Can another unlikely team join the Premier League roster?
The exclusivity of the Premier League is fast becoming a bit of a myth, as by next May a massive 44 teams will have competed in it for at least one season since the 1992 inception.
That number has risen each year for the last three years, with Blackpool being the most recent new addition to the annals of Premier League history.
Before the Tangarines’ unlikely promotion from the Championship, Burnley made an equally improbable rise. The season prior to that it was Stoke City and Hull City – to make it four fresh names on the Premier League roster in three seasons.
Are we seeing a trend establish itself? And if so, who will next year’s newbie be?
Well, the likelihood of seeing another unfamiliar face in the top-flight come August 2011 is slim – just seven out of 24 teams in this season’s division have not played in the Premier League.
Of that bunch Bristol City are favourites to break their duck. Steve Coppell’s side are 9/2 to get promoted – the seventh lowest-priced odds overall.
It’s clear the manager’s experience with Reading, who he got promoted to the top flight in 2006, will stand the team in good stead.
At 5/1 to go up, last season’s play-off final losers Cardiff City are next in the queue of Premier League novices.
Boss Dave Jones took Wolverhampton Wanderers to their first Premier League campaign and, should he stay at the club, the Bluebirds have a good chance to be Wales’s sole top-flight side since 1992.
Swansea City, 11/2 to win promotion, will want to usurp such hopes, though.
Further down the list of Premier League virgins are Preston North End (11/1), Millwall (14/1), Doncaster Rovers (16/1) and Scunthorpe United (33/1).
Out of those sides it may be worth having a flutter on Doncaster. Sean O’Driscoll’s side finished a creditable 12th last season, just 10 points off Blackpool in the final play-off spot.
Having played in the Conference as recently as eight years ago, the side are formidable and the stadium impressive. With a bit of luck, they could surge even higher – it would replicate the improbable journey Hull and Blackpool both went on.
Darren Ferguson led Peterborough to promotion, can he do the same with Preston and into a match with his dad? They are 33/1 to win the Championship.