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Ian Holloway names the Championship side to go up, the dark horses, and those in the mix

The new English Football League season is underway and with there just one opening game fixture remaining to be played, we’ve checked out Ian Holloway’s recent predictions.

Whilst talking to Sportsmail, he named the Championship side he thought will go up, the dark horses and those who should be in the mix.


He said, as quoted in the Daily Mail: “I felt Bielsa staying at Leeds and them having him for another season makes them favourites. Selling Jack Clarke and then loaning him back was a stroke of genius. They made some brilliant signings too. Can they do it as favourites this time? Last year they weren’t. This year they are.

“That shirt weighs heavily enough anyway. I have faith in Bielsa, his history and what he does and how he does it. It’s theirs to lose.

“But I think it is going to be the toughest challenge anyone trying to get out of the Championship has had.”



Holloway said: “I think there’s 18 teams.

“There will be chairmen saying: ‘I’ve spent so I want first or second’. Clubs will have expectations – those bought by foreign owners.

“Nottingham Forest – what do you think their expectation is going to be? Sheffield Wednesday – what will their expectations be?

“There are some massive, massive clubs carrying some huge baggage. Someone always comes out of the pack that you weren’t expecting anything of. It’s going to be the toughest challenge for anybody to get into the top six, let alone get automatic promotion.”



He said: “I’m going to throw Luton in the mix with a brand new manager. They’ve lost a few of their influential full-backs but it’s Graeme’s first job so it’ll be interesting to see how they do.

“Then you’ve got Barnsley, who play a magnificent way and they’ve just got promoted. Momentum is vital.

“They wouldn’t be the first club to go from that division to the top flight. You cannot count out momentum. But are they going to be strong enough? I’m really interested to see how they do.”



“How will Middlesbrough do with a new manager who is just going to cut his teeth this year? It’s a bit like Derby did with Frank last year. Boro have given it to Jonathan Woodgate.

“They’re a massive club, massive expectation and it’s his first job. Yes, he’s got Robbie Keane with him, but that’s fascinating for me with all my experience to see how the young lads will do. I can’t wait for it!”



“You can’t bet against Neil Warnock. Cardiff fought off lots of challenges to go up automatically alongside Wolves.

“You can’t count any of those teams out. That is why it is so good and why it is such a challenge.

“There’s a club that didn’t do that well last season – Reading – and they have just signed Charlie Adam. I can’t wait to see how they go.

“Bristol City, I look at them closely, are they going to lose Adam Webster in this battle of the centre halves? They’ve lost enough good players to sink a battleship in the last few years. But they keep going on.”


Why not check out the Championship table FourFourTwo predicting in their season preview by clicking HERE.

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