-half finish 1/5, relegation 11/2.

View from the stands - Craig Nicholson

What are the expectations for your club this season? Better than last season but I'm not expecting miracles. Ever since Milan Mandaric rescued the club from the brink in 2010 it's been a steady building process and 2013/14 will be no different. It took us a long while to acclimatise to the Championship post-promotion but the statisticians will tell you that we were one of the form teams in the second half of last season. I still think our squad is a bit of a mish-mash but Dave Jones did the right thing getting the defence sorted first and foremost. I think we lack the firepower to finish in the top ten but we should be aiming for a top-half finish this term, with 14th as a minimum requirement.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? Atdhe Nuhiu. After a pretty quiet summer in the transfer market, the signing of the 6ft 6in Austro-Albanian striker last week came out of nowhere. Premier League (for one year) Palace were looking at him in pre-season so he can't be a bad player. Our lack of an out-and-out goalscorer last season nearly cost us after Gary Madine failed to recapture the form that saw him bag 18 goals in League 1 in the promotion campaign. With quick wingers aplenty the former Rapid Vienna striker should get plenty of service but there's always a question mark over a player who has never played in England before. Let's just say we're hoping he's more Gerald Sibon than Kim Olsen.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? 'We only worry about the way we play, not about who the opposition have got' - If I had a pound for every time I've heard that in a pre-match press conference I'd have enough money to buy a pint at Wembley. It's quite an obvious choice but I'm interested to see how Charlie Austin gets on this season after his 'dream move to Hull'(!) fell through. You only have to look at his career goals to game ratio to see why he's coveted by Premier League clubs but if he remains a Burnley player I wonder if he will retain the same hunger that earned him such rave reviews last season.

Who will win promotion? Reading, QPR, Bolton.

Who will be relegated? Birmingham, Barnsley, Yeovil.

Our verdict: 21st Wednesday just about stayed up last season and another battle to survive is in store for the Owls.


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Watford

Manager: Gianfranco Zola

Last season: Third

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 12/1, promotion 4/1, top-six finish 5/4, top-half finish 1/6, bottom-half finish 7/2, relegation 25/1.

View from the stands - Pete Bradshaw

What are the expectations for your club this season? The expectations from Watford fans are uncharacteristically very high. This might be expected given how very close we were to promotion last season and has been compounded by the arrival of some very good players over the summer. This does, of course, mean that we may be more of a target for other clubs and we'll need to hit the ground running to meet these expectations.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? This is a tricky one with half-a-dozen new faces joining from clubs in Italy, Spain and England. Of those who were with us last season Almen Abdi was a deserved player of the season and creates much that we do from midfield. Troy Deeney and Fernando Forestieri will cause defences all sorts of problems up front. Of the new players Javier Acuna and Diego Fabbrini look especially potent but the most impressive perhaps is centre-back Gabriele Angella who could be the standout player this season.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? I think the combination of Callum McManaman and Grant Holt at Wigan will be a pairing to watch. Holt still has a lot to offer at this level and the service from McManaman will be just what he needs. Of defenders I am struck by Sam Byram at Leeds. Worth watching for all sorts of reasons is Adel Taarabt - truly unpredictable.

Who will win promotion? Watford, Wigan and Bolton.

Who will be relegated? Blackpool, Millwall and Huddersfield. Although if QPR have financial issues it won't be easy for them.

Our verdict: Seventh It will be interesting to see if the Hornets can repeat the surprise promotion push of last season. The loss of Matej Vydra is a blow but talent is there to challenge again.


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Wigan Athletic

Manager: Owen Coyle

Last season: 18th in the Premier League (relegated)

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 12/1, promotion 9/2, top-six finish 13/8, top-half finish 1/4, bottom-half finish 11/4, relegation 28/1.

View from the stands - James Burrow

What are the expectations for your club this season? My expectations are for a top 10 finish and maybe push for a play-off place. With relegation, a new manager building a brand new team and Europe, the whole squad will be pushed to the limit so a season of consolidation wouldn't be too bad.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? I believe the one to watch this season will be James McArthur. The reason I say him and not players like Holt, Perch or McManaman is that he is really growing into the role of bossing the midfield. I believe this season he will grow into one of our most important players and carry the team.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? I think a standout Championship player this season will be somebody like Jobi McAnuff who will be looking to guide Reading back up to the Premier League.

Who will win promotion? Reading, Nottingham Forest and Watford.

Who will be relegated? Yeovil, Blackpool and Doncaster.

Our verdict: Third (play-off winners) New boss Owen Coyle has been very busy in the transfer market and the Latics can mount a late season charge to win promotion after dealing with the Europa League before Christmas.


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Yeovil Town

Manager: Gary Johnson

Last season: Fourth in League 1 (promoted via the play-offs)

Sky Bet's odds: Winner 250/1, promotion 50/1, top-six finish 33/1, top-half finish 10/1, bottom-half finish 1/28, relegation 10/11.

View from the stands - Ali Boyer

What are the expectations for your club this season? Although I'm sure we'll be favourites for relegation this season, last year we were second favourites to go down and ended up going up. I'm not saying we're getting promoted again, but we could surprise people and end up with a decent mid-table finish. People may disagree but in a way we are a lot like Manchester United. In the way our club is run the manager is a club legend and the main coaches are past Yeovil players of recent years who have been heroes for the club. If we keep playing the way Gary Johnson wants us to, we could end up doing very well.

Which player from your club should we watch out for? Paddy Madden was League 1's best player last season and scored a vital goal in the play-off final. He's still young and even though he was fantastic for us last year, I still feel like he can improve with a bit more experience. If he carries on the form from last year into the new season, he'll be a big player for us and could end up attracting attention from some huge clubs.

Which opposition player is worth watching in the Championship? As a Derby fan too (when I started supporting Yeovil and Derby they were about five leagues apart!) I would have to say one of their players - Will Hughes. He's 18 and last year was a big player for the Rams. He's attracted interest from some of the biggest teams in England. If he carries on developing the way he has been, he'll not only be one of our best players, but will be one of the league's best players whilst still a teenager. He could make a big impact on the Championship next season.

Who will win promotion? Watford, QPR (if they get rid of some of the egos, but I'm sure Harry will sort it all out) and Derby through the play-offs.

Who will be relegated? Would love to see Forest go down but I'll have to go for Millwall, Doncaster and possibly Middlesbrough based on their form in the run in at the end of last season.

Our verdict: 22nd (relegated) Don't believe for a moment that the Glovers will be cast adrift at the bottom of the Championship. There are plenty of top prospects in Gary Johnson's squad and the survival battle will go to the wire.


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