Championship season begins this week, which means the fight to stay upright is upon us.
Three teams will be relegated to Ligue 1 by the end of the 2022/23 campaign, but who do the bookmakers think is falling?
Wigan, Rotherham and Sunderland were promoted last season, replacing Derby, Peterborough and Barnsley.
These three and many more must fight to survive this term and so talkSPORT.com has assessed the relegation candidates ahead of the new campaign.
Rotherham – 6/4
Rotherham have earned a reputation as a yo-yo team in recent years.
The Millers have been promoted or relegated from the Championship for the past six seasons.
And the bookies have them as favorites to be relegated again…
Paul Warne has done a fantastic job with Rotherham, and the additions of Tom Eaves and Conor Washington mean they will be a threat in games, but it will be a year-round struggle for the Yorkshire-based side.
City of Birmingham – 8/13
Birmingham have endured a tumultuous summer with Lee Bowyer now gone and the club the subject of a bizarre takeover bid by Laurence Bassini.
The club now look set to be taken over by an entirely different consortium, but there are fears around Birmingham that relegation is looming.
They have an aging squad and lack players in many positions.
Hopefully once the club’s future is resolved there may be more stability, but until then the Blues look to be struggling.
Reading – 8/13
Reading didn’t have the best campaign last year, and they are expected to struggle further.
The Royals lost 11 senior players over the summer, including John Swift and Michael Morrison.
They managed to bring in several players, including the returning Shane Long, but at 35, is he really capable of scoring enough goals to keep them going?
Paul Ince has plenty of experience but it could be a long campaign for Royals fans.
Wigan Athletic – 9/4
Wigan stormed into League One last year and were promoted to champions.
Leam Richardson proved to be a reliable young manager who got the most out of his team.
However, the transfer window has only seen one first-team player arrive for the Latics, so they will need to further strengthen their squad or risk being dragged into a relegation battle.
Admittedly, as things stand, you fear Wigan won’t have enough to stay on their feet and avoid an instant return to Ligue 1.
Last season under Neil Critchley, Blackpool finished 16th which was respectable considering it was their first season in the Championship.
However, Critchley joined Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa which left the Seasiders stranded.
Michael Appleton is a capable substitute, but without significant arrivals it’s hard to see how Blackpool won’t endure a tough year to earn points.
But if Appleton takes what he learned from his time with Lincoln, they could avoid a real relegation battle and finish in a similar place to last season.
City of Bristol – 10/3
Bristol City are usually a team associated with staying comfortably on their feet, but bookies can see them struggling.
After finishing 17th last season and 19th the year before, it seems many believe the Robins’ time is approaching.
They lost Kasey Palmer and Callum O’Dowda in the summer, but Kal Naismith from Luton is a big boost.
In the end, they should have enough to avoid the drop, but anything past 16 should probably be considered a success.
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