Sky Bet EFL Championship Season Preview 2017/18
This Friday night sees the first fixtures kick off in the 2017/18 Championship season and we’re all getting ready for what promises to be a truly exciting season in one of world football’s most competitive leagues. Anyone who follows Championship football will know that it’s all about fine margins; in a league where any team can usually beat any other, it’s often tricky to tell who all of the main players in the promotion race will be at this point.
For newly relegated Sunderland, now without their standout top scorer from previous campaigns but with a draft of new signings and loaned players, anything less than promotion will probably be considered a huge disappointment; the same could also be said for the other two clubs who fell foul of the drop, big spenders Middlesbrough and lesser spenders Hull City; but they will all need to be prepared for an epic battle over the next 9+ months as there are few leagues closer fought than the Championship is every season.
There are some big clubs with long pedigrees who are currently competing in this league, and all will have their sights firmly set on the promotion race. Aston Villa had a lukewarm campaign last time around, only managing to finish 13th, rather than bouncing right back up as their fans will have hoped they would. They have a manager in Steve Bruce who is somewhat of an expert in promotion from the Championship, so fans will be hoping he can work his magic this time. In the meantime there is always the Second City derby with neighbours, Birmingham City (who are now under the guidance of Harry Redknapp, of course) to look forward to.
Sheffield Utd’s promotion from League One last season means that they and Sheffield Wednesday are back in the same division after a little break and both are sure to be keen to rekindle their on-pitch rivalry; but neither will want anything to distract from their wider campaigns respectively.
The other newly promoted teams, Bolton Wanderers and Millwall, are no strangers to the second tier of English football, so should have a good idea of what it takes to consolidate their place and then build from there; but, as any follower of the Championship knows, a couple of small slip ups can have big consequences in this league.