The football season is almost upon us and I for one cannot wait. I used to think I knew a lot about football, then Leicester City won the league. Nevertheless, I am going to have a shot at predicting what will occur over the forthcoming SkyBet Championship season, one which I hope will end happily for Bolton Wanderers in spite of the odds being stacked against them:
I’ve never been a fan of them but I can’t see past Middlesbrough this season to bounce straight back as league winners. When you are able to blow over £30 million on strikers as a Championship side you know you are on to a winner. Boro tried to buy promotion when they signed Jordan Rhodes two years ago and succeeded. I think the purchases of Assombalonga, Braithwaite and Fletcher will have the same effect without doubt.
For me, this is a toss-up between Sunderland and Derby. The Mackems have bought well with the likes of James Vaughan and Aiden McGeady signing on and I feel they have one of the strongest squads in the division. Likewise Derby have so many good players in their team it is madness that they haven’t already got promoted. While I think this could well be the year the Rams’ lavish spending pays dividends through the Play Offs, I think it will be a good year for the North-East and Sunderland will join Boro automatically.
As previously mentioned, Derby will finish in 3rd with Fulham, Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday joining them. I expect Aston Villa and Hull to miss out, which some may find surprising, simply because they don’t have strength in depth. Villa’s first team is very impressive but once you take out their spine they don’t have good enough reinforcements. Hull still need to strengthen and could really struggle this season if they don’t.
Despite the signing of Liam Boyce who I think could do well, I think Burton Albion are certainties for the drop simply because they have the weakest team. To join them I back Barnsley for similar reasoning and also Sheffield United. Whether I truly believe this will happen or not doesn’t matter, I’d just love to see Billy Sharp’s smirk wiped from his face (but I’m not bitter).
Where will Bolton finish
Call me optimistic but I can see us finishing around mid-table this year. I know that most of my fellow writers fear that we are doomed but I think we have a great manager who can get the most out of our squad. The signings of Buckley and Armstrong really impress me and I think we can compete defensively too. Thus I expect us to be anywhere from 12th to 16th.
League Top Scorer
This is a difficult one because I think it’s between 3 players. Assombalonga can easily be up there but he isn’t as consistent as a £15 million striker should be. The other two, Rhodes and Jonathan Kodjia, are more regular goal scorers but don’t play for teams with the same calibre of player. Nevertheless, I back Rhodes to rediscover his lost form at Wednesday and finish the season on top of the scoring charts.
Mad Random Event Prediction
Gary Madine to score twice in the opening game and show Chris Wood what it is to be a true target man. The other mad event that I want to see is Boro’s three big money strikers to all get injured at the same time. How funny would that be?