Championship team by team guide as Stoke, Aston Villa, Leeds United and more battle for promotion to the Premier League

The new football season is nearly upon us and Championship teams up and down the country are preparing to get back into the action.

With plenty of new managers, new teams and promotion hopefuls, it promises to be another thrilling season in the second tier.

Stoke, West Brom and Swansea are among the teams who will be aiming for promotion to the Premier League.

Reading get the 2018/19 campaign underway when they host Derby on August 3. Can Frank Lampard win his first match as Rams manager?

Here we look at every team, their big signings and their aspirations for the season ahead.


Manager: Steve Bruce

Star Man: Jack Grealish

Big Signing: None.. so far

Title odds: 8/1

Season’s aspirations: Too soon to say what the arrival of British football’s third richest owners could produce short-term, but Bruce is a grind master in this division.

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce


Manager: Garry Monk

Star Man: Jacques Maghoma

Big Signing: None. Unofficial embargo in place

Title odds: 40/1

Season’s aspirations: Struggled for goals last season and no reason for that improving. No one signed. Isaac Vassell injured. Promotion beyond them as it stands.

Ashley Westwood and Jacques Maghoma battle for the ball
Can Jacques Maghoma (right) help Birmingham stay up this season?


Manager: Tony Mowbray

Star Man: Bradley Dack

Big Signing: Jacob Davenport

Title odds: 50/1

Season’s aspirations: They will carry momentum from promotion. Imaginative signings too. Should be clear of trouble but much more will be asking a lot.

Tony Mowbray will hope to keep newly-promoted Blackburn in the Championship


Manager: Phil Parkinson

Star Man: Probably the manager

Big Signing: Erhun Oztumer

Title odds: 100/1

Season’s aspirations: Nail-biting survival last season. The bad news is things have not got any better. Cash is still tight and another dogfight looks inevitable.

Bolton fans could do with some results to cheer about at the Macron Stadium after last season


Manager: Dean Smith

Star Man: Ollie Watkins

Big Signing: Said Benrahma

Title odds: 12/1

Season’s aspirations: The Bees are not rich enough to reject advances for their better players. But Smith is a shrewd operator. Will have more good days than bad.

Premier League clubs have been linked with Ollie Watkins, will he play there with Brentford?


Manager: Lee Johnson

Star Man: Mo Eisa

Big Signing: Adam Webster

Title odds: 33/1

Season’s aspirations: A bright start petered out after their League Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City last season. Will do well to challenge for a play-off.

Bristol City manager Lee Johnson


Manager: Frank Lampard

Star Man: Tom Lawrence

Big Signing: Jack Marriott

Title odds: 14/1

Season’s aspirations: Initial reports are Lampard’s Rams will play a high-intensity, pressing game. More signings on the horizon too. Will be in the play-off mix.

Is Frank Lampard the one to guide Derby back to the promised land?


Manager: Nigel Adkins

Star Man: Nouha Dicko

Big Signing: Reece Burke

Title odds: 33/1

Season’s aspirations: Adkins still hunting at least four new faces. If his signings in defence pay off, the Tigers will bare their teeth, but top six looks a leap too far.

Nouha Dicko’s goals will be crucial for Hull City


Manager: Paul Hurst

Star Man: Bartosz Bialkowski

Big Signing: Ellis Harrison

Title odds: 66/1

Season’s aspirations: Hurst just had great campaigns with Shrewsbury and Grimsby, but needs another – the Tractor Boys are in for another tough season.

Ipswich’s star goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski


Manager: Marcelo Bielsa

Star Man: Pablo Hernandez

Big Signing: Lewis Baker

Title odds: 10/1

Season’s aspirations: Difficult to call with new boss. Could take off… or implode. But Bielsa has a reputation for organisation. That goes a long way in this league.

Marcelo Bielsa is the latest man tasked with firing Leeds back into the Premier League


Manager: Tony Pulis

Star Man: Adama Traore

Big Signing: Aden Flint

Title odds: 8/1

Season’s aspirations: Neil Warnock showed last season what can be done with Championship know-how. Pulis has that. And better players than Cardiff did. Will be up there.

Can Tony Pulis mastermind a promotion push with Middlesbrough?


