The Championship season gets underway this week, which means the fight to stay up is upon us.
Three teams will be relegated to League One by the end of the 2022/23 campaign, but who do the bookies think is going down?
Wigan, Rotherham and Sunderland gained promotion last season, replacing Derby, Peterborough and Barnsley.
Those three and many others face a fight to survive this term and so, talkSPORT.com has assessed the relegation candidates ahead of the new campaign.
Rotherham – 6/4
Rotherham have developed a reputation as a yo-yo team in the last few years.
The Millers have either been promoted to or relegated from the Championship in the last six seasons.
And the bookies have them as favourites to be relegated again…
Paul Warne has done a fantastic job with Rotherham, and the additions of Tom Eaves and Conor Washington means they will have a threat in games, but it will be a struggle all year for the Yorkshire-based side.
Birmingham City – 13/8
Birmingham have endured a tumultuous summer with Lee Bowyer now gone and the club subject of a bizarre takeover attempt by Laurence Bassini.
The club now look set to be taken over by a totally different consortium, but there is fear around Birmingham that relegation looms.
They have an ageing squad and appear short of players in numerous positions.
Hopefully, once the club’s future is resolved, there might be some more stability, but until then, the Blues look in trouble.
Reading – 13/8
Reading didn’t enjoy the best campaign last year, and they have been predicted to struggle again.
The Royals have lost 11 senior players over the summer, including John Swift and Michael Morrison.
They have managed to bring several players in, including the returning Shane Long, but at 35, is he really capable of scoring enough goals to keep them up?
Paul Ince has plenty of experience but this could be a long campaign for Royals fans.
Wigan Athletic – 9/4
Wigan stormed League One last year and were promoted as champions.
Leam Richardson proved to be a reliable young coach who got the most from his side.
However, the transfer window has seen only one first-team player arrive for the Latics, so they will need to further strengthen their squad or risk being dragged into a relegation battle.
Certainly, as it stands, you worry that Wigan might not have enough to stay up and avoid the instant drop back into League One.
Blackpool – 10/3
Last season under Neil Critchley, Blackpool finished 16th, which was respectable given it was their first season back in the Championship.
However, Critchley has joined Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa, which has left the Seasiders in the lurch.
Michael Appleton is an able replacement, but without significant arrivals, it is hard to see how Blackpool won’t endure a tough year scrapping for points.
But if Appleton takes what he learned from his time with Lincoln, they could avoid a proper relegation battle and finish in a similar place to last season.
Bristol City – 10/3
Bristol City are usually a team associated with comfortably staying up, but the bookies can see them struggling.
After finishing 17th last season and 19th the year before, it appears many feel the Robins’ time is coming.
They have lost Kasey Palmer and Callum O’Dowda this summer, but Kal Naismith arriving from Luton is a big boost.
Ultimately, they should have enough to avoid the drop but anything above 16th would probably have to be considered a success.
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