Before becoming a Sports Journalist for Free Super Tips, Aaron spent three years studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland while taking in the Black Cats' 'glory years' under Martin O'Neill. Now back in Northern Ireland he turns niche stats into predictions for FST, while he's one of the few people on this island who is equally comfortable at Windsor Park and the Aviva.
Last season’s Championship relegation battle ultimately fizzled out, with three sides struggling to keep up with the rest. One of the three worst sides last season still managed to survive, thanks to Derby County getting deducted 21 points last term.
This year looks set to be a competitive fight for survival, given that the trio of promoted clubs are a step up on last season’s bottom three. Can any, or all, of the new boys survive? See our look at this season’s battle for survival and Championship relegation tips.
Don’t forget to also take a look at our Championship winner and promotion predictions too!
Championship 2022/23 relegation predictions
2016 was the last time Rotherham started a season in the same division as the previous one. That 2016/17 campaign was the first of three relegations from the Championship that they’ve suffered in the last six seasons. On each occasion, they’ve won promotion from League One immediately after.
Rotherham are hoping to break that cycle this season, bringing in some solid new signings. However, they have lost forwards Michael Smith and Freddie Ladapo, who accounted for 30 goals between them last season.
Tom Eaves and Conor Washington are decent replacements, but even if they perform well the Millers haven’t exactly taken a step forward. There’s not enough to suggest that Rotherham can finally stick at this level and as the weakest of the three promoted sides they look set to go straight back down.
Derby’s struggles last season kept Reading up, just in the same way that a poor bottom three saved Derby the year before. However, it was worse for the Royals as they had the third-lowest points tally discounting Derby’s deduction.
The Royals have been on this path for a while, bar an outlier 2020/21 when a good start made them playoff contenders. They’ve recorded three bottom-five finishes in the last five seasons and now last season’s top scorer John Swift has gone.
Paul Ince isn’t the most inspiring choice as manager and it’s easy to see things falling apart for the Royals. As caretaker Ince won just five games and it’s easy to see the rest of the division passing them by this term. Add in the six-point penalty which continues to hang over their heads throughout this season and things look precarious for the Royals.
After a few near misses, this looks like the season when Reading’s luck runs out.
Bristol City to finish bottom
Bristol City finished up 17th in the Championship last term, with a late flourish giving them a more respectable finish. They won three of their final five games to put some distance between them and the strugglers, but it wasn’t much of a bright note for the Robins.
In January the club’s CEO suggested that the club would be facing a points deduction if they didn’t sell players given the precarious nature of their finances. On average they’ve lost over £400,000 per week over the last 10 years, something which continues to be an issue as they’ve had few major outgoings since that dire warning.
Their summer recruitment doesn’t inspire confidence, adding players from Forst Green, Oxford and Luton. They look set to weaken their current squad by January if not sooner, which won’t serve them well in a division which looks deeper than last year.
The Robins have targeted lower division players to plug one of the league’s leakiest defences. Only Reading and Peterborough conceded more than them last term. Meanwhile, they benefitted from a standout season from Andreas Weimann. The Austrian had never scored more than 10 goals in a campaign before last term’s 22.
With their forward line overperforming and their defensive unreliable, things could turn quickly for the Robins. With the potential for them to be docked points and with key names likely to leave, this should be a tough year at Ashton Gate. Back them to go down, while they’re a huge 10/1 to wind up bottom.
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