Championship 1-24 Predictions 2023/24: Can Leeds United Bounce Straight Back?

Who will win the league?
11:00, 03 Aug 2023

The Championship season is now just a matter of days away so it's time for our pre-season predictions. We’ve predicted where every team in the second tier will finish, starting at the very bottom. 

24th: Sheffield Wednesday 

Wednesday’s return to the second tier doesn’t look like it will last long. The League One play-off winners parted company with Darren Moore in favour of Xisco Munoz as Dejphon Chansiri’s turbulent ownership continues. Added to this, their summer business leaves a lot to be desired, including bringing in goal-shy Ashley Fletcher on loan. It looks like it’ll be a tough first campaign back in the Championship for the Owls. 

23rd: Queens Park Rangers

Things look in seriously bad shape for QPR, who have lurched from disaster to disaster ever since Michael Beale left. Gareth Ainsworth kept them up more by luck than judgement last term and he’s already said they will be ‘up against it’ this season. The squad featuring the likes of Ilias Chair and Chris Willock is more talented than others, but the vibe around the club is simply awful.

22nd: Huddersfield Town

Predicting a side managed by Neil Warnock to go down may seem bizarre given his immense quality, but their lack of financial might in the transfer market has hamstrung his ambitions. Also, he’s great at saving clubs, but if they are struggling come Christmas, can he really be bothered to stick around? The Terriers could struggle once again, even with Warnock. 

21st: Rotherham United

Rotherham are likely to find life tough again, but under Matt Taylor they were impressive at times last term. If he can keep what looks to be one of the weakest squads in the league up, he will have done well. With Jordan Hugill up front and Fred Onyedimna coming in to replace Chiedozie Ogbene, they might just be able to scrape over the line. 

20th: Cardiff City

New manager Erol Bulut has a lot to prove at this level and I’m not expecting a positive season for the Bluebirds. However, some smart summer business should keep them above the bottom three as Josh Bowler, Karlan Grant and Ike Ugbo have all come in, along with Aaron Ramsey. 

Ramsey is back in Wales
Ramsey is back in Wales

19th: Preston North End

Preston finished 12th last term under Ryan Lowe, but given that the league looks stronger than ever this time around, I’m expecting a hefty drop-off. Mads Frokjaer-Jensen is an intriguing addition, but other than that I’m not sure their squad has improved on last year. They will be well clear of relegation, but don’t expect fireworks at Deepdale. 

18th: Hull City

There’s been a whole lot of hype around Hull this summer that I’m simply not buying. Liam Rosenior is a promising coach and has done well in his short stint there but I don’t see a rapid progression into a top-half team. Liam Delap joins on loan from Manchester City but he didn’t set the world alight at PNE last term, and while Ruben Vinagre is a big-name arrival on loan, he is unlikely to drag them up the table. With the owners pulling back on the sizable investment of recent years, I’m expecting a season of regression for Hull. 

17th: Norwich City

Norwich are amazingly sixth favourites to win the league with Betfred, which is wildly misplaced. The mood around the club is miserable, David Wagner barely made an impact with them last term and is still in charge and their recruitment feels completely at odds with what they have done in the past. Shane Duffy, Ashley Barnes and Jack Stacey are all experienced options but the Canaries are heading down the table. With those parachute payments fading, they may not return to the top flight for a long time. 

16th: Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn came so close to finishing in the top six last term, but they look to have missed their shot at the Premier League. Ben Brereton Diaz has departed on a free, and although they retain Adam Wharton and Joe Rankin-Costello, it feels as though they aren’t as strong as they once were. Jon-Dahl Tomasson did well last term against a backdrop of frustration, but last season was an overachievement. He’s been left irritated by the changing goalposts in terms of budget this summer and the grumblings coming out of Ewood Park are not positive. 

15th: Watford

It felt like last season may have been the breaking point for Watford fans. They were sold the dream of a long-term plan under Rob Edwards last summer, but he was sacked by September. Then they had to watch as their season fell apart, while Edwards led their nearest rivals Luton Town to the Premier League. Now Valerien Ismael is in, Ismaila Sarr and Joao Pedro have left, and it’s unlikely they’ll be competitive this term. 

14th: Bristol City

Things are looking brighter for Bristol City, and Nigel Pearson should have a positive season. Jason Knight and Rob Dickie are smart, while the move to four at the back last season seemed to have made something click. The only reason they aren’t a few places higher is because of the impending exit of Alex Scott. 

