Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughChampionship 2013/2014 Preview (Part 1) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Championship 2013/2014 Preview (Part 1) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Championship 2013/2014 Preview (Part 1)

The most unpredictable and exciting league in the world? It may not have the greatest players around but the entertainment is always there.

From Blackpool’s incredible promotion to the Premier League to Wolves suffering back-to-back relegations after being favourites to be title winners! Granted that the fixtures were only released on Wednesday, but the upcoming season won’t be any different.

Here’s a quick look at first half of the sides that will be competing in the Championship next campaign…

Barnsley: Survival last month was a sigh of relief for the Yorkshire club who have been in this division since promotion in 2006 against Swansea City. No push into those illusive play-off positions has looked likely since then – so don’t expect much from them!

Birmingham City: Two seasons ago, winning the Carling Cup then suffering relegation was overall a decent season for City at the time, but looking back, playing European football had them constantly playing catch-up. From then on Birmingham have been a mid-table outfit causing little disruption.

Bolton Wanderers: After a great second half to the season, Bolton fans certainly believe they have what it takes to grab one of those automatic promotion spots. Long serving striking powerhouse Kevin Davies has left after his contract expired this summer leaving Dougie Freedman searching for a new striker.

Blackburn Rovers: Do they have a chance of promotion? No, not with Venkey’s in charge. I’ll leave it there.

Blackpool:  After losing an iconic manager like Ian Holloway and one of the Football Leagues brightest young talents Tom Ince, your stage of overachieving as a small club with a cap on external resources is sure to cease. Mid table at best I think for the Tangerines which is a shame as we have all enjoyed watching the last few years unfold at Bloomfield Road with some wonderful moments brought to us by Holloway’s attacking beliefs.

Bournemouth: For a newly promoted side, it’s a wonder that very little has been said about the prospect of relegation for Eddie Howe’s team. Then again the boss does have Championship experience, money is available for transfers and they generally have the ability to operate on a larger scale than the likes of Millwall, Barnsley, Blackpool and Yeovil.

Brighton & Hove Albion: After being suspended by the club’s board, Gus Poyet may have his eyes on a job elsewhere particularly after missing a disciplinary hearing this week.

Burnley: Owen Coyle taking Burnley up to the big time seems so long ago now, doesn’t it? It really could go either way for this Lancashire club next campaign with new signings needed to be brought in to fight for a play-off spot. Keeping hold of main star Charlie Austin will be the Clarets biggest boost who averages a goal every 2 games based on his appearances for Burnley since joining from Swindon in 2011. Aged just 23, Berkshire born Austin could bring a lot more if he decides to stay at Turf Moor.

Charlton Athletic: Following on from relegation in 2007 from the promised land, then another drop in 2009, I’m sure many of their supporters would have been pleased with last seasons respectable finish of 9th place – only 3 points from the final play-off spot!

Derby County: Very good team on their day, then again so are San Marino and Tahiti. Nevertheless, a top half finish is achievable in what could be the most testing of seasons yet for Derby who have struggled to maintain a promotion charge since their humiliating relegation in 2008. I suppose as long as they finish above Forest, Rams fans will be pleased.

Doncaster Rovers: If they bring their winning mentality, Rovers are certainly good enough to compete with many sides who finished in last year’s bottom half. Donny faced in 2011/2012 at the hands of a seven goal thriller against Portsmouth who also fell into League 1. The signing of striker Billy Painter and midfielder David Cotterill were instrumental in bouncing back up to play Championship football in 2013/2014.

Huddersfield Town:  Emergency loan striker Jermaine Beckford headed back to Leicester City last month which will mean a goalscorer is The Terriers ultimate priority before August. Another man they will lose to Leicester this summer is Neil Danns who was also on loan, though only from January onwards. These men were by far Town’s stand out performers going forward in 2012/2013 and for a club living without a deep pocket this is a big worry.