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Who will be our main rivals for auto promotion next season? Here are my views.

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For me the race for auto promotion next season is going to be a tense and exciting one, i feel that we will be up there but do not feel by any means that it is guaranteed. If we only made the play off''s i would not be surprised. For the record i think that it will be WBA and Palace joining us in the Championship and here is a little anylisis of the teams i feel i liken to threaten our bid to bounce straight back up.

WBA. Big, big threat. I don''t know if they will be able to hold onto all of their players but if they lose the odd one it wo''nt really matter as long as they retain Earnshaw they will have a 30 goal a season striker. Alot of the players have been there before and at this moment in time WBA ARE A BETTER TEAM THAN US, yes, they are. We will be going to wire with them for auto promotion next season. Threat rating 10/10

Palace. It is likey that Dowie, Johnson and Routlege will all leave, so for me how big a threat they are will depend on who takes over the reins from Dowie. If Simon Jordan can get a decent manager in who can steady the ship quickly and use the £6million + that the club will receive from the sale of Johnson well then they are also like WBA a big, big threat. They could also however be in turmoil and lanquish in midtable, a bit of an unknown quantity for me for there chances next season at the moment. 8/10

Wolves. Yeah, the gold scum are gonna be a major threat next season. Hoddle has taken over and turned things around to a certain degree. They are not losing many games but are drawing far to many. However, he will bring in a few players in the summer and all of those draws Wolves have been getting could easily be turned into wins. They still have the nucleus of the squad that was in the premiership and in Cort and miller have two 20 goal a season strikers. Hoddle has already taken 2 players of premiership qaulity on loan with a view to permanent deals in Rohan Ricketts and Mikkel Bishoff. Major threat next season for me. 9/10

Ipswich. This is assuming they do not acheive promotion. Now alot of people seem to think that if they don''t win promotion this season then next season Ipswich will be shit. Why? Sure they may sell Bent, but only for at least £5 million. The sale of Bent may make them a stronger team in my view. Bent, for all the hype as far as i am aware is a striker and he has only scored about 14/15 league goals this season, sure a good return but he is not an Earnshaw, Ashton or AJ a 30 goal a season striker. If they sell him Royle will see some of the transfer funds and could quite easily sign someone like Sam Parkin, Rob Hulse, or STEve Mclean who could get them 20 goals a season in the Championship. No, make no mistake Ipswich will still be a threat next season and definite top 6. 8/10

Wigan/Sunderland. I don''t expect either of these teams to still be in the Championship next season but if they were they will be both be big threats. 8/10

West Ham. If they don''t go up this season Pardew will be sacked. They have the prestige to attract a decent manager to replace him and still have imo one of the best squads in the Championship. If the new manager can retain the present squad then West Ham could be a major threat. If he could get Zamora and Harewood firing on all cylinders and give them both new leases of life then they could be really dangerous. Again will depend on who is appointed as manager and whether the present squad and important members like Etherington, Reo Coker and Sheringham can be retained as to the threat level they will present. Possible 8/10

Derby. If Burly can keep hold of Raziack and get Huddlestone back on a season long loan (as there is talk of) and add a few new additions then Derby could be the surprise package next season and be right up there. 7-8/10

These teams mentioned above are the teams t

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I''d agree with most of your comments but I''d add Leeds to the list as well. The player turnover at Elland Road has been incredible but Blackwell is gradually assembling a decent squad - bit too late for this year but a major threat for next.Although we''ll have a decent chance, the notion that we will easily get promoted again next season is wildly optimistic. It will be very, very competitive with about half the division having a chance of making it. IMO our chances rest very largely (as they did last year) on Hucks. He if stays, and stays fit then our chances are good. Without him I''d guess we''ll be one of quite a large group chasing a play-off place.

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If Crystal Palace keep Dowie I think they could be top of the championship but now that you pointed it out to me, i think he will leave. So heres who i would say:

Crystal Palace
West Brom

and then all the other usual teams that float around the play offs like:

Sheff U

do you think Dowie will leave?

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If they go down you can guarantee Andy Jonson will leave. Would Dowie really have gotten Palace premoted if it wasn''t for his goals?


I think Reading are likely threats to both us and West Brom - fringe for years and about due for a surge.

I wouldn''t lose sleep over Sheff Utd, not with Warnock in charge.

Other contenders are Leeds, West Ham and Leicester who I think will be about ready for a premotion push come August.

Plymouth, QPR and Luton are outsiders too. Plymouth and QPR will be established Div1 clubs next season so they''re only going to get better - and everyone ''round my area keeps banging on about Luton and how good they are. Wouldn''t suprise me if they''re top half of the table next season, if not Play-Offs.


Oh yeah and the binners too.



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[quote]For me the race for auto promotion next season is going to be a tense and exciting one, i feel that we will be up there but do not feel by any means that it is guaranteed. If we only made the play off...[/quote]

Jimbo, you are just a little bit hasty with the predictions for the CHAMPIONSHIP as we haven''t been relegated.  It is still possible we could pull a miracle out of the bag and win 6 of our last 8 games. 

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