Managerial Predictions for the 2015/16 Championship Campaignby Jack Kitson / 24 July 2015, 10:42Tweet
Excitement is reaching fever pitch ahead of the 2015/16 season, which is now just two weeks away (!!!). Each of England's top-four leagues kick-off on the same weekend, meaning there is a bucket load of action to look forward to.
As always the Championship promises to be an engrossing affair, at both ends of the table, while the league is infamous for the frequent comings-and-goings in the dugout. With this in mind The Sack Race has had its take on the new campaign, by conjuring up three managerial predictions.
Agree? Disagree? Leave your comments at the foot of the article.
Title Winning Manager: Aitor Karanka (Middlesbrough)
Derby County, who infamously choked in the crunch closing stages of the previous campaign, have been installed as the bookmakers' favourites - 6/1 with Paddy Power - to bounce back in style by winning the Championship title. The Rams orchestrated a change in the dugout during the summer, axing Steve McClaren, and bringing in Paul Clement as his replacement.
Clement arrives in the Midlands on the back of a successful couple of years working as Carlo Ancelotti's assistant at Real Madrid, during which he helped win the club their tenth Champions League trophy. But, while Clement has buckets of coaching experience, the managerial arena is a completely different kettle of fish, as numerous coaches have discovered in the part.
With this in mind, we are instead backing Middlesbrough and their boss Aitor Karanka to finish at the summit of the second-tier. It's always difficult to predict who will win promotion out of this immensely competitive league, but Boro will feel like they have as good a chance as any of the 24 teams.
Boro agonisingly lost out on promotion to the Premier League last season after suffering a play-off final defeat to Norwich. The north-east club will be determined to out that grave disappointing behind them, and they've already showcased their intent by luring Stewart Downing back to the club, while they've secured an exciting acquisition in Uruguayan striker Christian Stuani, who enjoyed a cracking campaign with Espanyol last season, bagging 15 La Liga goals.
If Boro enjoy a strong start to the 2015/16 season then Aranka's troops will put themselves in a decent position to challenge for promotion once again, and they can currently be found at 11/4 (Bet Victor) to return to the top-flight, while they're priced at 13/2 (Bet365) to win the league.
Outside Bet: Kenny Jackett (Wolves) @ 18/1 (Coral) to win the league
The Dark Horse: Steve Cotterill (Bristol City)
Back-to-back promotions, from League One up to the Premier League, is certainly not uncommon. In recent times this impressive feat has been achieved by both Norwich City and Southampton, while both Brentford and Wolves enjoyed cracking campaigns last term.
The three newly promoted teams in the Championship this season are League One champions Bristol City, along with MK Dons and Preston. The Robins were simply superb last year, storming to the third-tier title with an impressive haul of 99 points; a whopping 30 more points than 6th-placed Chesterfield.
We are backing Steve Cotterill's troops, who employ an attractive brand of attacking football, to carry over the momentum into 2015/16 and light up the Championship, providing they add a few more players to their ranks.
Bristol City can currently be priced at 15/2 to win promotion up the Premier League for the first time in their history, while they are out at 25/1 to stun the other 23 teams by hoisting the Championship tite.
Outside Bet: Simon Grayson (Preston) @ 16/1 (Coral) to win promotion
First Manager To Depart: Uwe Rosler (Leeds United)
(The odds on this market aren't yet available, but make sure to keep checking the Championship Sack Race page for all the latest information.)
Given the chairman's reputation it is difficult not to propel Leeds into the spotlight once again. The controversial Massimo Cellino has already blitzed through four managers during his time at Elland Road - and let's not the forget the 36 managers he chomped through at former club Cagliari - including three gaffers last term.
Cellino's treatment of the popular Neil Redfearn was both unnecessarily and unacceptable, with the Italain labelling the 50-year-old as "weak" and "behaving like a baby". The Whites have since appointed Uwe Rosler as their new boss, however, with Cellino pulling the strings it's difficult to see the German lasting long in the dugout, especially if the Yorkshire club stumble out of the blocks in August.
Outsider: Chris Ramsey (QPR)