Will Jones says… Watford champions, Sunderland 14th
This seems very much a league of three thirds. A top tier of teams who have not long been down from the Premier League in the most part, a bottom tier of teams who are either punching above their weight, just come up, or in a mess off the pitch.
I believe that the top is going to be strong, but this year is about being safe, settled and getting a core team on permanent deals so we can build on it in years to come.
As it stands, there is a huge month ahead in the window where this could all change, I see us destined for a season of mid-table mediocrity (finally).
I am very excited for the future, and as long as we stay up comfortably, I think we can all be happy.
Bomber says… Watford champions, Sunderland 14th
Year on year it becomes more difficult to predict how the Championship table will look. It’s SO stacked with big, former Premier League teams now taking up more than half of the table.
Teams dropping out of the Premier League are always thereabouts, and this season, we have two of the biggest yo-yo teams in recent memory in Norwich and Watford. Burnley have lost a lot of talent from their squad, and while I don’t think they will struggle as such, I don’t think they’ll be going back up either.
The likes of Huddersfield, Middlesbrough and Sheffield United will be kicking around the playoffs again, then it just depends on whether teams such as Coventry, QPR and Blackburn can kick on.
As for us, it would be easy, while still riding the crest of the Wembley wave, to go overboard and suggest a comfortable top-half finish and a push for playoffs. While not impossible, it is highly improbable, and I always like to lash my colours to the “realistic” side of predicting SAFC outcomes.
In the 23 years, I’ve been a Sunderland supporter no season has been without life-shortening stress and drama. Barring a couple of glorious seasons under Peter Reid, we have always been fighting to stay in a division, or fighting to get out of one. So for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century, something different is going to happen, something that we can just enjoy, relax and repair our frayed nerves…. Marvellous Mid-table Obscurity!
There is enough in our squad (and enough poor teams in the division) to go through a season winning as many as we lose at this level, nicking a point from the jaws of defeat and throwing away two from the cusp of victory.
Don’t get me wrong, it is somehow a top half/playoff push I’m all for putting my emotions through the wringer again! Wouldn’t it be nice for spring to have sprung in 2023 and us not to be worrying about a relegation scrap! To that end, I predict a solid first season back in the second tier for the lads as one of the leaders of the bottom half of the table – comfortably clear of relegation and a solid platform to build a charge on the top half the following season.
Martin Wanless says… Norwich champions, Sunderland 13th
I’ve played it safe with my predictions for the automatic spots, as I think Norwich and Watford are playing the ‘yo-yo’ card pretty well and benefiting from parachute payments.
In truth, it’s virtually impossible to predict, as there are a whole host of teams capable of putting runs together and others who can go into freefall.
As for us, I did something for a Huddersfield pod a couple of weeks ago and predicted us to finish tenth. That was, of course, in the expectation we’d have made another 2-3 first team signings by now. At the time of writing, we haven’t – although I still fully expect us to do so – right now, I’d say we’ll finish around 13th, and I’d be quite content with that.
Jack Howe-Gingall says… Norwich champions, Sunderland 10th
The Championship is always a difficult one to predict, but I’ve gone for a top 6 comprising of all three relegated Premier League sides, though with perennial yo-yo men Norwich taking the title. I think they largely have the same side as last season and that should set them in good stead. I think Sheffield United will push them, with the signings of Anel Ahmedhodžić and Tommy Doyle providing real quality.
I’m possibly being a little optimistic with our own finish, but I think if we can continue our transfer business as we have done so far, we will have created a team that might raise a few eyebrows. Ross Stewart’s ability to step up will be crucial, and I believe that will determine where we end up come the season’s conclusion.
Matty Foster says… Norwich champions, Sunderland 16th
As I realised last season, predicting the table is almost like picking the winning lottery numbers. I managed a grand total of one side in the right place!
But this is my attempt, with Burnley the only relegated side to miss out on a top-six place.
I can see Chris Wilder weaving his magic with Boro and achieving his fifth promotion as manager.
Millwall are my wildcard to sneak into the play-offs, as they have finished the last three seasons in the top half and I’m predicting they can build upon their ninth-placed finish last season.
As for Sunderland, I haven’t a clue how it’s going to go. But I’ve said from the moment the Loch Ness Drogba sealed our return to the Championship, I’d take finishing anywhere that avoids an immediate return to the murky depths of League One.
I’m going lower than the rest, with a 16th place finish for Alex Neil’s lads.
Malc Dugdale says… Watford champions, Sunderland 11th
I’ve agreed in the main with the lads in a number of places, but a few of the main teams are in different positions for me, while still in the top ten.
I think with the team and the gaffer the Boro have got, they will get either first or second place and an auto spot, and Watford have to be up there to match them.
While Norwich will be strong from coming down, I think they will make the playoffs and may go up that way, but I think their yo-yo may have a slightly longer string this season than the last few, and I don’t think they will go back up at the first time of asking. As a resident of the East Midlands, I hope that is true, as it’s a decent away day for me, and a good night out too with the exiles around the middle of the country.
Huddersfield missed out on playoff success last time around to Forest, and I think they will be up in the top six again, and with the reliable Blades for company.
You could pick any four from a number of teams, including our lads, to make up the top ten. It really is that tight in the middle of the table, it could be anyone apart from the basement bunch that many are calling.
I am very hopeful we can be in the top ten, or even pushing for playoff glory again (and if we make that, I would back Alex Neil to do well). If we make the top of the bottom half and consolidate, that would be a fabulous result for the club, gaffer and the lads.