OUR fantastic EFL Championship kicks off again next week inspiring hopes and dreams of promotion to the top flight’s multi-million pound riches.

A host of new managers want to find that necessary winning formula. Here are my tips for the teams to watch out for during this forthcoming season:


Opening weekend fixture: home versus Cardiff City.

Freshly relegated Leeds United are my favourites to win the title having named former Norwich City boss Daniel Farke as new manager in July.

The 46 year old German previously masterminded two promotions to the Premier League for Norwich amidst his tenure there between 2017 and 2021.

Leeds are also boosted with confirmation of their takeover by San Francisco-based 49ers Enterprises. However, finances will be kept on an even keel.

Farke said: “I can’t spend huge amounts of money on new signings. The owners are ambitious and certainly see great potential here. Nevertheless we aim to run this club in a good way so we must be patient in building up our squad.”

Key signing: Ethan Ampadu from Chelsea for £7 million.

My prediction: Champions


Opening weekend fixture: home versus Millwall.

Boro finished fourth in the Championship table last season before losing 1-0 on aggregate to Coventry City over two legs in the Play-Off Semi-Finals.

An impressive upsurge in form followed on from Michael Carrick’s head coach arrival on 24th October when they were hovering just one point and one place above the bottom three. Chuba Akpom amassed 28 goals to cement the division’s leading goalscorer accolade. 

Now anticipating the upcoming campaign, Carrick said: “There is plenty of work to do. We are fully aware of the necessity to bolster our squad. Although we’ve got a very useful group here already containing some real talent.”

Key signing: Seny Dieng from Queens Park Rangers for £2 million

My prediction: Runners-Up


Opening weekend fixture: home versus Coventry City.

Another relegated side under new leadership whereby Manchester City assistant coach Enzo Maresca has been appointed new manager.

It is a major rebuilding job for him after the summer departures of established stars like James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans.

Maresca said: “I have many players that can still arrive at or leave the club. But I need a solid squad as soon as possible so I can work with them for the whole season.”

Key signing: Harry Winks from Tottenham Hotspur for £10 million.

My prediction: Third


Opening weekend fixture: away versus Sheffield Wednesday.

The third relegated team aspiring to bounce back straight away. Southampton were rock bottom of the Premier League in May thereby ending 11 years of top flight football.

Saints then recruited Swansea City boss Russell Martin to become new manager a few weeks later.

He will do extremely well to hold on to star midfielder James Ward-Prowse who is being heavily linked with a big money move to West Ham United.

Key signing: Shea Charles from Manchester City for an undisclosed fee.

My prediction: Fourth


Opening weekend fixture: home versus Queens Park Rangers.

Watford will be hoping to improve on disappointing 2022/23 fortunes where they attained 11th place in the Championship.

The former Barnsley and West Bromwich Albion boss Valerien Ismael assumed new head coach duties in May.

Ismael said: “We now offer a reboot opportunity for everyone involved without any pre-judgement from me because it is a transition period. Ultimately, we will change the mindset here. I require players who are hungry to succeed bringing intensity all over the pitch in their physical approach.”

Key signing: Ton Ince from Reading for an undisclosed fee.

My prediction: Fifth


Opening weekend fixture: home versus Hull City.

Norwich City underachieved in 13th spot last time out winning only eight home games. David Wagner assumed head coach duties in January but couldn’t mount a promotion assault. 

Looking forward to 2023/24, Wagner said: “I am really happy with the squad I possess now. In fact, I don’t anticipate making any more signings in the current transfer window unless one of my players leaves. I have lads in place who like to do the hard yards.”

Key signing: Christian Fassnacht from Young Boys for an undisclosed fee.

My prediction: Sixth


Tony is an experienced football broadcaster who has worked for Clubcall, Capital Gold, IRN Sport, talkSPORT Radio and Sky TV. 

His devotion to Queens Park Rangers saw him reach 50 years without missing a home game in April 2023.

Tony is also a Non-League football expert having visited more than 2,500 different football grounds in his matchday groundhopping.

You can follow Tony on Twitter at @TonyIncenzo.