Next Saturday the Championship season for 2022-23 begins. 24 teams will battle it out for three available places in the Premier League, and to avoid relegation to League One. Below are my league table predictions from 24th to who I think will be the league winners. Cue the controversy and disagreements.
Probably one of the safest predictions I could make. The Millers just cannot seem to get it right in the Championship, and always seem to yo-yo between the second and third tier of English football.
In their last five seasons Rotherham have seen three promotions to the Championship – but also two relegations finishing 22nd in the 2018-19 season and 23rd in the 2020-21 season.
They’ve also seen the departure of some key players – Freddie Ladapo, Micheal Smith and Micheal Ihiekwe having all left the club on free transfers. Given that and their poor track record, I expect them to go straight back down to League One with very little fight. So little in fact, that they’ll finish bottom.Embed from Getty Images
To think Reading were once competing in the Premier League. Just what has happened to the Berkshire side?
Much like Rotherham, they’ve lost many key players. 12 first-team players have left the club – including one of last season’s best players in the Championship, John Swift. Plus, all of those players have left on free transfers.
In terms of arrivals – Jeff Hendrick, Shane Long and Tom Ince look promising – but they are players well past their prime who may not meet the effort required to compete at this level. So for those reasons, I’m expecting Reading to be playing in the English third tier for the first time since 1988.Embed from Getty Images
Another one of the promoted sides from League One, and the side I expect to take the last relegation spot this season.
Over the course of their last five seasons, Wigan have been promoted to the Championship twice, relegated once, but also finished 20th in League One just two seasons ago. That sort of inconsistency can haunt you and I reckon it will do just that to the Tics.
Also, their squad just isn’t good enough to stay in this division. When you have to rely on Will Keane and Josh Magennis as your main source of goals (who only have 18 goals in 151 Championship games between them) then you are in big trouble.
However, Keane did win the League One golden boot last season, so maybe he’ll do better than his previous Championship campaigns.Embed from Getty Images
The Blues are always in and around the relegation places, but always seem to do just enough to stay in the division every season, and I think the same will happen again.
It looks likely that they’ll have new owners soon with Paul Richardson and Maxi Lopez fronting a consortium to buy the club, but that is taking its time to complete.
Plus, Birmingham have a decent squad with the likes of Troy Deeney and Dion Sanderson but lack a marquee player who can take them higher up the table. That being said, I expect them near the foot end of the table.
After surviving their first season back in the Championship – I’m expecting more of the same from the Tangerines.
They enjoyed a successful campaign finishing 16th and only 10 points off seventh-placed Middlesbrough. However, they have just lost their former manager Neil Critchley to Aston Villa, who left a strong foundation to build upon, and now have Micheal Appleton in charge.
Due to this, I can see Blackpool having a quick drop down the league, but definitely will do enough to stay up at the second time of asking.
The last few seasons have been an absolute disaster for Cardiff City. From playing in the Premier League just three years ago to now stagnating near the bottom of the Championship, I strongly think they’ll stay there.
Despite making some brilliant signings with the likes of Sheyi Ojo, Romain Sawyers and Cedric Kipre – there are plenty of other new faces coming into Sean Morrison’s side.
Ultimately this could cost the Bluebirds near the start of the season – which is ultimately the best time to get points. But, if the players can gel quickly, Cardiff could have a quietly successful signing.Embed from Getty Images
Bristol City have made quite a few signings and also haven’t seen any real big names leave the club other than Callum O’Dowda on a free to Cardiff.
Despite this, I can’t see Nigel Pearson’s average points per game of 1.26 he’s accumulated over his 61 games in charge of the Robins going up too much.
They also finished 17th last season, so I’m not expecting much improvement but also not too much of a decline.
This prediction might be the most controversial one of the entire table, as this would mean Blackburn would drop nine places from last season.
But I have my reasoning for this. Over the final 18 games of last season, Rovers finished the season with the form resembling a side in the bottom four.
They’ve also just lost Joe Rothwell and Darragh Lenihan – two key players for them over the last few seasons.
Also, Tony Mowbray has left the club – seeing new manager Jon Dahl Tomasson join the club – who has no experience with management in English football, let alone the Championship.
The only hope Blackburn have is Ben Brereton Diaz matching his goalscoring form from last season but if he doesn’t things could be tricky.Embed from Getty Images
They’re back – and they’ve got a good Championship manager in Alex Neil to keep them in the division.
I’ve got no doubt in my mind that Sunderland will be the most competitive promoted sie from League One, and they’ll have a great following to keep them going as the season goes on.
I can’t see them in the relegation battle – but don’t think they’ll have enough to challenge the well-run Championship clubs.
QPR had a horrendous finish to last season’s campaign. After they were just two points off the automatic promotion spots on January 29th, no one scored fewer points than them after that date.
Mark Warburton has left the club, Micheal Beale has come in who is relatively untried at this level, who could be sensational but might also take a while to get going.
With all that being said, I’ve got Rangers dropping five places – to think they were in the Premier League just seven years ago.Embed from Getty Images
I’ve got a feeling this is a prediction which is very safe. Stoke have stayed in midtable since their relegation from the Premier League in 2018 finishing 14th for the last two seasons in a row and I think it will be a third straight season there.
They have signed Dwight Gayle who has proved he can be sensational at this level – will he still be? We’ll soon find out.
Also, at both halfway points of the last two seasons, Stoke have been placed in eighth. They just need to try and hang in there for a little longer.
