July 2021
The new Championship season is around the corner and our EFL pundit and co-host of podcast 'There Is a Floodlight That Never Goes Out', Tom shares his 21/22 season preview, with his 1-24 predictions.

Derby County- Wayne Rooney has a thankless job with the Rams, and I don’t see him lasting at Pride Park beyond October. With, using common sense, Derby having only around 14 first-team players, with two of them being ‘Goalies there is no doubt they will fall into the Third tier in my eyes. Not to mention the complete lack of a Centre-Half. The only reason they will not prop up the Division is the little bit of magic they possess in Louie Sibley & Kamil Jozwiak plus the possible Winter return of Krystian Bielik. Time to face up to reality, Rams, and unfortunately for those of a ‘Dorbeh’ persuasion, that means impending relegation.
Prediction: 24th.

Fulham- I really like the appointment of Marco Silva. A manager who is tactically astute and knows how to get the best out of continental players. They have all the right ingredients to storm the league with Harrison Reed, Aleksandr Mitrovic,, Ivan Cavaleiro, Harry Wilson & Joe Bryan just to name some of their stars leading the charge. I back them to blow many teams away. My only concern is if they don’t start well, but even then the squad they have surely has too much for this League? Either way I back the Cottagers.
Prediction: 1st

Huddersfield Town- Carlos Corberan is a student of ‘El Loco’, Marcelo Bielsa, with his relentless pressing game and yet has built an ageing Terriers side with a seeming inability to press. Jordan Rhodes, Ollie Turton & Matty Pearson are absolutely shocking signings, not to mention that they probably have the worst Goalkeeping roster in the league with Lee Nicholls and Ryan Schofield. The only shining light for the Terriers is their young lads, and Levi Colwill excites me for certain- a central defender with class. As does Josh Koroma who is far too good for the Terriers, and will undoubtedly play in the Premier League in my view. Time to start preparing the ‘Welcome to League One Huddersfield Town’ banners for the train station.
Prediction: 22nd

Hull City- Grant McCann is actually quite a decent League One manager, but just not quite up to the Championship standard in the view of my red tinted spectacles. The summer signings for ‘Ull provide me with a distinct sense of dread for their upcoming season, George Moncur, Randell Williams & Andy Cannon are bad signings. With the not-affectionately labelled ‘Crab-Man’ George Moncur being a particularly porous addition. Mallik Wilks & Keane Lewis-Potter may provide some spark for The Tigers but a defence which consists of largely League One level full-backs (Lewis Coyle, Josh Emmanuel & Callum Elder) and no Championship level centre-backs will concede goals for fun. In the spirit of fairness I have to mention how good George Honeyman was last season but losing his partner in crime Regan Slater will be a big loss. Sorry Hull fans, but this is the reality of the Championship.
Prediction: 23rd.

Luton Town- Nathan Jones, I salute you sir. What a job the Welshman has done since returning to Kenilworth Road, and this next season I can really see the Hatters having a lot of fun. Luton’s forward line is really exciting, with Cameron Jerome, Admiral Muskwe, Elijah Adebayo, Harry Cornick & Carlos Mendes-Gomes set to make a few Champ defenders look silly. This isn’t even a ‘hipster’ prediction- Luton’s recruitment has actually been very good. In ‘Moneyball’ Peter Brand describes the recruitment process as buying runs in Baseball- and effectively thus, Wins. Luton are doing exactly that with their signings, Henri Lansbury, Allan Campbell, Cameron Jerome, Carlos Mendes-Gomes & Admiral Muskwe will score you goals and win you games. I’d be very excited if I was a Luton fan right now.
Prediction: 4th

Middlesborough- Neil Warnock, I love that man so much. He’s the promotion specialist but I sneakily suspect yet another promotion will evade his grasp this term as his Boro side don’t have quite enough in the tank. Uche Ikpeazu is such a Warnock player and I think the Summer signing will bag a hatful. Warnock merely lacks a magician, a Michael Tonge, an Adel Tarrabt, a Junior Hoilett. Secure in the Top half.
Prediction: 11th

Millwall- Gary Rowett has built a Lions side that now looks as if it finds it impossible to drop beneath 16th and yet not finish higher than 8th. Odd. Jed Wallace and Jake Cooper are as always two Blue-Chip players in this league. Only the lack of a reliable goalscorer such as a Woodrow or a Solanke will prevent ‘Millll’ from finishing Top 6. Another good season for Rowett’s men.
Prediction: 9th

Nottingham Forest- Chris Hughton is an outstanding manager in this league, but he doesn’t have a ‘Hughton team’. By that I mean his NFFC side isn’t the finished article, with only the two Joe’s, Worrall & Lolley being archetypal Hughton players. But I do back them to be a very good team in patches and Brennan Johnson really excites me- he’s a bloody magician. In a nod to a track from the Beatles’ white album, I shall refer to him as Bungalow Brennan from now on. A solid, nonetheless underwhelming season for the two-time European champs.
Prediction: 10th

Read Part 1: AFC Bournemouth > Coventry City

Read Part 3: Peterborough United > West Bromwich Albion
The new Championship season is around the corner and our EFL pundit and co-host of podcast 'There Is a Floodlight That Never Goes Out', Tom shares his 21/22 season preview, with his 1-24 predictions.

