5 Footy Accumulators Championship Specials Ahead of the 2022/23 Season

Liam Bewsher

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Middlesbrough to Finish Top 6 & Reading to be Relegated - 3/1

Middlesbrough are currently the third favourites to be promoted as champions according to the bookmakers’.

This is down to the excellent run of form that the club had under Chris Wilder following the sacking of Neil Warnock, as the former Northampton Town manager managed to win 16 and draw seven of his 33 matches in charge, seeing them miss out on the play-offs by just five points.

Boro have managed to sign the likes of Zack Steffen from Manchester City, as well as crucial defensive recruits in Darragh Lenihan and Ryan Giles (loan from Wolves), of which both of the latter were at Blackburn Rovers last season. The return of Chuba Akpom could also be of use following the expiry of Andraz Sporar’s loan contract from Sporting Lisbon.

Meanwhile, Reading are one of the favourites to be relegated following an abysmal 2021/22 campaign that would have seen them finish worse off than the likes of Derby County if they’d both started on zero points. Even though they were deducted nine points themselves, they only finished four above Peterborough United last season and have lost a number of key players this summer.

chris-wilder

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MIDDLESBROUGH TO FINISH TOP 6 & READING TO BE RELEGATED @ 3/1

Middlesbrough to finish in top 6, Sunderland to finish in top half & Rotherham to be relegated - 7/1

Boro are expected to have a good season under Wilder, especially considering last season’s form under the former Sheffield United manager, on top of the fact that he has earned five promotions across his managerial career - doing so most recently in 2018/19 with the Blades.

Sunderland will be hoping that Alex Neil can maintain his side’s positive momentum having earned promotion under the Scot in just 18 matches, seeing the Black Cats win 10 and draw seven of these. The 41-year-old has previously shown with the likes of Hamilton, Norwich City and Preston North End that he has the capability to outperform his side’s quality on the pitch.

Rotherham will be hoping for an improved Championship campaign having been relegated in each of their last three second-tier seasons (2016/17, 2018/19 and 2020/21).

Paul Warne Rotherham

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MIDDLESBROUGH TO FINISH IN TOP 6, SUNDERLAND TO FINISH IN TOP HALF & ROTHERHAM TO BE RELEGATED @ 7/1

Burnley & Middlesbrough to finish in top 6 & Birmingham to be relegated - 15/2

As previously mentioned, Middlesbrough are one of the favourites for promotion in the 2022/23 season due to their record under Wilder and the former Blades’ manager’s record of earning five promotions. On top of this, they have made some key improvements to their defence in Lenihan and Giles, as well as adding Steffen on loan from Manchester City.

Burnley will be looking to get off to the best start possible under Vincent Kompany whose ambition will be to fight for promotion having retained the likes of Josh Brownhill, Dwight McNeil, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Ashley Barnes and Jay Rodriguez.

The Clarets look to have also added well in bringing in the likes of Scott Twine from MK Dons, as well as CJ Egan-Riley, Samuel Bastien, Luke McNally, Arijanet Muric and Josh Cullen.

Birmingham fans will be fearing the worst ahead of the 2022/23 season following the exit of Lee Bowyer, as well as the lack of strong recruitments.

The Blues have a squad size of 21 players at present following the exits of Fran Villalba, Ivan Sanchez, Kristian Pederson, Ivan Sunjic, Jeremie Bela and Connal Trueman and will be hoping that the arrivals of John Ruddy, Auston Trusty, Przemslaw Placheta and Dion Sanderson can help them fight to stay in the division.

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BURNLEY & MIDDLESBROUGH TO FINISH IN TOP 6 & BIRMINGHAM TO BE RELEGATED @ 15/2

Birmingham, Reading and Rotherham to be relegated - 40/1

Birmingham will have a fight on their hands if they are to avoid relegation this season.

On top of the issues with their squad, the St Andrews’ club have also appointed an inexperienced manager at this level in John Eustace who has only ever managed Kidderminster Harriers (between 2016 and 2018).

Reading have seen the key departures of John Swift, Andy Rinomhota, Josh Laurent, Alen Halilovic, Michael Morrison and Orjan Nyland this summer, hence why fans of the Royals are fearing the worst, especially after signing Joe Lumley on loan from Middlesbrough, Jeff Hendrick from Newcastle, as well as Sam Hutchinson, Tom Ince and Shane Long on free transfers.

Despite earning promotion from League One, Rotherham also bizarrely managed to lose some of their best performers to clubs from the third-tier, as Michael Smith and Michael Ihiekwe both joined Sheffield Wednesday, whilst Freddie Ladapo signed for Ipswich Town.

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BIRMINGHAM, READING AND ROTHERHAM TO BE RELEGATED @ 40/1

Watford to be promoted, Sheffield Utd to finish in top 6, Preston to finish in top half & Birmingham and Reading to be relegated - 80/1

Watford will be eager to be promoted straight back to the Premier League as they managed in 2020/21.

Under the guidance of Rob Edwards who won the League Two title with Forest Green in his only season at the New Lawn Stadium, as well as the fact that they have managed to keep hold of attacking trio Emmanuel Dennis, Joao Pedro and Ismaila Sarr, the Hornets are expected to challenge for the league title.

Emmanuel Dennis

Sheffield United would likely have been in contention for an automatic promotion place if they had Paul Heckingbottom in charge for the whole campaign rather than starting with Slavisa Jokanovic’s disappointing tenure. The Blades won 16 and drew seven of Heckingbottom’s 30 games in charge and climbed up the table to fifth-place.

The Bramall Lane club have also made some astute signings, following the arrivals of Ciaran Clark, Anel Ahmedhodzic and Tommy Doyle.

Preston North End earned a respectable 13th place finish in the Championship last season and will be looking to improve once again followings the arrivals of Ben Woodburn, Robbie Brady and Freddie Woodman.

Under Ryan Lowe, the Lilywhites have a decent record, having won 10 and drawn nine of his 26 games in charge of the club.

Both Reading and Birmingham City will be fearing the worst following the departures of several key players from each club, and especially having inexperienced managers at this level in Paul Ince and Eustace.

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WATFORD TO BE PROMOTED, SHEFFIELD UTD TO FINISH IN TOP 6, PRESTON TO FINISH IN TOP HALF & BIRMINGHAM AND READING TO BE RELEGATED @ 80/1

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