The beginning of another fascinating Championship season is just around the corner and two of the Premier League teams dropping down are fancied to make somewhat differing starts to their respective campaigns if their pre-season results are anything to go by.
Meanwhile the ‘King Billy’ effect at Nottingham Forest is expected to propel them to an opening day success, rounding out a 15/1 treble that aims to swell your war chest ahead of the 2013/14 season.
Reading are sure to rise to the top as the season reaches maturity, but right now they’re a team that’s used to disappointment. A miserable Premier League campaign has been followed up by a winless week of pre-season matches as the Championship kick-off approaches.
Three losses on the bounce and but one goal scored should hardly inspire confidence in favourite backers, whereas Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich have gone through their warm-up games unbeaten.
Despite the contrasting confidences of the camps, Reading will be tough to beat having been relatively strong at the Madejski in the top flight – avoiding defeat in 12 of their 19 games – and a draw looks the most likely result.
Another of those that slipped through the top flight trapdoor last term, Wigan should have enough quality to see off the Tykes, who narrowly avoided demotion the third tier themselves last season.
The Jameses McArthur and McCarthy should boss midfield at Oakwell, allowing the Latics ample chance to feed summer acquisition Grant Holt, who looked sharp on his debut against Dundee United.
Wigan were formidable travellers for the second half of last campaign, losing just three of 14 away games in 2013 and they can make their class tell.
Billy Davies’ powers of City Ground alchemy were restated in impressive fashion when Forest embarked upon a six-match unbeaten run following his return to the club in February last year, having guided them to successive play-off berths in his previous tenure at the club and they are fancied to make good on that promise over the course of this campaign.
Huddersfield have endured an uninspiring pre-season, including an ignominious loss to Isthmian Premier outfit Dulwich Hamlet and a draw with League Two York City and Forest – unbeaten in their own seasonal sharpeners – have an excellent chance of gaining maximum reward as a result.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date.