The Championship is always a hotly contested division because promotion to the top flight means so much, not just financially, but regarding club stature too.
With so much to gain, you often see Championship club owners investing heavily during the transfer windows in an attempt to make their dreams become a reality as soon as possible.
It’s been no different this summer and after seven games, who’s looking good?
First of all, money really can’t buy you success. Neither can a quality squad and one of the most sought-after managers in the division, just look at Aston Villa, they’re currently languishing in 18th.
Birmingham did a lot of late business and had Harry Redknapp in the dugout, but they also find themselves at the wrong end of the table in 23rd. Many would suggest that these teams will improve due to it only being the early stages of the campaign, but rivals are already pressing ahead.
With only seven games played, the league is tight, and anyone from 13th upwards could find themselves in the top six at the end of the weekend’s games. The current top four have been very impressive so far and deserve all of the credit that they’ve been getting.
The real question is, can these early pace-setters sustain this early form or will we see it tail off as the season progresses?
Although Leeds lost their first game over the weekend, they are still currently at the top of the league. Thomas Christiansen’s men have done themselves proud so far and have only conceded one league goal since the opening day. You would expect them to be strongly involved in a promotion battle come to the end of the season due to the quality in their squad and their very impressive play style.
Cardiff were the dark horses for a lot of people before the campaign kicked off, especially with Neil Warnock at the helm. He is working his magic once again, and The Bluebirds have only lost one game so far this season. They’ll more than likely be in and around the top six at the business end, but their lack of squad depth could be a factor, especially if key men get injured.
Last season’s League One champions, Sheffield United, are taking to the Championship like a duck to water this season already. Chris Wilder’s men have turned in some superb results so far, and with five wins from eight, they look like the real deal. That’s in spite of their 1-0 loss to Norwich City. Again, like Cardiff, their downfall could be the lack of strength in depth at Wilder’s disposal which may see them come up short but who knows what could happen if they keep everyone fit.
Wolves have looked good too, especially after changing manager a few times over the last couple of seasons. They’ve also seen an influx of new players arrive, with big names like Ruben Neves now plying their trade at Molineux. Many were of the opinion that it would take time to come together for Wolves and Nuno but they’re already on the right track. With their spending power and with Jorge Mendes’ contacts, they could well stay the course for a top six finish.
It’s doubtful that the current top four or top six even will be that when the season ends. This season is bound to be tightly contested, and Sportingbet football have Wolves, Leeds and Cardiff best placed for promotion. It’s tough for teams to sustain imperious form over 46 games but those up there right now are heading in the right direction. You’d expect strong sides like Fulham, Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough to have a say in promotion proceedings too; and can Villa and Birmingham continue to be this bad over the next 39 games?