They’ve gone five years without meeting each other in the league but that’s all set to change when this season’s Championship plays host to Aston Villa and Birmingham City. How will they fare? One punter fancies both of these second city heavyweights to get promoted and we’re offering odds of 33/1 for that to happen.
The closest City came to promotion since their relegation in 2010-11 was the following season, where they finished fourth and were knocked out of the play-offs by eventual winners Blackpool, and since then, Blues fans have seen Chris Hughton and Lee Clark come and go.
Now they have Gary Rowett, who’s been with the club since October 2014 and in that time he’s established himself as a top manager, regularly attracting the interest of several managerless Premier League clubs over the last two years.
And given that he’s led the Blues to two successive comfortable tenth-placed finishes, it’s of no surprise that some onlookers are expecting the club to push on this season.
In fact, City were right in the mix for a play-off spot last campaign until a freak run which saw them win just one of their last 12 matches.
Boasting one of the best clean sheet records in the league, Rowett’s priority this campaign in order to achieve promotion must be to add a new striker to his roster.
Young Sheffield United striker Che Adams is just one of Rowett’s targets this summer, the 20-year old having scored 11 league goals in his breakthrough season with the Blades.
And then there’s the claret and blue side of Birmingham.
Villa are considered by many as the only team capable of sustaining a genuine title challenge alongside Newcastle United, and frankly – given their new owner and manager – it would take a fool to expect anything less than a Villa promotion this season.
Providing the Villans do go up automatically with the Magpies, that leaves the Blues contending for one of four play-off spots, and while they’re 14/1 to achieve promotion on their own, this 33/1 special offers much more value.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing