Last season the only gripping thing about the Championship finale was the relegation battle. An incredible fight went down to the final moments of the season, threatening to even extend beyond that as points deductions threatened to take Derby down.
The Rams feature in our rundown of the relegation candidates in 2021/22 and we’ve picked out three more sides to go down after landing three of four selections last term.
Don’t forget to take a look at our Championship outright winner predictions, where I picked three sides to win promotion to the Premier League.
How do the newcomers look?
League One’s trio of promoted sides last term all look like a good bet to thrive in the Championship this term. Hull, Peterborough and Blackpool were really impressive getting out of a tough division and now they step into a league which has seen plenty of teams get weaker.
This is arguably the perfect season to step into the Championship and as a result we’ve backed all three sides to avoid the drop, with three more established sides left to fear the drop into the third tier.
Championship 2021/22 relegation predictions
Derby to be relegated at 5/6
For large parts of the summer you couldn’t even get a price on Derby to go down. In some places you still can’t such is the uncertainty around the club right now. They avoided the drop on the final day last season, saw their squad ripped apart since then and now they’re left with the threat of a points deduction hanging over them.
It took a points hit to save them last season, as they recorded the third-worst points tally in the division before Sheffield Wednesday’s six-point hit was applied. Staying up on goal difference is clearly a worrying sign, especially when you’re squad goes rapidly backwards in the aftermath.
Wayne Rooney has yet to convince as a manager and now he’s been thrown into a difficult position. The former England captain has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons recently, including injuring one of his own players in training. Losing Jason Knight is another blow to a side who are low on playing staff and we’re backing this Derby group to struggle to stay competitive in this division.
Huddersfield to be relegated at 10/3
Huddersfield finished inside the bottom five last term, with the club doing little to impress after their bold move for Carlos Coberan. They’ve let plenty of talent walk out the door and the replacements don’t inspire much confidence, so we’re worried for the Terriers.
Nine of the last 12 seasons have seen at least one of the sides in 20th or 21st go down. In this case, we’re backing both given how strong the promoted crop look. The Terriers were two places and two points worse off last season compared to the year before and they keep getting weaker. They stayed up last term thanks to major problems at Sheffield Wednesday and two sides going straight back down. They won’t get so lucky this time around.
Preston to be relegated at 9/2
Preston were a player or two shy of the playoffs at one point under Alex Neil, but he left the club last season with them in midtable. While they rallied towards the end with some wins, I’m not convinced Frankie McAvoy can continue the overachievement which Neil brought to Deepdale.
Neil made them defensively solid and inspired displays which will be hard to repeat, even if North End go out and replace McAvoy I don’t see them reaching those heights. They’ve thrived without a lot of goals in their side in recent seasons but that could easily catch up with them now, which could see them dragged into trouble. At 9/2, Preston offer great value in the relegation fight with an unproven boss and not enough quality in his squad.
Championship 2021/22 specials predictions
Blackpool to be top North West club at 3/1
Of the three North West sides in the Championship, Blackpool are 3/1 third-favourites to have the strongest campaign. They’re behind Preston – who we’ve already dealt with – and a Blackburn side who are concerning.
Last season Blackburn started well and they looked good for a playoff tilt at one point, but they’ve lost players to loans ending and contracts expiring. Without replacements, they’re now a significantly weaker side who are struggling to hold onto their star man Adam Armstrong. The forward is out of contract next summer, so Rovers need to cash in now especially with little ambition or resources to strengthen around him.
Blackburn finished last season poorly and they could easily be overtaken by Blackpool. The Tangerines had an incredible season after struggling early on and the momentum that took them surging to a playoff win could give them a midtable finish ahead of Preston and Blackburn. They’re the most settled of the three sides and certainly the most confident of the bunch, so there’s a lot of value in that 3/1 price.
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