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2018-19 Sky Bet Championship Season Preview: The Road to the Promised Land

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At the end of the EFL season, it was Fulham who took that gigantic step back into the Promised Land and with that all the riches that comes with it. A few weeks later and it is back, the football season is back. After the World Cup and all the hype surrounding it, regular football is back and this season is set to be one of the greatest.

Managers all around the EFL began plotting life in the Football League. In the Championship, the landscape has pretty much changed with the arrival of Marco Bielsa as the new Leeds Manager. His reputation goes before him as one of the games most heralded managers and with that comes his extravagant formations and tactics. It will be very interesting to see how Leeds fare this season and they have shown their mettle by signing Barry Douglas from Wolves followed by the signing of Patrick Bamford from Middlesbrough.

Aston Villa are another team who are favourites for promotion but with FFP rules somewhat scuppering the plans and also interest in Jack Grealish, it could have a huge bearing on where Villa finish this season. It looked like this season would start of badly as it was widely reported that the clubs new owners would look to get rid of Steve Bruce but those rumours were quashed, so now Steve Bruce can look forward to the new season.

Of all the relegated teams coming down you can look no further than Stoke City. They have made some impressive signings include Benik Afobe, Tom Ince, James McLean. Add those names alongside players such as Peter Crouch, Joe Allen, Darren Fletcher and you could say that they look well positioned to handle the rigours of the Championship. Gary Rowett, who took over in the Summer is a manager who has experience at Championship level and is tasked with securing a return back to the Premier League.

Along with Stoke City, Swansea City and West Brom are just two other teams who are favourites to reach the Premier League. Both Swansea and West Brom have strengthened over the summer, the most significant one comes at Swansea as Graham Potter took over as manager and surely this is his time to show what he can do in the footballing world. Over at West Brom, Darren Moore has a full season to somehow steer West Brom through the rigours of a Sky Bet Championship season.

There is, however, one team who could be seriously impress this season and that is Derby County. Frank Lampard is the new man at the helm and with him comes Jody Morris who have both had successful careers with Chelsea and now bid to carry that on into management level. They’ve signed the likes of Mason Mount and Harry Wilson whilst keeping hold of experienced players such as Curtis Davies, Joe Ledley and Matej Vydra. It could turn out to be a great season for Derby County.

Along with Derby, their rivals, Nottingham Forest are a sure bet to be in the running for the promotion places after significantly strengthening their squad during the close season.

At the other end, it could be a long old season for Birmingham City. After narrowingly escaping relegation last season, is this the season where they push for promotion or will they finally give in and sink down to League One. All shall be revealed during the season.

The Sky Bet Championship is one of the most richest leagues in the land and all eyes will be on the league once again as teams bid to be the ones who will reach the promise land of the Premier League.

In League One, it’s set to be an interesting season. Sunderland are playing in League One for the first time in their recent history. After the pain of two relegations in two seasons, can Sunderland take a step on their route back to the big time. After having signed the likes of Charlie Wyke, Luke O’Nien and Jack Baldwin, it’s a signal that Sunderland are having to adjust to their new surroundings very quickly.

You also have the likes of Portsmouth, Plymouth, Bradford, Luton Town and Barnsley who will all be bidding to reach the Sky Bet Championship.

It’s often said that League One rivals Sky Bet Championship as one of the most entertaining leagues in the country and on probability, that can be seen as true given the amount of big teams who reside in League One.

League Two, it’s the end of the EFL pyramid and also is the league where teams battle to avoid the dreaded trap door into the National League. Who, is likely to impress and who is likely to go down?

Lincoln City along with Exeter, who were beaten in the League Two play off final will be looking for redemption this season. Both of these sides have the quality to gain promotion but then you also have the likes of Cheltenham Town, Newport County and Notts County all bidding for promotion.

Tranmere and Macclesfield, who have both returned to the Football League are likely to be favourites to return to the National League so they will be fighting tooth and nail to stay in the Football League.

All in all, it’s set to be a mouthwatering season and it’s one that will surely throw up a few surprises too.

On your mark, get set, GO. The journey to the promise land has begun.

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