"© IFCS - David Baumgartner – Tony Pulis" (CC BY 2.0) by ifcs_media
All three of the sides that came down from the Premier League this past season have appointed up-and-coming managers in their bid to bounce straight back out of the Championship in 2018/19.
West Bromwich Albion shows signs of spirit and resurgent form under caretaker boss Darren Moore, but the Baggies ultimately axed Alan Pardew from The Hawthorns hot seat too late. Moore has got the gig full-time, however, while across the Midlands at Stoke City a second approach for Gary Rowett – one that crucially came during the close season – proved successful.
Swansea City agreed terms with Graham Potter, another fortysomething manager with ambitions after his memorable journey in Swedish football with Ostersunds. The Swans, West Brom and Potters are three of the four market principals in the Championship promotion betting online at Mr Green.
Old dogs and new tricks
Stoke are narrow favourites from the Baggies at 2/1 and 5/2 respectively, while joining Swansea as 3/1 chances are Middlesbrough – a team managed by a boss at the other end of the spectrum. It’s a decade now since Tony Pulis took the Potters into the Premier League and he’ll be tasked with doing the same at The Riverside during his first full season in charge.
“Steve Bruce” by Struway (Public Domain)
Another elder statesman of Championship coaching is Steve Bruce, who may or may not keep his post at Aston Villa depending on how the finances are. Losing to Fulham in May’s play-off final could have cost the once Premier League mainstays dear as they prepare for a third consecutive campaign outside the top-flight.
Complying with Financial Fair Play is an issue for the Villans this summer, on top of an unpaid tax bill of around £4,000,000 to HMRC. Bruce’s brilliant promotion record of four from the second tier – two apiece with Birmingham City and Hull City – may keep him in the Villa Park dugout. If not, then it’s unlikely he’ll be out of work for long.
It’s 5/1 bar Villa, West Brom, Boro, Stoke and Swansea in the
Championship promotion betting who are all expected to make the top six. A minimum of three will miss out on going up automatically, while managers young and old must be wary of a surprise package getting into the mix.
What lies ahead?
Neither Cardiff City last season nor Huddersfield Town the campaign before were fancied for promotion before a ball was kicked, yet they surprised everyone and are now the sole Premier League representatives for their respective regions of Wales and Yorkshire.
There are issues for all the main candidates in the Championship to address. Where Villa’s are financial, the Potters, Baggies and Swans all face rebuilding jobs under new management.
Rowett, Potter and Moore must decide alongside their respective boards who is worth cashing in on and can anyone be talked into staying? West Brom have already lost captain Jonny Evans to Leicester City and Stoke’s Swiss star Xherdan Shaqiri and goalie Jack Butland look sure to be snapped up by Premier League clubs.
Whether it’s the old dogs Bruce and Pulis, this new breed or some surprise package that gets out of the Championship, chances are it’ll be the team with the greatest resources and that can keep hold of their key players.