Much like Stoke City, Preston have finished in 13th place for the last two seasons. They also haven’t been lower than 14th in the league for the last four seasons in a row.
I like the signing of Freddie Woodman on loan from Newcastle United and think that Emil Riis could have a good goalscoring season.
Since Ryan Lowe came in as manager last season, Preston were ranked ninth in the table so evidently have some quality about them.Embed from Getty Images
Last season was a major surprise story for Huddersfield Town. They exceeded all expectations and reached the playoff final, where they lost to Nottingham Forest.
But I’m expecting a real drop-off this season for the Terriers. They’ve lost their manager Carlos Corberan and almost the entire starting eleven of that playoff final game.
I don’t think it’ll be a similar story to Barnsley last season, who ended up relegated a season after finishing in sixth – but they certainly won’t enjoy as much success.
The Sky Blues have gone up the footballing pyramid every season since they were in League Two in 2017 and always seem to do so much right in terms of stability and recruitment.
The only concern I have for them is losing Gustavo Hamer or Callum O’Hare in the latter stages of the transfer window.
I’ve got them finishing one place higher than what they did last season, and their climb up the leagues continuing.Embed from Getty Images
I’ll be 100% honest – this prediction is a complete shot in the dark. I’ve got no clue how well or poor Hull will look this season.
They’ve made several exotic incomings under their new Turkish owners and if they can get these players to gel quickly, then they can definitely climb up the table.
So for that reason – I’ve got them in the top ten.
They may have lost Jed Wallace but, the incomings look good for Gary Rowett.
After finishing inside the top ten for three of the last five Championship seasons, we should now expect Millwall to finish this high in the table, rather then thinking of them punching above their weight.
They finished ninth last season – just six points off the playoffs – and I reckon the Lions will stay there.Embed from Getty Images
There is great potential for Russell Martin as a manager and his side are an enjoyable watch in the majority of their games.
However, they need to put a season together quickly. They finished 15th last season, but I can see them climbing up the table.
If Joel Piroe can replicate his goalscoring tally and Harry Darling showcases his talent – then the Swans are in for a good second campaign under the former Norwich City captain.
After a great season and reaching the playoffs, I’ve got Luton to just miss out on the playoffs this time around.
This isn’t based upon how good I think their signings have been and the quality of their squad (if anything it’s better than last season’s) it’s more about how much harder it will be for teams to get into the top six.
There’s now five teams in the league who are receiving parachute payments – so teams like Luton will struggle to compete financially with them.Embed from Getty Images
West Brom got it horribly wrong last season. They went with Valerien Ismael at the start of the season, and it didn’t work at all. Steve Bruce came in, and they ended up in 10th place.
Although Bruce isn’t the youngest manager – he’s been in this division before and certainly knows how to get out of it. Plus, the squad he has isn’t bad at all and with the addition of John Swift from Reading they will be flying.
Also if Daryl Dike can keep at full fitness – they’ll have a goal machine to help boost them up the table.Embed from Getty Images
Burnley have got a lot to cope with this season.
They’ve parted ways with a manager who was in the very fabric and success of the club in Sean Dyche, they’ve just been relegated, they’ve also lost key players and have brought in an untried manager at this level in Vincent Kompany.
However, they’ve got a young squad who have great desire and hunger to do well in the league and if they can keep some of their other key players like Maxwel Cornet, they will definitely get a top six spot.Embed from Getty Images
It was just too soon for Chris Wilder last season to repeat his heroics at Sheffield United with Middlesbrough last season, missing out on the playoffs by one spot.
The signings of Lenihan and Ryan Giles will most certainly fit the playing shape of Wilder and he’ll have the Djed Spence money to sign a much-needed striker.
Plus, Isiah Jones with a full season of Championship football could prove fearsome if he stays fit.
If Zack Steffen on loan from Manchester City can fix the goalkeeping issues – this could be a great season for Boro.Embed from Getty Images
Just missing out on the automatic promotion places I’ve got another newly relegated side.
In terms of individual star power – I think Watford have got the best out of the three relegated sides, especially if Emmanuel Dennis or Ismaila Sarr stay at the club.
A lot of their players at the club have already crushed the Championship before but my question, along with a lot of other pundits, is will the owners back the manager if things start going pear-shaped?
We’ll have to wait and see.
I don’t think they’ll win the title – but I strongly believe Sheffield United will return to the Premier League after a decent season last campaign.
Paul Heckingbottom scored 1.92 points per game in his 27 matches in charge last season, which was the form resembling a team acheiving automatic promotion. Also, they were just one penalty shootout away from the playoff final.
They’ve made some incredible signings so far and have great defensive shape under Heckingbottom, especially in home games.
All they need to do is work on their away form – and they’ll be right up there come the end of the season.Embed from Getty Images
You all saw it coming. Who else other than the team who have won the league the last two times of asking?
They may not have Emi Buendia this time around – but Norwich should still cruise the league next season. If Max Aarons stays and Temmu Pukki stays fit, then there are very few issues for Dean Smith to worry about.
In terms of the relegated sides – the Canaries have the manager with the best CV which also boasts a promotion with Aston Villa. Can Smith do it without Jack Grealish? We’ll soon find out.
The signings of Isaac Hayden and Gabriel Sara also look promising – but they’ll have to stay fit for the whole season if they are to prove their worth and help Norwich go straight back up.Embed from Getty Images
So there you have it! Now, I want to know what you have to say. Do you agree with my predictions? Or do you reckon the table could look completely different come May next year?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!