As always the Championship is going to be as competitive as ever this season, with a whole host of clubs vying for promotion to the Promised Land. The unpredictable nature of the league means virtually anything can happen and there will inevitably be a few surprises in store. Last season Reading recovered from a dodgy start to storm back and win the title after a stunning second-half of the season, while Southampton recorded their second promotion in a row to take second spot. On the other hand the hotly tipped Leicester City, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough all failed to make the play-offs.
This season's promotion favourites’ will all be looking to get off to the perfect start in August in order to mark out their intentions for the season. New Wolves manager Stale Solbakken has been charged with leading an instant return to the Premier League but faces a tricky match away to Leeds on the opening day of the season, followed by games at home to Barnsley and Derby. The Norwegian manager has been priced as the 8/1 joint favourite with Stan James to claim the first Championship Manager if the Month award in his very first season managing in England.
Bolton boss Owen Coyle is also available at 8/1, with the 46-year-old aiming to guide his side back into the top flight following their relegation last season. Bolton kick things off with a trip to Burnley on August 18th, with matches at home to Derby and Nottingham Forest completing their August fixture list. Middlesbrough gaffer Tony Mowbray is next in the running at 10/1. Boro enjoyed a decent start to the 2011/12 season but couldn’t keep it up and eventually finished five points off the play-offs.
Elsewhere both Birmingham City’s Lee Clark and Blackpool boss Ian Holloway have been handed odds of 11/1, with Steve Kean is priced at 12/1. Kean endured a torrid 2011/12 with Blackburn Rovers, which ultimately ended in relegation. However, the Scot has the full backing of owners Venky’s but will need to get the fans on his side in order to have any chance of finishing in the top six.
Leicester City have been installed as the narrow 15/8 favourites to win the Championship and boss Nigel Pearson can be backed at 16/1 to get off his side off to a flying start and claim the Manager of the Month award for August. The Foxes started the 2011/12 campaign as favourites but endured a difficult season, eventually finishing in ninth. Supporters will be hoping for some much improved performances this campaign in order to end the long wait to get back amongst England’s top clubs.
Championship Manager of the Month Odd For August
Odds supplied by Steve Kean