2018/19 Championship Promotion Contenders
23 July 2018, 09:24
2018/19 Championship Promotion Contenders

When looking ahead to the new Championship season and those teams which could compete for promotion, it is tempting to look immediately at the clubs who were relegated from the Premier League last season.

Indeed, one glance at the odds for the 2018/19 Championship winner reveals Stoke City as the favourites to top the table.

The Potters have lost a few players this summer, with Xherdan Shaqiri being the major departure but many Stoke City fans will not be too sad to see the Swiss International leave.  Benik Afobe has arrived from Wolverhampton Wanderers and Stoke City have also added Nigerian midfielder, Oghenekaro Etebo, who looked a very good player at the 2018 World Cup.

With much of their squad remaining together from last season, including Jack Butland, Joe Allen and Ryan Shawcross, Stoke City certainly have the quality to compete for promotion straight back to the Premier League.

West Bromwich Albion are another of the relegated Premier League teams to be fancied as promotion contenders in the Championship this season.

The Baggies have lost central defender Jonny Evans and goalkeeper Ben Foster to Premier League clubs and have replaced them with Kyle Bartley and Sam Johnstone.  Darren Moore did a great job at the club towards the end of last season and will be keen show what he can do with a full season in charge at the Hawthorns.

Swansea City were the third club to be relegated from the Premier League last season and could be the one out of the three to struggle most in the Championship.

Graham Potter has arrived from Swedish football to take control of the first team but he has no experience of managing in the Football League.  The Swans have lost some good players during the summer transfer window and the names added to the squad will not be filling fans with great confidence of winning the Championship this season.

The teams who came close to promotion last season will be hoping to push on in 2018/19 and win automatic promotion.  The two leading contenders are Aston Villa and Middlesbrough.

Aston Villa finished third last season, only to lose out in the playoff final against Fulham.  However, despite being fancied by the bookmakers as potential promotion candidates this season, Aston Villa have run into financial difficulties.

Steve Bruce has remained at the club but may be forced to sell players to balance the books, including Jack Grealish who has been linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur.  Given the way the club is being run, it would be a surprise to see Aston Villa at the top of the table come the end of the season.

That leaves the door open for Middlesbrough, who never moved higher than fourth place last season but will be hoping to build on a good campaign.  Tony Pulis will have a full preseason to get his ideas across and if nothing else, Middlesbrough will be very tough to beat next season and that makes them a genuine Championship promotion contender.