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Championship season preview

Wednesday 31st July 2013
As the 2013/14 Championship season draws ever closer,  Mark Lawrence takes a look at each of the teams to see who he thinks is a serious contention for a chance at the big time.

Barnsley

A good run of form toward the end of last season saw the Tykes stay up for another year and if they can now bring in a couple of decent signings, like M'Voto, then they can challenge for mid table and have a say on the top end of the table.

Birmingham City

Money problems have scared the Blues and after their failure to establish themselves last year, many fans were left disappointed. However this year they have made some steps forward, for example, Shane Ferguson on loan from Newcastle United could well be a key player if he plays to his full potential.

Blackburn Rovers

Last season it was more about how many managers Rovers had gone through, rather than how many points they had. In Jordan Rhodes they have a goal machine and if they can add the missing ingredient of stability then they could launch a good push for a play off place.

Blackpool

Keeping Tom Ince was a big thing for Blackpool and if they can keep hold of him for the whole season, along with Matt Philips, they could be a decent force as the two youngsters get better and better. A solid defence also bodes well for the Seasiders but I'm not sure they will be able to claim a place in the top six.

Bolton Wanderers

Very much like Blackpool, I think they will miss out of a play off place this year. But with Marvin Sordell and now Jermaine Beckford, I would be surprised if they weren't very close to making the cut.

AFC Bournemouth

Narrowly missing out on becoming Champions of League One last year was tough for Bournemouth but they have a good squad. I think they will avoid relegation, but only just and they will get outclassed by some of the better players in the league and get beaten heavily by some of the most organised teams. They will have to scrap and scrape but they will manage it.

Brighton and Hove Albion

Very good squad and were unlucky in some ways not to get promoted last year. Craig Mackail-Smith is a big player for them and they will have to make sure that they can keep him firing. Matthew Upson has also joined this season and he will add some experience and grit that could make them more solid at the back. A play off place should be in line.

Burnley

If they manage to keep hold of Charlie Austin then they will be fine and should finishe mid table. I just worry about them if they do end up losing him as he is such a class finisher that would be sorely missed if he jumped ship.

Charlton Athletic

Second season in a row for the London club and they will be looking to build on last season's decent effort. I think they will improve, but not by much.

Derby County

A solid Championship side but I don't think that Derby will be setting the league alight next season. Some very strong players but just are lacking that little bit of quality in certain areas that would make me think a play off push would be on the cards.

Doncaster Rovers

Champions on the last day of the League One season in the most dramatic fashion saw Doncaster back into the Championship after a short wait. However, I can't see them staying up for long and would be lucky to survive this season.

Huddersfield Town

Huddersfield will do better than they did last season after bringing in Jonathan Stead, Paterson and Hammill but they won't be able to challenge many of the better teams for a chance of promotion. However, they are still building and look to be going in the right direction.

Ipswich Town

Another team that finished the season with scintillating form but couldn't quite do enough to force their way into the play offs. This year will be much different and I think that they will be close but will just miss out.

Leeds United

Brian McDermott knows how to get out of this league and how to build a team that is good enough to. However, I'm just not sure that the squad is capable enough. McCormack isn't the 20+ goal striker that Leeds really need, and neither is Hunt. However, with Lees and Byram they have got some decent full backs, which should help then to finish around a solid 8th.

Leicester City

The Foxes will be looking for promotion after narrowly missing out on the play offs last year. With Nugent and Wood up front, they should be a force to be reckoned with and could launch another strong campaign.

Middlesbrough

I think this season will be a low finish for Middlesbrough with not much going on at the club over the summer compared to some of their rival. If they hit some bad form and slide down the table, it might even be a hard season for them to stay up.

Millwall

Can't see anything more than mid-table for Millwall despite some astute signings. A club moving in the right direction but will take time to launch a serious challenge.

Nottingham Forest

Will be looking to make a strong showing for the top six after missing out again last year. Got some definite quality in the squad, however, it looks like a stronger league than last year so it might be a disappointing season for some Forest fans.

Queens Park Rangers

If they can keep Remy and some other top names then you can't look past them after the money they have spent. A big wage bill has been culled a little and they know that if they don't bounce straight back up then they could be in trouble. Expecting them to be up and about there all season.

Reading

I think anything but a top six finish will again be a disappointment for Reading. A very strong squad with some Premiership quality means that they should be up there. Adkins knows how to get out of this league too and with signings such as Wayne Bridge and Royston Drenthe, it looks like a promising season.

Sheffield Wednesday

After avoiding relegation last year, Wednesday will be hoping they can now push on, but I am not so sure. Antonio is a class player but I don't know how long he can keep carrying the team pretty much every week. It will be a tough season for the Owls.

Watford

If Watford fail to make the top six then it would be an huge surprise. A very decent summer of signings and they will now look to push on from last season's desperate disappointment. Some very strong sides this year but this is definitely in the top three strongest.

Wigan Athletic

With all the teams in the league making lots of signings, little Wigan are just going about their business and making sure that they do everything they need to do such as keep hold of key players. They are a very close knit squad, tight and organised which makes them a impressive unit. I think they will do well next year.

Yeovil Town

Can't see much of a push anywhere past 18th for Yeovil but it will be interesting to see how they go about their season and if they can be a wild card and cause some upsets.

Do you agree with Mark's analysis of the Championship for next season? Either way let us know on twitter @RoundandWhite or comment on the article to make your views known!
Mark Lawrence
Blog about football when I have something interesting to say. Support Reading FC for better or worse (usually worse).

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