Sky Bet Championship 2016/17 season kick-off

As we approach the big EFL kick-off, we preview every Sky Bet Championship club, including their transfer news and fan opinion.
From huge title favourites Newcastle to newly promoted Burton Albion, we've got every base covered.***
Click on the links below to read individual season previews*for each team...
Aston Villa

It's been a summer of change at Villa Park - can Roberto Di Matteo put smiles back on faces?
"Last season, Villa's players felt the weight of the shirt, but not the importance of it. They didn't respect the badge enough. I'm worried nothing will change."

Ollie's Championship table

Ian Holloway predicts the Championship table


Paul Heckingbottom's side went from bottom of the league to promotion in six months - how far can they go this year?*
"I think most people's expectations this season will be to stay up. However, this squad is capable of achieving great things as shown last season."

Ollie's opening weekend predictions

Defeat for Villa, a shock win for Burton

Birmingham City

City have finished 10th in their last two seasons - can Gary Rowett take the club to the next level?
"They're a club going in the right direction, but they may just lack the financial muscle to compete with the top*six."
Blackburn Rovers

Owen Coyle starts his reign as Rovers boss - can he bring the good times back?
"It's a tough division this year and Rovers will do well to keep themselves out of trouble in mid-table."

Dean Smith's men finished with a rattle last season to end up in 9th - can they maintain that form?
"We've signed some quality in the summer and although on paper we're a mid-table team, I quietly think we are going to surprise a few people."


Chris Hughton's men ended last season with play-off heartbreak - will they go one better?
"Anything in the top six would be excellent again as the Sky Bet Championship gets tougher every year. A little less heartbreak than last season would also be nice."

Bristol City

Lee Johnson reportedly has said City could be in the*Europa League in the next seven seasons - is that realistic?
"I can see the club making great strides this season. City's new stadium could do wonders for their home form."
Burton Albion

It's been a rapid rise for the former non-league side - do they have enough to survive?
"Few expect Burton to do more than return to League One, but the same was true last season when the Brewers took on the third tier for the first time - and look what happened."

Cardiff City

Paul Trollope is tasked with the job of leading the Bluebirds to promotion - have they the quality to compete?
"The Bluebirds should be confident about securing a play-off place this season but the quality of teams coming down from the Premier League means automatic will be a big ask."
Derby County

The Rams made the play-offs last season but lost out once again - is Nigel Pearson the man to take them up?
"Let's hope that Pearson's legendary temper holds and he can help the players find enough mental toughness to turn the stylish football we know they're capable of into the dozen or*so*extra points required."


Slavisa Jokanovic's men have lost both Moussa Dembele and Ross McCormack - are they in for a season of struggle?
"Fulham's problem is that they've got a lot of overpaid experience and too many youth players."
Huddersfield Town

Town chairman*Dean Hoyle has invested heavily in the summer - are they the league's dark horse?*
"Aaron Mooy*looks the real deal in pre-season, and if he can bring his form from Melbourne City and Australia then he will have a key role to play."

Ipswich Town

There's been a lack of transfer activity at Portman Road - can Mick McCarthy continue to keep them moving forward?
"The burden of responsibility could lie with the younger players - Andre Dozzell and Teddy Bishop - but it's unrealistic to expect them to carry the team."

Championship top scorer?

Ross McCormack? Dwight Gayle? Steven Fletcher?

Leeds United

Garry Monk is the new man in at Elland Road - will owner Massimo Cellino*allow him to do his job?
"These are my dark horses for the season. Well done, Mr Cellino - you've made your best-ever signing in Garry Monk."
Newcastle United

Few expected him to stick around, but Rafa Benitez has - how will they cope with the massive expectation?*
"They have the biggest budget, arguably the biggest fanbase and the most experienced and illustrious manager ever to have graced the Championship."

How are Newcastle shaping up?

What will Newcastle's starting XI be?

Norwich City

Alex Neil led*Norwich to the Premier League in 2015 - can he do it again?
"Alex Neil*will have*learned a lot last season and Norwich will get stronger. If they find a goalscorer they could easily go up automatically."
Nottingham Forest

Forest have finished 8th,*11th,*14th and*16th in recent years - can new boss*Philippe Montanier turn the tide?
"I think most Forest fans would be happy to see decent football with a bit of flair return to the City Ground. Anything else is a bonus."
Preston North End

Simon Grayson got Preston punching above their weight last season - more of the same this campaign?
"Without the financial muscle that most of the clubs in the Championship possess, it would be unfair to automatically expect another top half finish this season."

QPR have tightened their budget this summer - do they possess enough firepower to make a play for promotion?
"I'm not entirely sure about the QPR squad yet. Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink is the right man for the job but they haven't replaced Charlie Austin yet."


The Royals have made a big name appointment in Jaap Stam - can he hit the ground running?
"It's hard to predict how Stam will cope with the Championship - his reputation got him the job. He fell out with Sir Alex Ferguson once, so he should be good to watch."

Alan Stubbs has taken over from Neil Warnock, who worked miracles last season - what impact will he have?*
"Our chairman Tony Stewart is a great guy, with a real go ahead attitude. His expectation is certainly to stay up this year and then get to the Premier League within three."
Sheffield Wednesday

Wednesday fans had a season to remember last year that ended in Wembley defeat - is this their year?
"They'll have to deal with more expectation, but I can see them growing as a football club."

Steven Fletcher has joined Sheffield Wednesday

Wigan Athletic

The League One champions will want to make their mark back*in the Championship - can Wigan challenge?
"The club has ambitions to return to the Premier League, and there's no reason they can't do it under Gary Caldwell."
Wolverhampton Wanderers*

A new era is underway at Molineux - with Walter Zenga in charge, can Wolves surge up the table?
"Expect the unexpected. This is a club that's just appointed Walter Zenga. Nobody knows what's going to happen next but after a dull period in which apathy reigned at Molineux, there's an appetite for something - anything - new."*