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The Championship: The teams that will be staving off relegation

Thursday 29th June 2017
The Championship is perhaps the hardest league to predict. England's second tier has a mischevious way of throwing up surprises, both at the top and at the bottom. Yet, we've had a go, nonetheless  - we took a look at who could be fighting for promotion, now let's take a look at who could be fighting for survival.

Bolton Wanderers 

Phil Parkinson steadied the ship and set it back on course last season. He orchestrated an admirable campaign, culminating in Bolton's promotion. Whilst life would have been clearly tough in League One, it is about to get a whole deal tougher. The Championship is increasingly getting better - the millions of the Premier League are beginning to trickle down and clubs boast enviable transfer kitties and talented squads.  Wanderers' will do well to retain Championship status next season with their limited budget and mediocre squad.

Burton Albion

Albion avoided relegation by one point last season, but never really looked like being sent to League One. Burton's was a curious case of looking vulnerable to the drop, yet also appearing to be safe - it was an odd one, but Nigel Clough will be looking to expel any doubt next season. Burton needs to be shrewd in the transfer market and bring in competent players: a difficult task given their inferior transfer budget.

Hull City

For all Leonid Slutsky's vast experience of coaching at the top level, managing Hull in the Championship will perhaps be his most challenging task to date. Hull are in a mess - a sinking hole that was temporarily paved over by the brilliance of Marco Silva. Slutsky needs to act fast if he is to bring in the players necessary to even keep the Tigers afloat, let alone engineer a promotion push. This is likely to be another anxious chapter in the tumultuous Hull City story.

Ipswich Town

Mick McCarthy's side has been the archetypal mediocre Championship side in the last few season. Town has failed to mount any serious promotion push, falling in the playoff semi-finals once, and are in danger of slipping into deceiving comfort. It is this comfort that breeds complacency and the Championship is a harsh world when it comes to a relaxed approach.


Their playoff final victory was marred by ugly scenes of fans invading the pitch, leading to star striker Steve Morrison's claim that they had ruined his day. Millwall was typically aggressive last season and this physicality is likely to serve them well in the Championship, but this only gets one so far. This is a league that is the breeding ground for innovate tactical approaches and a Millwall side predicated on the one-dimensional game plan that worked in League One could easily be caught out.

Nottingham Forest

A nail-biting final day victory mean Forest avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth last time out. Mark Warburton's side was a loss away from life in League One; it was clear to see why - their defence was a shambles last season, conceding 72 goals, fewer only to Rotherham. It was only their surprisingly potent attack, which produced 62 goals, that ensured their safety. A rebalance must be organised and Warburton's main priority must be to fix the woeful defending that hamstrung Forest last season.


Robbie Stockdale has taken temporary charge of the Black Cats as they look for a more permanent solution. That they have no resolved this situation just a month before the season is due to start is indicative of the chaos that ensues at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland has made no signings, despite cashing in on Jordan Pickford for £30 million. The Black Cats' squad was nowhere near good enough for the Premier League and it is nowhere good enough for a promotion push. In fact, if they want to simply retain Championship status they will still need to recruit and recruit fast. Sunderland is in perilous terrain and need a competent manager to navigate their way out of it.
Michael Jones

Football & political writer with a predictable love of everything retro. English Literature undergraduate at the University of Exeter, looking to pursue a career in sports journalism. For a collection of my work, visit. http://mikejonesmedia.wordpress.com

Follow me on twitter: @jonesmichael_97

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