Sky Sports pundit Don Goodman predicts a relegation struggle for Leeds United but joy for Derby County.
As the new Football League season kicks-off tomorrow, every football pundit and journalist in the country is voicing their views on how they expect the new season to play out over the course of the next 10 months, and Sky Sports pundit Don Goodman is no different.
According to his latest blog on Sky Sports’ website, he expects Wigan and Derby to grab the top two positions, but predicts doom and gloom for the likes of Blackpool, Leeds and Charlton.
Here are his Championship predictions:
Winner: Wigan Athletic
Runner-up: Derby County
Play-offs: Watford, Cardiff, Bournemouth, Wolves
Relegation: Blackpool, Leeds United and Charlton Athletic
Top scorer: Chris Martin [Derby]
Player to watch: James McArthur [Wigan]
Young gun: Will Hughes [Derby]
The prediction for the top two seems to be a popular one among pundits in the Championship, especially as both had such strong endings to last season.
The Rams, who lost out on promotion in the play-off final, are expected to have another successful season as Steve McClaren is set for his first full season in Championship football. The former Middlesbrough boss was a revelation last season when he guided a stuttering Derby side from 14th position in the league to the nose-bleed heights of third. Equipped with pretty much the same squad that was so successful last season, it is quite frankly no surprise that they’re being tipped for promotion this term.
Wigan enjoyed a really strong end to the season which saw them gatecrash the play-off places, however, they were unfortunately knocked out by Queens Park Rangers who later went on to win promotion. It was Uwe Rosler’s first taste of Championship football and with the success he had, he will be hungry for more.
Goodman, however, predicted doom and gloom for three of the more established Championship clubs and it’s fair to say that his reasoning behind his picks, although not given, are fairly obvious – but is he right?
Leeds United, who finished lower mid-table last season, have brought in players that, for the most part, will take time to gel and settle in. However, as proven with Watford two seasons ago, if the foreign talents, such as Bianchi and Doukara, can adapt to life in the Championship then they potentially become a dark horse for promotion, not relegation. Nevertheless, until the new signings prove they can adapt to life in the Championship people will have their doubts.
The former Wolves striker has also tipped Charlton Athletic and Blackpool for relegation which, once again, is perfectly understandable. Blackpool have thrown a side together in a couple of weeks and will unquestionably have to wait for them to gel, whilst Charlton have lost their Player of the Year in Diego Poyet and had a poor end to the season.
Both clubs are far from doomed as they have got the potential in the squad to surprise a few pundits, similar to Burnley last season. The Clarets, who were tipped for relegation following Charlie Austin’s exit last season, stormed the division and finished second only to Leicester, however, well clear of Derby County in third place.