Ryan Dilks: My Championship relegation candidates.

The new Championship season has crept up on us and the excitement is becoming too much to deal with!

The most unpredictable league in the world is bound to throw plenty at us between now and May, so trying to guess how it’s going to end up before a ball is even kicked is always tricky.

Having said that, I’ve got a few teams who I have penciled in for a potential relegation battle this season…

Rotherham United

The Millers have the bizarre statistic that they’ve finished in either the top 4 of League One or the bottom 4 of the Championship for the past 10 years.

Unfortunately, I struggle to see that changing in the next year.

They blitzed League One for the first three quarters of last season before a worrying drop-off which nearly cost them an automatic spot – not ideal heading into a new league.

Their business over the summer has been questionable to say the least – captain and best defender Michael Ihiekwe has left, along with top goalscorer Michael Smith.

Cameron Humphreys and Jamie McCart replace the former, but neither have played at this level before.

Tom Eaves and Conor Washington come in place of Smith, however neither have managed a double-figure goal tally in their past Championship campaigns.

Paul Warne is a good manager but his record in the second tier doesn’t bring encouragement – he’s been relegated three times on the trot with Rotherham.

Rotherham to be relegated @ 7/5

Paul Ince Reading 2022

Reading

The Royals avoided relegation last season because of points deductions elsewhere, but I’m finding it difficult to see them repeating it.

Their strong midfield – John Swift, Josh Laurent and Andy Rinomhota – has been key to any success they’ve had from the past couple of seasons yet the trio have all now departed.

Swift, in particular, got them out of jail on so many occasions that it’s worrying to think where they would be without him, and we’ll soon find out.

Star-striker Lucas Joao will be crucial for any hope they have of staying up, but even he’s been linked with moves away. And Reading may have to accept due to their financial situation.

They also conceded 87 goals last season, which is the third worst record in Championship history – it will take more than ex-Sheffield Wednesday defender Sam Hutchinson to clean that up.

Add in the fact that Paul Ince doesn’t have the most convincing of managerial records, it looks like it’ll be a long, hard season.

Reading to be relegated @ 33/20

Cardiff City

This is more of a wildcard than a guaranteed relegation contender, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Bluebirds have another uncomfortable season.

They were dragged away from the bottom 3 in the last campaign after a brilliant January of recruitment – including the likes of Tommy Doyle and Cody Drameh – but neither have since returned though.

It’s also been a summer of upheaval at the Cardiff City stadium; several players have left who have been key to their fortunes over the past few years.

12 fresh faces have come in through the door, but it could take a while for all of them to gel.

I’m not totally convinced about the quality of them either – Romaine Sawyers, Andy Rinomhota and Cedric Kipre are undeniably solid signings – the others are unproven at this level.

In Steve Morison, they have a manager who’s trying to change the style of play and he has a lot of support from the Cardiff fans and boardroom.

He’s still inexperienced and shown naivety on occasions, though.

Cardiff City to be relegated @ 13/2


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Author: Paula Bryant