Brighton & Hove Albion
The Championship’s nearly men will be looking to land promotion at the third attempt this season.
The Seagulls have fallen short in the playoffs in the last two campaigns and will be hoping it is third time lucky this time around.
However, their chances look a little less likely. They have already lost last season’s top goalscorer, Leandro Ulloa, as well as the top three players in the club's player of the season award – in Matt Upson, Stephen Ward and Tomasz Kuszczak - this transfer window and haven't brought in as many players as they would have liked yet.
Added to this they will have a new man in charge, with Sami Hyypia taking over during the summer, and there is a slight sense of transition at a club who have made rapid strides in recent times.
They should still have enough quality in the squad for a top-half finish, but with the play-off chasing pack looking strong this year that may be as good as it gets.
On paper, few teams, if any, have a better squad than Cardiff City, yet there is still a sense of unease around the club at the moment.
The Bluebirds have been active in this transfer window and have brought in a host of quality players to add to a squad with undoubted talent.
However, after their dismal performance in the Premier League last season, question marks still remain over the manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s, credentials and with Vincent Tan in charge the club will never feel too far away from making a bad decision.
If things click for Cardiff, though, given their quality, they should be able to gain promotion straight back to the top flight and anything other than a top two finish should be considered a failure.
This season will be a step into the unknown for Charlton fans, who will be desperate to see their club kick on.
The Addicks flirted with relegation last season and only narrowly avoided the drop as off-the-field problems threatened to ruin their campaign.
However, having stayed up, they have been active this summer – bringing in a clutch of new players designed to strengthen Bob Peeters’ side for his first campaign in English football.
They’ll have to hit top form quickly, though, as Roland Duchatelet, the club’s owner, sold a lot of the side’s quality after taking over in January and his intentions of how he intends to use Charlton in his network of clubs are still rather unclear.
Another season of struggle is to be expected at the Valley, although they should just have enough to avoid the drop for a second successive season.
Desperately unlucky not to have completed promotion last season, when a Bobby Zamora goal in the last minute of the play-off final – which they had dominated – ended their chances of returning to the Premier League, Derby be will looking to grab a top two place this season.
They have retained all of their key performers from last season and even though George Thorne picked up a lengthy injury upon his transfer, they go into the season as the rightful favourites.
Steve McClaren has got the Rams playing some scintillating attacking football and their quality combined with their stability makes them a good pick for this year’s Championship winners.
Fulham’s summer is likely to be remember for their extravagant purchase of Ross McCormack from Leeds and they will be relying on their new front-man to hit form quickly.
They have been in the Premier League for a long time now and this level will be an experience that they are not used to.
However, they do have some excellent players in their squad and a manager, in Felix Magath, who is experienced at the top level in European football meaning they have a chance of bouncing straight back from last season’s relegation.
A play-off place looks likely.
Huddersfield boss Mark Robins has already said that he needs more players for the upcoming campaign and, as such, there is a genuine concern that the Terriers could be set to struggle this year.
Those fears have got no easier with the expected departure of their talisman, Adam Clayton, to Middlesbrough today and who they bring in during the remainder of this month may decide their future as a Championship.
There is a lack of quality in their current squad, although Nahki Wells has the potential to fire them to the next level and James Vaughan is also a threat up-front.
That attacking talent should just about see them safe, but it looks as if the Terriers will have to show all their bite if they are to avoid falling into the bottom three.
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