The Championship this year is a strong league with a huge percentage of teams fancying their chances of winning promotion to the promise land that is the Premier League.
My favourites for promotion are Leicester City who have been bankrolled heavily by the Thailand company King Powers, and with Sven Goran Eriksson at the helm he has already used his status in the game to bring in players from abroad. Already adding Neil Danns, Lee Peltier, Kasper Schmichel, Sean St Ledger and David Nugent, the club have used their financial muscle to beat of competition from arguably bigger clubs.
Of the three relegated teams I believe West Ham have the best chance of bouncing back straight away. The shrewd appointment of Sam Allardyce has given many people the belief that they won't be in the second tier for too long. Abdoulaye Faye and Kevin Nolan are fantastic additions with Premier League aspirations. The club will obviously have to sell some of their players on high wages in Carlton Cole and Scott Parker, however with Allardyce at the helm the club will be there or there abouts.
Nigel Pearson did a terrific job at Leicester in returning them to the second tier of English football, and after a year consoldating himself at Hull City this is the year I feel Hull will kick on with a promotion bid. After signing no less then three players from his former club Pearson obviously now has got the players he wants in the team. And with money to spend and a strike force of Matty Fryatt and Aaron McClean there will be goals.
Nigel Atkins down a terrific job with Southampton, and he'll be hoping to copy the likes of Leicester and Norwich City over the past two years who have been promoted and then more then challenged for back-to-back promotions. The club is full of young English talent and the club are well finaced after years of trouble in that context, and with the right signings I feel Southampton are the best of the three promoted teams to challenge, despite the likes of Brighton and Peterborough having strong sides and spending well.
Chris Hughton inherits a Birmingham side that is likely to be picked apart by the Premier League voltures due to the clubs relegation from the Premier League. The one worry again is the lack of goals which cost them so dearly in their the unsuccesful bid to survive, and the addition of Marlon King for me isn't going to change that. Hughton will hopefully be given a good percentage of the money made from probable sales and bring it new faces.
The recent trend of the League one clubs being succesful in the Championship will definately be extended this year with the three promoted teams arguably the best collectively they've been. And I feel Gus Poyet's Brighton will sneak into the final play-off spot. The additions of Craig Mackail-Smith and Will Buckley will give them an extra attacking dimension, and if Brighton were to add a couple of defensive additions I see now reason why they can't make the play-offs.
8th- Nottingham Forest
9th- Leeds United
10th- Ipswich Town