Championship season 2013/14 preview: A-C

With the start of the Championship just a few days away, excitement is starting to boil over for all football fans, players and staff. After last season’s unbelievable twists, turns and drama fuelled events I sometimes wonder if it can keep getting better on the entertainment value season after season. However, I then think that this is the Championship and I am sure it will keep getting better and better with incredible dramatic matches and events.

I am going to give you my thoughts on each team’s chances in the league next season, but as I am no psychic I will most likely be miles off with the unpredictability of the division.

Even if I was psychic I’m sure nobody could predict this league!

First up is Barnsley and after literally scrapping their way to safety on the final day last season by one point I can’t see a much different time this campaign round. As for transfers so far they have brought in players from lower teams such as Jean-Yves Mvoto from Oldham. As for their manager, David Flitcroft, I feel he has the passion for the club and he says the right things but I believe it will be too much of an uphill struggle to keep them in the league. Prediction – 22nd

With Birmingham City this season I can’t see them springing any surprises or doing anything special. I think that they will certainly be safe and just be stuck in the cluster of teams in the middle of the division. With Lee Clark I just don’t feel he has the same love and passion for the Blues as he did for Huddersfield and he has a very tough job to do there and please the St. Andrews faithful.

As for ins and outs nothing jumps out at me so to speak but having sold two of their best players in Curtis Davies and Nathan Redmond to Premier League opposition won’t please the fans too much. The only in comings that I rate are the ones of Kyle Bartley and tricky winger Shane Ferguson. These two are more or less like for like to whom left the club and I feel Ferguson is a very skilful winger with great technical ability and could have a part to play at his parent club Newcastle United in the future. Prediction – 14th

If Blackburn Rovers are to spring any surprises this season then they will have to tighten up at the back and turn more draws into wins, and the only way I can see them doing that is with their strike force of Jordan Rhodes and DJ Campbell which on paper looks a terrific goals filled partnership. They have only lost one key player, in my opinion, and that’s the one of Martin Olsson who has also made the step up to the Premier League. However, having said this they have brought in quite a few new faces in Matt Kilgallon, Alex Marrow and Chris Taylor. Prediction –17th

Things haven’t been looking so bright for the tangerine army of Blackpool lately. Since father of young starlet Tom Ince, Paul came in things started looking rocky for the seaside club. Tom wasn’t playing as free-flowingly as he was when he was tearing up the league at the start of the campaign and results were just not happening. However this will now be Paul’s first full season in charge and also son Tom has now chosen to stay maybe they could turn things around for the better. They have recently recruited two new decent strikers in Steven Davies and Michael Chopra. Everyone knows what Chopra can do after seeing him find the net so many times over his illustrious career and Davies is also a big striker that could work well with Michael as the little and large combination. Prediction – 12th

After Brighton & Hove Albion suffered play-off heartache to eventual winners Crystal Palace and with the whole incident involving Gus Poyet, things seem slightly unsettled down at the AMEX. Having not heard much about new boss Oscar Garcia it is hard to know how they will do until we have seen him in action, but he hhas been quick to recruit Matthew Upson, Adam Chiksen and David Lopez, as well as Swansea midfielder Kemy Agustien, although the latter’s deal has not been announced yet. I think if they can hold on to the good talent already at the club then they should be battling at the top end of the table throughout. Prediction – 6th

This campaign I think Bolton Wanderers are set for a good season and could possibly reach the play-off places. They were struggling for the best part of last season until Dougie Freedman came in and steadied the ship and took the Lancashire side on a superb run and flew up the table which saw them in the end just miss out on the play-offs by goal difference. Having just heard the horrific news that midfielder Stuart Holden has been ruled out for the whole season due to injury once more. I’m sure he will be sorely missed and will be back playing fully fit soon. However on the other hand I think the signing of Jermaine Beckford will be a terrific one. As he showed at Leeds United and at Everton he is a natural born goal scorer and when he gets in a rhythm he can’t stop. His goals could potentially be the key to get this Bolton side back in the big time. Prediction – 5th

New comers Bournemouth and all the promoted teams are set for a long, old, tough gruelling season battling for survival. Although I see Eddie Howe’s side to have the best chance of staying up out of the three new teams because Howe is a very good young manager, and he injects the right sort of attitude and playing style into his players. With his current crop’s chemistry he obviously wants a few bigger names to strengthen and has already brought in the experience of Ian Harte. They have also been linked with the likes of Simeon Jackson which I thought would be a good signing. Prediction – 20th

I can only see another mid table mediocrity season for Burnley. The claret and blue faithful must be completely reliant on talisman Charlie Austin to stay if they are in with any chance of building more and more wins. He was there saviour last season and after strangely failing a medical at Premier League side Hull City so many more clubs are looking at him. Burnley will do well to hold onto him. Prediction – 16th

Jay Taylor