Thomas Hitzlsperger said on The Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show on talkSPORT on Friday morning (broadcast from 6am, July 1) that Aston Villa and Newcastle United will be the two teams to beat in the Championship next season.
Both Villa and Newcastle got relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2015-16 campaign.
The Villans and the Magpies are two of the biggest clubs in England, and they will be favourites to finish in the top two of the Championship next season and get automatic promotion back to the Premier League.
Former Villa midfielder Hitzlsperger hopes that the Villans bounce back straight into the Premier League.
“When I say expect to, I hope that they bounce straight back because it is tough in the Championship,” said Hitzlsperger on The Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show on talkSPORT on Friday morning (broadcast from 6am, July 1) when asked if he expects Villa to bounce straight back into the Premier League.
“It is such a tough league. I just hope the best for my former team. I want them to go up. They would be the team to beat with Newcastle next season.”
Villa have a new man in charge, Roberto Di Matteo, who has experience of managing in the Championship with West Bromwich Albion.
The Villans have signed defender Tommy Elphick from Bournemouth, and perhaps a few more players could come in as well between now and the start of the 2016-17 season.
Newcastle have also made signings in the summer transfer window, bringing in Matz Sels, Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie.
The Magpies will have former Liverpool and Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez in charge next season.