The Championship season is just a few days away from starting and Leicester have spent a lot of money in a bid to gain promotion to the Premier League
With just over two weeks to go until the start of the Championship season, punters will be eyeing a potential ‘good value bet‘ in a wide-open division. The likes of Swansea, Blackpool and Burnley have surprised many by gaining promotion to the top flight in recent years, could there be another surprise package this season?
Leicester (9/2jf Championship Outright) look like the team to beat this term after spending big during the summer transfer window.
Sven Goran Eriksson turned the Foxes from relegation candidates to play-off contenders last season and has spent money on strengthening his squad.
David Nugent, Matt Mills, Neil Danns, Sean St Ledger and Kasper Schmeichel are among the names arriving at Leicester and although they look like quality additions, the pressure will be on for Eriksson’s men to deliver the goods.
West Ham (6/4 to win promotion) are another team expected to go close this season, despite losing a number of first-team players since their relegation from the top flight.
Sam Allardyce has pulled off a real coup with the capture of Kevin Nolan, but a couple of other new faces will be needed if they are to stake a claim for an imminent return.
Birmingham and Blackpool are the other two clubs looking to go back up at the first time of asking, with the Tangerines looking a better bet at this stage.
Ian Holloway may have lost Charlie Adam and David Vaughan but in Kevin Phillips (33/1 Championship Leading Scorer) they have someone who can grab 20-plus goals this term.
Blues have lost four first-team regulars and Chris Hughton has some rebuilding to do to make them a force, although he knows how to win promotion having won the title with Newcastle.
After the appointment of Steve McClaren, much of the press will be keeping a close eye on Nottingham Forest (3/1 to win promotion) this season.
The ex-England boss has brought back Andy Reid to the City Ground and the capture of Jonathan Greening from Fulham looks like a useful addition. The play-offs will be the minimum target for McClaren.
Burnley finished last season strongly under Eddie Howe and have a lot of quality in their squad, but they will need a goalscoring replacement for Chris Iwelumo. The Clarets’ home form is likely to keep them in touch with the chasing pack, but they will need to improve on the road.
Reading (12/1 Championship Outright) will still be haunted by their play-off final defeat to Swansea and the loss of Mills will have a big impact on their hopes. Brian McDermott must keep Shane Long if the Royals are to challenge for promotion.
The Yorkshire challenge will come from Leeds and Hull, with the Tigers looking a more likely threat.
Nigel Pearson has made some shrewd additions, in particular Paul McKenna, and in Matt Fryatt (20/1 Top Goalscorer) has one of the best strikers in the division.
Leeds have struggled to make an impact in the transfer market and will be relying heavily on the intimidation factor of Elland Road.