5 EFL RABs to Look Out For

Liam Bewsher

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Burnley, Norwich & Watford to be promoted - 18/1

Following their relegations from the Premier League last season, Burnley, Norwich and Watford will be keen to bounce straight back up to the top-flight in order to retain their prize assets and avoid any unnecessary squad reshaping.

Burnley come into this campaign with a fresh look about them following the arrival of Vincent Kompany at Turf Moor and have managed to retain may important players, such as Jack Cork, Josh Brownhill, Dwight McNeil, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Ashley Barnes and Jay Rodriguez, whilst bringing in some astute signings.

The last time the Clarets were relegated to the Championship back in 2015, they managed to earn promotion as champions the following campaign (2015/16).

Meanwhile, Norwich are seemingly too good for the Championship, but not quite at Premier League standard, having won the Championship with ease in 2018/19 and 2020/21, but put up disappointing points tallies in the top-flight. Canaries manager Dean Smith was the man who took Aston Villa back to the Premier League via the play-offs in 2018/19.

Watford’s Premier League stay ended after just one season this time in what was a disappointing season at Vicarage Road. The Hornets will be desperate to repeat their 2020/21 season again when they were promoted back to the top-flight at the first time of asking. Crucially, Rob Edwards’ men have managed to retain the likes of Ismaila Sarr, Emmanuel Dennis and Joao Pedro.

Burnley

EFL RABs/Specials - 2022/23 Season

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BURNLEY, NORWICH & WATFORD TO BE PROMOTED @ 18/1

Bolton, MK Dons, Peterborough & Sheffield Wednesday to finish in top 6 - 12/1

Bolton Wanderers were one of the most in-form teams in the division come the end of last season, with Ian Evatt’s men managing to pick up 47 points from their last 24 fixtures, seeing them have the third-best form in the league over the second half of the season.

Meanwhile, MK Dons were actually top of the form table, picking up 51 points from 24 matches and will be keen to push for automatic promotion once again having missed out by just one point to Rotherham United last season.

Sheffield Wednesday were ironically second on the form table come the end of the season having accumulated 48 points from 24 matches. Having signed players such as Michael Smith and Michael Ihiekwe from Rotherham United, Darren Moore’s men will be expected to compete for promotion once again.

Recently relegated Peterborough United will be looking to earn promotion at the first time of asking following their 22nd place finish in the Championship last season. Posh showed signs of improvement under Grant McCann who is proven at this level, having won the League One title with Hull City in 2020/21.

Featured Bolton

EFL RABs/Specials - 2022/23 Season

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BOLTON, MK DONS, PETERBOROUGH & SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY TO FINISH IN TOP 6 @ 12/1

Sheffield Wednesday to win the league, Peterborough to be Promoted & Cambridge to be Relegated - 33/1

As mentioned above, Wednesday will be expected to compete for promotion and are the bookmakers’ favourites to win the division following the signings of Smith and Ihiekwe from Rotherham, as well as the acquisitions of David Stockdale, Reece James, Will Vaulks and Akin Famewo.

The Owls finished seven points shy of title winners Wigan Athletic last season and could make the step up to push for the title themselves.

Meanwhile, Peterborough were promoted from League One as recently as 2020/21 and have managed to retain the majority of their squad from the Championship whilst adding the likes of Ben Thompson, David Ajboye and Hector Kyprianou to their ranks on a permanent basis, as well as loaning in goalkeeper duo Harvey Cartwright and Lucas Bergstrom from Hull City and Chelsea.

Although they finished in 14th last season, perhaps Cambridge United could be a candidate for the relegation places having made minimal changes to their squad ahead of the upcoming campaign. The U’s saw the likes of Jack Iredale and Wes Hoolahan leave this summer, whilst adding Brandon Haunstrup of Kilmarnock, James Holden from Reading, as well as Zeno Ibsen Rossi and Saikou Janneh from Bournemouth and Bristol City.

EFL RABs/Specials - 2022/23 Season

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SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY TO WIN THE LEAGUE, PETERBOROUGH TO BE PROMOTED & CAMBRIDGE TO BE RELEGATED @ 33/1

Bradford, Salford & Stockport County each to score 70+ league goals - 13/2

Bradford City and Salford City will be hoping to have much improved seasons following numerous changes to their squads ahead of the current campaign.

The Bantams have made wholesale changes under Mark Hughes this summer, bringing in 14 players, including the likes of Richie Smallwood, Vadaine Oliver and Harry Chapman and Kian Harratt. They will be expected to compete for the play-offs and maybe even promotion this season.

Salford have also made changes to last season’s disappointing showing, replacing Gary Bowyer with promising young manager Neil Wood, who was formerly on Manchester United’s coaching staff.

The Ammies look to be making a small squad rebuild to that which underachieved last time out, mainly adding centre forward Callum Hendry of St Johnstone, as well as Stevie Mallan from Yeni Malatyaspor and proven EFL duo Ryan Leak and Elliot Watt from Burton Albion and Bradford City. Despite Bowyer’s defensive style last season, Salford managed to score 60 goals in 46 matches.

Stockport County are the bookmakers’ favourites to be champions of League Two this season following their National League triumph.

County already had a Football League standard squad in the National League with the likes of Antoni Sarcevic, Scott Quigley and Paddy Madden amongst their ranks, however, they have still persisted in adding attack-minded players such as Kyle Wootton, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans and former Fleetwood Town central midfielder Callum Camps. Stockport scored 87 in 44 matches in the National League last season.

Mark Hughes

EFL RABs/Specials - 2022/23 Season

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BRADFORD, SALFORD AND STOCKPORT COUNTY EACH TO SCORE 70+ LEAGUE GOALS @ 13/2

Stockport County to win the league, Bradford & Salford to finish in top 7 & Barrow to be relegated - 80/1

As previously mentioned, Stockport, Bradford and Salford will all be looking to earn promotion to League One in the upcoming League Two season having all invested heavily into their playing staff.

Stockport will be looking to use last season’s momentum to go all the way once again, especially after making a series of impressive summer signings to go into an already strong squad.

Meanwhile, Bradford will be looking to compete for the play-offs under experienced manager Hughes, whilst Salford will be looking to qualify for the play-offs for the first time since they entered the Football League. Following their change in management and their switch in recruitment strategies, they will feel as though now could be the time.

Barrow AFC can count themselves fortunate to have stayed in the division last season, having finished 22nd, ahead of Scunthorpe United and Oldham Athletic who were both having turbulent seasons on and off the pitch. This was actually a regression on their first campaign back in the Football League, as they only amassed 44 points, six fewer than the 2020/21 season.

The Bluebirds are the bookmakers' favourites to be relegated and having lost the likes of Matty Platt, Ollie Banks and more in the summer, they will be relying on George Ray to fill the defensive void, as well as the likes of Sam Foley to adequately replace Banks. They will be hoping that the re-signing of Richie Bennett can replenish the goals that they have lacked since Quigley’s departure to Stockport in 2021.

Stockport County National League

EFL RABs/Specials - 2022/23 Season

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STOCKPORT COUNTY TO WIN THE LEAGUE, BRADFORD & SALFORD TO FINISH IN TOP 7 & BARROW TO BE RELEGATED @ 80/1

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