Will the Robins be challenging the top six?
Will the Robins be challenging the top six?

13th: Plymouth Argyle

The opposite of Watford, it’s good vibes only at Home Park. Argyle achieved over 100 points on their way to the League One title and this summer they’ve brought Bali Mumba and Morgan Whittaker back on permanent deals. It’s all looking good for a fine season for Steven Schumacher and co. 

12th: Birmingham City

You used to always be able to predict Birmingham between 17th and 19th, but this season the grey clouds have been lifted by new owners. The summer signings have been good, with money being spent on Ethan Laird, Dion Sanderson, Lee Buchanan, Krystian Bielik and Tyler Roberts - and John Eustace could surprise a few this term. We aren’t getting carried away just yet though. 

11th: Millwall

The ones who threw their top six spot away on the final day, Gary Rowett and Millwall missed out yet again on the play-offs. Now it feels like a big ask if they are to go again, and a lot will rest on whether Zian Flemming stays or leaves. I’m not convinced they can go all the way again. 

10th: West Bromwich Albion

West Brom are seemingly heading for uncertain times financially, but in the here and now they are well set for a decent Championship campaign. Carlos Corberan is a top class manager, and they’ve made improvements in the form of Josh Maja and Jeremy Sarmiento. Added to an already strong Championship squad, they could come close. 

9th: Stoke City

Alex Neil’s Stoke have had a very good window. Wesley joins from Aston Villa, while Ben Pearson, Michael Rose and Enda Stevens should all take Stoke close to the top six. This is a big season for Neil, who will want to prove he made the right move leaving Sunderland. 

8th: Swansea City

Michael Duff. That is all. The former Barnsley boss should make a big impact in Wales and Jerry Yates looks to be a perfect fit. But it’s the new manager who should be able to take them up the table, given his immense ability. 

7th: Sunderland

If Ross Stewart stays fit, Tony Mowbray can lead the Black Cats to the play-offs again. But it's a big if. They’ve lost Amad Diallo but still retain that exciting young attack, and have added the experience and goals of Bradley Dack. He played his best stuff under Mowbray and they will go well again, but the play-offs may just escape them this time. 

Championship Odds 2023/24 with Betfred*

6th: Ipswich Town

Ipswich Town are well placed to take the Championship by storm in their first season back at this level. They were one of the best League One outfits we have ever seen and look set to continue that rapid rise, with the likes of Omari Hutchinson joining the Kieran McKenna revolution. The only worry for the Tractor Boys is losing their influential boss to a Premier League side mid-season, which could knock them off course. 

5th: Middlesbrough

Michael Carrick’s Boro narrowly lost to Coventry City in the play-off semis, having looked at one point like they would overhaul Sheffield United for second spot. It ended with disappointment, but with a full season under Carrick they will be competitive again, especially if they keep hold of Chuba Akpom. 

4th: Coventry City

Last year’s defeated play-off finalists have lost Viktor Gyokeres and could still lose Gustavo Hamer. If they keep their Dutch midfielder they can break the top six again, given their recruitment has been strong this summer. They’ve spent over £10m on Ellis Simms, Tatsuhiro Sakamoto, Milan van Ewijk and Bobby Thomas - while they could still sign Haji Wright. With Mark Robins at the helm, anything is possible. 

3rd: Leeds United

First of all, apologies for predicting the three relegated sides as the top three. But they look stronger than any other trio of relegated sides in recent years. 

Daniel Farke is in at Leeds United and despite back-to-back Championship titles, they look the most unsettled of the relegated sides. They’ve suffered several losses this summer but have managed to recruit Ethan Ampadu, while Patrick Bamford should find goals at this level. With one of the best squads at this level, and an experienced boss, they will be there or thereabouts. 

2nd: Southampton

Russell Martin should be able to produce the goods with an incredibly strong Southampton squad that just needs a bit of belief. Adam Armstrong, Nathan Tella and Che Adams are proven goalscorers while Ryan Manning is a brilliant addition at left-back. They may start slowly, but by the end of the season the Saints could be marching back to the Premier League. 

1st: Leicester City

The pre-season favourites for promotion are looking immensely strong in the second tier, but I guess that is to be expected having been FA Cup winners just two years ago. James Maddison and Harvey Barnes have left, but the Foxes still boast Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Wilfred Ndidi, Patson Daka, Harry Souttar and James Justin. If Enzo Maresca gets things right, they could storm the league, even if they might not come flying out of the blocks. 

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