5. Leeds can challenge for promotion under Brian McDermott
The long wait to get back in the top flight could soon be over for Leeds fans if debut scorer Luke Murphy and former Reading forward Noel Hunt can develop a partnership up front. Brian McDermott is just the kind of stabilising influence the West Yorkshire club needs after years of upheaval and the 5/1 about them going up this year is worth a second look.
4. New Millwall boss Steve Lomas’ new signings have to gel quickly
An opening day home defeat to promoted Yeovil Town is a setback after the former St Johnstone manager brought in players with proven Championship experience in the form of former Manchester United trainee Lee Martin and striker Scott McDonald from Middlesbrough. The return of forward Steve Morison was a popular move with Lions fans, but as Lomas noted after the game the new strikers have to start taking their chances or relegation odds of 11/4 will start to plummet.
3. Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth gamble could pay off
Many eyebrows were raised last October when then Burnley manager Howe dropped down a division to take over at Bournemouth, less than two years after leaving the south coast club for Lancashire. After an impressive promotion campaign last year and a winning start this season against Charlton the 7/1 about the Cherries going up again does not seem so fanciful.
2. The relegated teams could be too good for this division
QPR, Reading and Wigan all impressed on the opening day to varying degrees, with Owen Coyle’s new charges looking particularly strong in their 4-0 win at Barnsley. Of the three they are the best value to go straight back up at 11/4 while QPR have a lot of quality left in their ranks and are worthy favourites at 5/1 to top the league.
1. Middlesbrough could be in trouble unless they bring in some new players
Boro’ manager Tony Mowbray admitted after Saturday’s 2-1 home loss against Leicester that he is frustrated by the lack of transfer activity at the Riverside this summer. The former Celtic boss is under pressure to gain promotion this year at odds of 10/1, but the 9/1 about them dropping into League 1 next season looks more likely at the moment.