Four things to look out for as the EFL returns this weekend
Just got over the absolute marathon that was the 2019/20 EFL season? We’re about to do it all over again starting on Friday night as Watford entertain Middlesbrough in the Championship.
There’s plenty of storylines to cover amongst the 72 EFL clubs, so we’ve looked at five of them that may pique your interest this weekend.
Wycombe Wanderers in the Championship
It’s fairy tale stuff for the Chairboys who are 7/4 to kick off with a win at home to Rotherham United in their debut Championship campaign.
The Buckinghamshire side have a patched together squad of players from all walks of life, but all with a point to prove.
With Adebayo Akinfenwa and Matt Bloomfield getting their first taste of Championship football in their late thirties – they really are a team that perform greater than the sum of their parts.
They’ll be the unfashionable, underdogs for the whole season and are 1/2 on for relegation – but that could drive them on to keep the dream alive.
Will Said Benrahma stay at Brentford?
After Brentford lost to Fulham in the 2019/20 play-off final, it looked nailed on that Benrahma would be playing Premier League football this season. But with the new season upon us, he remains with the Bees.
The Algerian playmaker could yet be snapped up by a top-flight club but for now seems set be in the squad to face Birmingham City on Saturday.
Benrahma scored 17 goals in the Championship last season and if he inspires Brentford to a win this weekend, that could be the cue for a move to the big time.
As for Brentford themselves, Thomas Frank’s side are 6/1 to dust themselves down and win the league this season, while they’re 15/8 to get promoted.
League One promotion race
Can Lee Bowyer guide Charlton Athletic back to the Championship? Will Peterborough United finally return to the second tier or can Sunderland begin their revival?
It’s sure to be nip and tuck at the top of the League One table, with the Black Cats currently the 13/2 favourites to win the league.
Ipswich Town are another club in the mix at 7/2 to win promotion, while last season’s beaten playoff finalists Oxford United are 10/3 to get over the line this campaign.
Wigan Athletic may have a few issues to sort out at boardroom level but still could be up there too.
Bristol Rovers have signed well in the off-season and are 6/1 for promotion, while Portsmouth are at 5/2 to go up.
How will Barrow and Harrogate Town fare in League Two?
Barrow were very nearly robbed of their promotion to League Two when football shutdown in March, but the challenge now is to continue their positive momentum into the new season.
Harrogate Town eventually joined them from the National League after getting through a busy play-off schedule in July.
This is unchartered territory for both clubs as they embark on their maiden campaigns in the Football League facing former Premier League clubs like Bolton Wanderers, Bradford City and Oldham Athletic.
But with Barrow (9/4) and Harrogate (11/10) for top half finishes, they could cause a few more upsets than first imagined.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication