Here's my stab in the dark at how each Championship team will fare this season, whilst under the influence of the belief that, those with more money than sense, leave clubs like us in the dust.
However, I vow not to be to be too pessimistic, but remain realistic at the same time, so, without further or do, let's kick this off with the first category, Champions.
Has to be Aston Villa I think. Having been recognised as a stable Premier League side for so long, it's hard to imagine that Villa will continue to drop down the ranks following their relegation, despite their unexpected 13th place finish last season. With most viewing this is an underestimation of how difficult it is to get out of the Championship, unsurprisingly, I'm sure they will be favourites to do the business this time. With Steve Bruce at the helm and his initial recruitment of heavily experienced Chelsea..erm...legend...John Terry and ex-Blackburn captain Christopher Samba, I doubt many Championship strike forces will be breaking through that back line too often. Inevitably, this would see Villa return to the Premier League based on their defensive record, not to mention their equally as effective and clinical strike force of Gabriel Agbonlahor, Rudy Gustede, Jordan Ayew and Ross McCormack who will undoubtedly tear up the second division this season between them.
Sunderland, very stereotypical and predictable, I know, but can you blame me really? Another team who've been in the Premier League for most of the last decade or so, and another who will undoubtedly be looking to make an immediate return. Despite my prediction that they won't run away with it like Villa, Sunderland should comfortably find themselves a spot in the top two, however, I can quite easily see them becoming a yoyo team for seasons to come.
The four positions where I'm sure most of our super-fans would expect to see our own side, however, this is, of course, embarrassingly optimistic. Despite not seeing us as a favourite for being relegated, at the same time, there is no way I can see us finishing inside the top ten, let alone the playoffs, especially at the first attempt anyway. Realistically speaking, I think we will see relegated Hull City, consistent high-flyers Sheffield Wednesday, big-spenders Middlesborough and the-oh-so-famous Leeds United occupy the playoff spots this year. I can also see locals Preston narrowly missing out in 7th, may I add. Despite Boro signing Britt Assombalonga, his goals alone won't be enough to see them finish in the top two. Money isn't everything...or is it?
To clarify immediately, I refuse to believe we'll go straight back down next season, let's get that out the way. I'm not denying we'll struggle, but we're better than League One, let's be honest. Besides us then, those who I can see facing the drop this year include Burton Albion, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United. Before you claim I'm bitter about Zach regarding Forest, it's not that, they were flirting with relegation last year anyway. Burton, because they're just a myth, and Sheffield United because, well, they can't hack it, they're punching, massively. All of these sides, like ourselves, are relatively cash-strapped and will struggle when coming up against the big-spenders, but I'm hoping there will be one or two shocks along the way to defy that theory, for the good of the sport.
Where will Bolton finish?
Honestly? 19th. As I said earlier, we're not going to get relegated...I hope, no, but in all seriousness, I think we've got enough fire power to remain in the division and aren't exactly defensively inept. With one of the best, if not the best defensive record in League One last season and a firing Adam Le Fondre ready to hit the ground running, I can see us scraping a position outside the bottom four, despite the serious lack of funding. To remain in the division would be massive for us, a massive confidence booster for one, for our finances secondly, and thirdly, it will also allow us to look up positively in anticipation that we can continue to build on things. We could really do with surviving, otherwise, we could be yo-yoing for a while, like the club down the road, which we could really do without.
League Top Scorer
Again for the sake of the money theory, I hope it's not Assombalonga, but it probably will be. Leeds' Chris Wood will inevitably be up there again, we may also see what Jordan Rhodes can do at Sheffield Wednesday providing he isn't a flop again. Ultimately though, I can see Wednesday's Forestieri nicking the golden boot. It certainly won't be another Billy Sharp masterclass I'm afraid Sheffield United fans, the big boys will inevitably dominate the scoring this season. Another sad season it's set to be for football, as inflated spending looks set to cancel out raw potential and previous reputable and proven goal-scorers. This new-era of spending will see those who were once the best forced out because they're price tag sadly isn't big enough for them to be first choice striker's at top clubs anymore.
Random Mad Event Prediction
On a rather more light-hearted note to finish on, Parkinson will be named as Leeds' 17th manager of the season by October, you heard it here first.