Over half of the Championship’s 24 clubs will start the 2018-19 season with realistic ambitions of making it to the Premier League.
Some, like Middlesbrough, Stoke City and Nottingham Forest, have spent big in an attempt to realise the top-flight dream. Others, like Bristol City, are going about it a slightly different way.
The Robins have opted to fly under the radar rather than fly too close to the sun and currently sit as outsiders for promotion at 8/1 with our traders.
Goals have been lost with Bobby Reid’s defection across the Severn Bridge to Cardiff City. And Aden Flint’s talents at either end will be missed following his move to rivals Middlesbrough.
But progressive young manager Lee Johnson has reinvested the near £20m received for their services wisely.
His acquisitions are a mix of proven quality and exciting young talents which could spearhead a new promotion charge.
Centre-back Adam Webster joins after impressing with Ipswich Town.
The 23-year-old made 51 league appearances for the Tractor Boys and has won plaudits for his ability to bring the ball out from the back.
He’s in the same mould as Harry Maguire and should fit in well alongside captain Bailey Wright and ex-Aston Villa man Nathan Baker at the heart of defence.
Jack Hunt should also provide an upgrade on Eros Pisano at right-back, while Joe Bryan’s presence on the left ensures consistency and quality on either flank.
City’s midfield stacked up as one of the best in the Championship last season and will only be more dangerous for the arrival of Hakeeb Adelakun from Scunthorpe United.
The winger is still raw at 22-years-old but nine assists and four goals in League One last season should allow the Robins to look more threatening in the middle of the park.
Alongside fellow newbie Marley Watkins from Norwich City, they’ll give Johnson more width to go alongside his central talents which are headed by accomplished ball-player Marlon Pack.
And let’s not forget about the club’s forwards. Matty Taylor has yet to impress so far at Ashton Gate but will use last season’s experience as a valuable learning curve in his development.
The powerful and pacey Famara Diedhiou did hit the ground running in his maiden season in English football, scoring 14 goals in all competitions. You can be sure he’ll come on even more this time around.
He’ll be helped by the signing of workmanlike striker Andreas Weimann, whose selfless forward play will be to the benefit of his teammates and detriment of the opposition.
Those signings are all well and good. But it’s the addition of Cheltenham Town hotshot Mohamed Eisa who could make the difference up front.
Last season’s 25-goal man has moved to Ashton Gate after an incredible debut season at Whaddon Road. If he can hit the ground running in the Championship, the Robins really could be in business.
Bristol City host Nottingham Forest on 4th August and are 6/4 to open their campaign with a win.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing