Promotion hopefuls – Burnley and co want instant bounce back
Burnley, Hull and Portsmouth are all aiming to replicate the feat achieved by Newcastle and West Brom last season – and return to the Premier League just 12 months after leaving football’s top table.
The threesome are respectively 11/4, 11/2 and 6/1 to earn promotion this term.
However, this latest group to have plummeted into the Championship are no way near as strong as their predecessors, with Pompey and Hull in serious financial strife and Burnley a surprise riser to the Premier League in the first place.
Of the trio it is the Lancastrians who seem best prepared for the year of toil that second-tier football entails, having managed to retain most of the squad from last season.
The Clarets have only lost Steven Fletcher to Wolves and Robbie Blake to Bolton while managing to bring in Lee Grant from Sheffield Wednesday, Ross Wallace from Preston, Chris Iwelumo from Wolves and Dean Marney from Hull.
Those purchases will ensure competition for places all over the squad, with even goalkeeping legend Brian Jensen’s place at risk from Grant should the Dane not perform.
With talented players such as Danny Fox, Chris Eagles and Martin Paterson remaining from their ultimately unsuccessful stay in the Premier League, a title winning campaign is well within reach. Burnley are 10/1 third-favourites to top the Championship.
Hull are 16/1 to win the Championship, suggesting any push upwards will come via a trip to Wembley, as they managed in 2008.
The Tigers spent big to stay in the Premier League and had to sell players to stay afloat after relegation. Keeper Boaz Myhill has departed and Jimmy Bullard should follow but seasoned campaigners James Harper and Nolberto Solano have been brought in.
Nigel Pearson is a sage head and after guiding Leicester to the play-offs last year can do the same with the Humberside team.
Portsmouth’s win in the courts yesterday makes the future a little sunnier on the South Coast, as they are able to move out of administration. But the club (20/1 to win the title) are still with only 13 senior players, meaning youth will certainly get a chance at Fratton Park this year.
Steve Cotterill takes his threadbare team to Coventry on Saturday, with a 21/10 chance of winning.