AFC Bournemouth - Whilst it’s an appointment that has been bashed in the media- Scott Parker does seem to be a good fit for Bournemouth. I like the football Parker plays and I certainly think the Cherries can push on this season. Dom Solanke to improve once more, Ben Pearson to eat up Championship midfielders and David Brooks to be his usual maverick self. The Cherries will push hard for Top 2 but fall just short.
Prediction: 3rd

Markus Schopp is a bit of an unknown to 22 managers in this league isn’t he. Only Valerien Ismael knows what to expect. A variation of ‘Struber-Ball’ and ‘Ismael-Ball’ seems to be coming to Grove Street and I for one am excited. Now of course the losses of Alex Mowatt & Daryl Dike will be felt but I feel as if we’ve replaced well whilst also having the quality in the squad to succeed them anyway. To start with the Mowatt replacement job- Josh Benson is a class addition from Burnley and appears to have class in abundance. And with Herbie Kane to step out of the shadows, Callum Styles to step into the middle, Romal Palmer stepping up the consistency, with Big Aapo still doing the business when called upon and who knows- Marcel Ritzmaier possibly just stepping up to the gauntlet, the Reds’ midfield could be even stronger. And despite the fact Dike & Chaplin have left Oakwell, I actually think the Forward line has indeed improved, Aaron Leya Iseka, Obbi Oulare & Devante Cole are class additions and I’m really excited about Leya Iseka in particular- with the Belgian having rumoured to have commanded a fee that smashed the Georgi Hristov/Mike Sheron transfer record. Cartlon Morris is the ‘Tarn Thierry Henry’ and for me is one of the best players in the league- not very often have I seen a player at Oakwell who is as exciting as he. Cauley Woodrow the new skipper gets better and better, and at this club I have to applaud his loyalty, something we very rarely see nowadays- what a boy. Dom Frieser and Clarke Oduor are both very useful assets in the attack too with the former never stopping running & the latter being somewhat mercurial. Defence wise our central defence is rather impeccable, Helik, Andersen, Sibbick, Moon, Kitching & Sraha, it could be impregnable at times. Cal Brittain and Jordan Williams as wing-backs also really excite me. The only thing I worry about is over-playing in our own half but I trust this set of lads and I truly believe we’re one of the 6 best teams in the League again this season.
Prediction: 6th

Birmingham City- Lee Bowyer is such an average manager I can neither praise nor berate him. Brum’s business has flattered to deceive for me this Summer, and the additions of Jordan Graham, Tahith Chong & Ryan Woods just to name a few don’t inspire me. Another tawdry season of nothingness for the Blues, with the odd goal from the Juke keeping them well clear of safety.

Blackburn Rovers- Put simply Tony Mowbray should’ve been given his P45 at the end of May. The failure to do so from the Venky’s , places Rovers in a precarious position & with the inevitable loss of Adam Armstrong and the Bradley Dark-shaped void continuing for another season, the ‘Burn’ in the words of Liam Gallagher in 95’, will struggle. A scrap for survival beckons.
Prediction: 19th

Blackpool- There’s a few reasons that Blackpool will survive but the main one, is the Neil Critchley factor. He is an outstanding Coach at this level who without doubt will achieve great things within the game. Other factors for me include, Kenny Dougall being majestic, Jerry Yates scoring goals & Chris Maxwell stopping them going in. Survival would be a success for the Seasiders and despite it probably being a long-hard struggle, they will achieve just that.
Prediction: 20th

Bristol City- Nigel Pearson still hasn’t got the right minerals in this squad that he so vitally needed following last term’s shambolic home form. The Only positive for the Robins is that certain young players such as Tyreeq Bakinson will continue to improve, but other than that a poor season ahead. I’ll put my neck on the line here and say that by Christmas Pearson will have left Ashton Gate.
Prediction: 18th

Cardiff City- Big Mick to get the Barnsley Schopp early on. By that pun I mean that Mick McCarthy will barely survive ’til Xmas with Cardiff languishing in the bottom Half before another gaffer has a slight resurgence with the Bluebirds taking them up to a respectable twelfth. Kieffer to bag a few less than he did last season in a side that desperately needed reinforcements but couldn’t afford them. The young ’uns are going to be relied on heavily.
Prediction: 12th

Coventry City- Mark Robins has done an outstanding job with Cov. I back him to build on the back of last season with a respectable 15th in their first season back at the Ricoh in the Champ in 9 years. The loss of Leo Ostigard is the only reason why the Sky Blues don’t quite crack the top half but I still really like them as a team. McFadzean, O’Hare & Godden is a brilliant core.
Prediction: 15th

Read Part 2: Derby County > Nottingham Forest

Read Part 3: Peterborough United > West Bromwich Albion