Here are our blissfully ignorant assessments of all 24 clubs
With just one week until the Championship gets underway, here’s me making a rod for my own back predicting the final league table. This will almost certainly be wrong, so I don’t care if you disagree.
1st – Aston Villa
My tip for the title, Steve Bruce gets promotions from this division and now he has a full season to do what he can. John Terry will either be immense, or laughably bad, with the club seemingly aiming to bring experience in
2nd – Sunderland
This might make some spit out whatever they`re drinking, but I think highly of Simon Grayson, he`s won promotion to the Championship four times, never looked like getting relegated and now he gets an opportunity at a big Championship side. Replacing Jermain Defoe`s goals is the big challenge, but there are players who can do well when there`s a manager there who isn`t awful. Hi Moyesey.
3rd – Reading
Will Reading be galvanised by just missing out, or will they suffer a hangover? Jaap Stam has a clear idea of how he wants to play, even if he whinges if the opposition play remotely direct or overphysical. A team that are easy on the eye.
4th – Derby
Derby have generally reached the playoffs, or around there in the last few years. Gary Rowett will get a full season, Curtis Davies and Tom Huddlestone know the league, the Rams should go close again.
5th – Wolves
A series of minor coups, undoubtedly orchestrated by Jorge Mendes, means ex-Porto boss Nuno has taken over, signing Ruben Neves, Willy Boly, and Diogo Jota, all of whom he managed last season as they just missed out on the Portuguese title.
6th – Middlesbrough
They didn`t score goals last season, they`ve gone out to address that problem, with Britt Assombalonga and Martin Braithwaite coming in. Should be at the right end of the table under new boss Garry Monk.
7th – Brentford
A progressive attitude to recruitment has served the Bees well in recent years, and could go close to making the playoffs like they did in 2014-15.
8th – Birmingham
Had an awful time under Gianfranco Zola last season, but I think that said more about him than the team who were doing well under Gary Rowett was sacked. Harry Redknapp hasn`t done too much wheeling and dealing, but has bought in some solid signings in David Stockdale and Cheick N`Doye
9th – Fulham
Were being touted as the entertainers of the division last season and made the playoffs which signalled a huge improvement. Tom Cairney is one of the best players in the division, but they do seem have a pretty small squad ahead of the season`s start. Should be in the playoff mix again.
10th – Leeds
They have kept Chris Wood so should always be dangerous going forward. Thomas Christensen has come in as manager, previously working in Cyprus and the net has been cast across Europe looking for signings. Hard to pin down where they`ll finish but should be in the top half.
11th – Norwich
Stuart Webber, former Huddersfield director of football, has rocked up at Norwich and trying to pull off the same trick, by bringing in a head coach from Dortmund`s second team. It`s a gamble, but should mean Norwich will at least be enjoyable to watch.
12th – Nottingham Forest
They have got rid of Fawaz Al-Hasawi, have options going forward with Zach Clough, Daryl Murphy, Barrie McKay and Jason Cummings, but still have Matt Mills at the back. Should be heading in the right direction under Mark Warburton, but a top finish would be success.
13th – Hull City
Leonid Slutskiy isn`t a bad manager, he has won the Russian league several times and reached the Champions League last eight. But Hull are a mess, most of the best players moved on after relegation and they`ve mainly had to rely on loans for recruitment, while a lot of fans are staying away. They won`t be coming straight back up
14th – Sheffield Wednesday
A couple of playoff misses in recent years, but they haven`t really brought anyone in over the summer. George Boyd is a decent signing, but that`s the only new face and the squad looks a bit top heavy.
15th – Cardiff
Neil Warnock came in after Paul Trollope`s short reign didn`t work at all, and Cardiff slotted quietly into mid-table after that. Expect more of the same this season.
16th – Ipswich
Ipswich finished here last season, and will probably do so again. They beat us to the loan signing of Bersant Celina, and have bought Joe Garner from Rangers for £1 million. Mick McCarthy has been in charge for nearly five years, it`s a settled club with just enough about them.
17th – Bristol City
I don`t even know enough about the Robins. With no stand-out ins or outs over the summer, I would expect them to again occupy a lower mid-table spot. It all depends whether Tammy Abraham’s goals can be replaced by Famara Diedhiou, signed from Angers, just like Jonathan Kodjia, who did alright for them
18th – QPR
Look at Cardiff, replace Warnock with Ian Holloway, Trollope with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, and there you have it. Should have enough experience about them to stay clear of the relegation trapdoor.
19th – Preston
They could suffer after losing Simon Grayson and Aiden McGeady. Alex Neil has taken over, aiming to rebuild his reputation after a tough time in the aftermath of Norwich`s relegation from the Premier League last year.
20th – Bolton
Yes, I do think we will stay up. I`ve not even been drinking
21st – Burton
It will be tough, but I think they could stay up again, ex-Wanderer Stephen Warnock has plenty of experience, while Liam Boyce, last year`s top scorer in the Scottish Premiership, should provide a few goals.
22nd – Millwall
Only got up via the playoffs, we made them look ordinary in the two games we played against them, and they haven`t really signed anyone apart from two admittedly decent full backs in Conor McLaughlin and James Meredith.
23rd – Sheffield United
This one could come back to bite, but Ched Evans isn`t the cleverest signing for footballing and non-footballing reasons. Richard Stearman and Enda Stevens aren`t bad signings, but they haven`t really made improvements to their squad from last season, and I think we have the best defence of three newly promoted sides.
24th – Barnsley
Lost a few key players in Conor Hourihane last January, then Marc Roberts and Marley Watkins this summer. I think they`ll struggle