Manager: Neil Harris

Star Man: Shaun Hutchinson

Big Signing: Murray Wallace

Title odds: 33/1

Season’s aspirations: They have a plan, stick to it and it came good last season. A known quantity now, but more of the same will see them steer clear of trouble.

Millwall manager Neil Harris


Manager: Daniel Farke

Star Man: Jordan Rhodes

Big Signing: Ben Marshall

Title odds 25/1

Season’s aspirations: Have lost James Maddison and Josh Murphy to the Premier League. Very hard to replace that quality. Other clubs with better chances.

Daniel Farke has a difficult season ahead after losing key players in the transfer window


Manager: Aitor Karanka

Star Man: Ben Osborn

Big Signing: Joao Carvalho

Title odds 9/1

Season’s aspirations: Dark horses. Karanka has been allowed to re-shape the squad he inherited. He knows how to thrive in this division. Promotion candidates.

Ben Osborn (left) is a valuable asset for Nottingham Forest


Manager: Alex Neil

Star Man: Alan Browne

Big Signing: Ryan Ledson

Title odds: 25/1

Season’s aspirations: Neil preserved Simon Grayson’s competitive, athletic squad. But the league is now even more fierce. Will be doing well to match last season.

Alan Browne (left) in action for Preston North End


Manager: Steve McClaren

Star Man: Massimo Luongo

Big Signing: Toni Leistner

Title odds 50/1

Season’s aspirations: A quiet summer at Loftus Road – and that doesn’t bode well. McClaren will need all of his great skills to keep this squad clear from danger.

Is another season of mid-table mediocrity on the cards for Massimo Luongo (right) and QPR?


Manager: Paul Clement

Star Man: Liam Moore

Big Signing: Marc McNulty

Title odds: 50/1

Season’s aspirations: Big ask, stepping out of League Two, for new striker McNulty to make a big enough difference in the Championship. Royals not in running.

Losing Liam Moore would be a huge blow to Reading


Manager: Paul Warne

Star Man: Will Vaulks

Big Signing: Kyle Vassell

Title odds: 150/1

Season’s aspirations: Warne faces stiff competition to sign big enough players for small enough money. But if he can carry promotion momentum, who knows?

Paul Warne’s main aim will be to remain in the Championship following last season’s promotion


Manager: Chris Wilder

Star Man: John Fleck

Big Signing: John Egan

Title odds 20/1

Season’s aspirations: Wilder has assembled powerful defensive unit plus creative midfield talents. Lost young David Brooks to the Prem, but play-off contenders.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder


Manager: Jos Luhukay

Star Man: Barry Bannan

Big Signing: None

Title odds: 30/1

Season’s aspirations: Little impact on promotion race last season. Have not strengthened. Jury out on boss. None of that sounds good, does it? Could be a struggle.

Barry Bannan (centre) faces a difficult season ahead with Sheffield Wednesday


Manager: Gary Rowett

Star Man: Joe Allen

Big Signing: Benik Afobe

Title odds: 11/2

Season’s aspirations: Boast the strongest squad in the Championship. Will be the ones to beat. Rowett has been backed and knows he needs to deliver.

Gary Rowett has been tasked with getting Stoke back to the Premier League at the first time of asking


Manager: Graham Potter

Star Man: Jordan Ayew

Big Signing: Joel Asoro

Title odds: 11/1

Season’s aspirations: No ‘pot of gold’ to spend and look set to be hit by Alfie Mawson’s return to the top flight with Fulham. He will need replacing.


Manager: Darren Moore

Star Man: Chris Brunt

Big Signing: Sam Johnstone

Title odds: 8/1

Season’s aspirations: Moore is a rookie and the likes of Ben Foster and Jonny Evans will be missed. Youthful replacements, but quality unknown. Play-offs at best.

Will Darren Moore’s first full season in charge of West Brom end in promotion?


Manager: Paul Cook

Star Man: Will Grigg

Big Signing: Kai Naismith

Title odds: 40/1

Season’s aspirations: League One champions and thrilling FA Cup run. Have momentum, but promotion again asking too much, with so little cash for signings.

Will Grigg (centre) can light up the Championship

Odds courtesy of Betfair

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Who will win the Championship title?



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