Now just a few mere days from our opening 2018/19 Championship fixture away to West Bromwich Albion, I’d better have a wild guess at how things are going to pan out both for Bolton Wanderers and mainly, the rest of the league.
Derby County. A huge gamble admittedly, however, the superiority that Derby will have in the Championship this season is undeniable. Despite it being Frank Lampard’s first shot at management, the quality which the Rams have on the field should carry them over the line and breeze to a Premier League return at the end of it all with some silverware under their belt.
I’m tied here between Stoke and West Brom but I think Stoke might edge it. I’ve always thought recently that West Brom’s welcomed stay in the Premier League was outstayed and I can’t see them being particularly outstanding this coming season a division down. I can see them becoming a typical middle table team however, at the first time of asking you have to think they'll make a good go of it but I can't help but think it won’t be enough.
Stoke however are virtually in pole position to bounce back having retained such strength in their squad and with their lengthy Premier League pedigree standing them in good stead, you have to feel that financial capabilities probably had a fairly large bearing and impact on their final position last season. I therefore can't see them being anything other than huge contenders to go straight back up.
Again, you'd have to think the usuals, the regular’s, whatever you want to call them, will be there abouts. Your Middlesborough’s, Villa’s, Preston’s I’m sure will all be in prime position to be eyeing up the top six as they have been consistently over the last few seasons respectively. The likes of Leeds United may also scrape a play-off place if their lucky with some good business so far this window, as I’m sure will Swansea be again, pretty much by default, as a Premier League casualty.
Despite the usual shocks, there’s a few who you can't realistically think will be anywhere other than the bottom three come April/May. Rotherham United I’m sure will be one whilst happily volunteering Wigan as another with the other being a usual last game of the season dogfight for survival between about four teams which no doubt, one of them will be us but remains to be seen. If I had to give a solid third relegation candidate though, I’d probably say Reading with QPR a close fourth.
Where will Bolton finish?
As I mentioned in the previous category, this season inevitably won’t make pleasant reading given our pre-season struggles and our nearest of near misses last season, I’m sure we won’t be far away from the danger zone but I’m going to say 19th, same as what I said last season. My prediction differed slightly on our most recent podcast but I wasn't far off last season so I’ll go with that again.
League Top Scorer
Again, its a category for the regulars, Afobe, Assombalonga and so on, Bamford may come good at Leeds but could just as easily flop so I’m sure it'll be a one or two horse race for the golden boot but as I say, I think it’ll probably be Benik Afobe.
Mad Random Event Prediction
Leeds to sack their manager next we...oh wait that wouldn’t be that mad, erm, how about Gary Madine to return on loan on Friday and score to beat West Brom on Saturday and we go on to make the playoff’s, anyone? No? I’ll see myself out...