Queens Park Rangers star Joey Barton predicts Championship top three

Former Manchester City and Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton does not back Leeds United to regain promotion to the Premier League.

Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton knows all about the Championship. After all, just last season he was featuring in that division.

Having helped QPR gain promotion back to the Premier League at the end of the 2013-14 campaign, the former Manchester City midfielder can now look forward to playing in the English top flight.

But the 31-year-old still has an eye on the Championship and has picked his favourites to finish in the top three this season.

Writing on his official website, Barton claimed that Derby County will win the Championship, with Wigan Athletic and Nottingham Forest to fight for the second and final automatic promotion spot.

Derby are unlucky not to be in the Premier League this season as the Rams reached the Championship playoff final at London’s Wembley Stadium in 2013-14 but lost it 1-0, thanks to a 90th-minute goal from Bobby Zamora.

Leeds United are one of the biggest clubs of England, but they have been in the Championship for a while now. And it seems that Barton, who also played for Newcastle United in his career, does not expect that to change this season.

Despite a new owner at the helm (Massimo Cellino), the Whites are not one of the favourites to achieve promotion, as they have sold star player Ross McCormack and in Dave Hockaday have a manager who had been in charge of just one club (Forest Green Rovers) prior to his appointment at Elland Road.

However, the Championship is one of the most competitive domestic leagues in entire Europe and anything can happen.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch