FOOTBALL LEAGUE boff Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) shares his thoughts on the Relegation market ahead of the 2018/19 Championship season.
WLB Season Preview 2018/19 | Championship: Relegation
Only seven promoted League One clubs have suffered immediate relegation back down to the third-tier across the past 13 Championship seasons and there’s enough evidence to suggest Wigan, Blackburn and Rotherham could consolidate in their first campaign back at this level.
Rotherham have been chalked up as 5/4 (William Hill) favourites having returned to the Championship at the first time of asking via the play-offs.
The squad lacks experience of second-tier football but after questioning the appointment of club legend Paul Warne 12 months ago, I believe his stewardship, and the spirit surrounding the Millers, could give them a fighting chance of survival. Either way, there’s little to appeal in pre-season prices.
Bolton (11/8 Betfred)
Bolton (11/8 Betfred) survived by the skin of their teeth last season and in a more competitive division this time around, the Trotters time could be up.
Phil Parkinson worked wonders to keep Wanderers afloat with a rigid, defensive-first approach to the division in 2017/18 but they’re an ageing bunch that lack pace in both boxes. A similarly functional and direct style seems likely with Clayton Donaldson arriving, although the addition of Erhun Oztumer is intriguing.
On the surface of it, the pint-sized playmaker doesn’t appear suitable to Bolton’s system on paper and the more likely source for invention will come from out wide where Yanic Wildschut and Sammy Ameobi offer direct threats from the flanks. Outside of the aforementioned four, there’s little inspiration.
Finances remain severely restricted around the Macron Stadium and pre-season was disrupted by players going on strike, which also saw friendlies cancelled. There’s a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the Trotters and Parkinson could easily be persuaded to jump ship should a viable alternative arise having received unfair criticism from fans for his side's style.
The 11/8 is a little too skinny for a season-long selection so instead snaffle the 5/1 (William Hill) on Wanderers propping up the division in rock-bottom.
Hull (5/1 BetVictor)
Having backed Hull to suffer relegation last season at a handsome price, there’s a little animosity towards the Tigers for their final-third improvement under Nigel Adkins. The Humbersiders always boasted a squad strong enough to consolidate but the upheaval of Premier League relegation can take time to conquer.
Parachute payments might still be incoming to the KCOM Stadium and with Mr Positive (Adkins) still in the hot-seat, supporters could be convinced that grey skies are now behind the club. However, reality bites and Hull appear in a delicate state heading into the 2018/19 campaign.
From last season’s first-choice XI, Allan McGregor, Michael Dawson, Sebastien Larsson, David Meyler, Abel Hernandez, Ola Aina, Harry Wilson, Michael Hector and Max Clark have all departed to name just a few. It’s been a tumultuous summer and three of City’s four defenders from last term haven’t returned from Chelsea on-loan.
Hot-shot Jarrod Bowen continues to be courted, while Kamil Grosicki has been searching for the exit for well over a year now. Reece Burke and Eric Lichaj should provide a slice of defensive stability but Hull’s squad looks worryingly thin and a campaign battling for survival looms.
Take the 5/1 from BetVictor on the Tigers taking the plunge.
2018/19 Championship – Bolton to finish bottom (5/1 William Hill)
2018/19 Championship – Hull to be relegated (5/1 BetVictor)