The Championship landscape encourages Burnley, Blackburn Rovers, PNE and Blackpool


Blackburn Rovers, Burnley, Preston North End and Blackpool are experiencing the full extent of their Championship challenge for 2022/23 following Nottingham Forest’s promotion to the Premier League.

The curtains have officially been drawn on the 2021/22 season as Steve Cooper’s side beat Huddersfield Town 1-0 at the showpiece at Wembley. An own goal from Levi Colwill ended Forest’s 23-year wait for Premier League football, relegating the Terries to another year in the Championship.

This means that the line-up for the 2022/23 league campaign is now complete. Burnley, Watford and Norwich City descend from the top flight with Wigan Athletic, Rotherham United and Sunderland coming from League One.

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The landscape across the division looks relatively even, or as close as it gets, ahead of the summer transfer window. There are no falling giants to skew the division. While the three Premier League relegates have a head start with parachute payments, there is a lot to sort out at each club. Norwich are perhaps best equipped to bounce back straight.

They have Dean Smith at the helm as well as a team with promotion experience. Watford have a rookie manager at this level in Rob Edwards and the same for Burnley if Vincent Kompany fills the hot seat, as expected.

Middlesbrough may be one of the early season favorites under Chris Wilder. The former Sheffield United boss needs additions but contributed to a noticeable improvement after joining the Riverside Stadium in November. Huddersfield and Luton Town are unknown quantities after overtaking massively last season. With both clubs vulnerable to the loss of key selected players, it wouldn’t be surprising if neither were challenged at the top next season.

Sheffield United are expected to be in and around the promotion conversation after their huge progress under Paul Heckingbottom. They don’t have buckets to spend on bolstering the squad and will need to replace Morgan Gibbs-White, but they do have salable assets that could help improve the current squad.

The challenge for Blackburn and Preston, in particular, is to work their way into that top six. Both clubs have busy summers ahead with the recruitment of players and a manager, in Rovers’ case. However, the race for championship promotion doesn’t look as daunting as it could. The top three teams have all been promoted and the ones that failed are not guaranteed to be as strong again.

It’s a boost for a dozen teams, all of whom will start 2022/23 thinking it might just be their year.


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