The 2017/18 Championship season gets underway on Friday night with Nottingham Forest and Sunderland hosting Millwall and Derby County respectively. Mark Warburton’s men will be expecting a much improved campaign after struggling for most of last season but former Forest star Britt Assombalonga will now lead the line for newly-relegated Middlesbrough.
Boro, currently 6/1 to win the Championship title, will travel to Molineux for a difficult clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers and punters will be expecting Assombalonga to hit the ground running for Garry Monk’s side. The former Premier League outfit paid £15 million to sign Assombalonga this summer and he is currently the 8/1 joint-favourite with Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia in the Golden Boot race.
Britt Assombalonga Has The Pedigree
If anyone can lead Boro back to the top flight, it is Assombalonga. A proven striker at this level, the 24-year-old scored 30 goals in 47 league starts at Forest and Monk was more than happy to pay a club record £15 million to bring him to the Riverside Stadium. Assombalonga will be there or thereabouts if he stays fit and his ratio of scoring a goal every 130 minutes of Championship football suggests that he is a deserving favourite.
Chris Wood Will Be In The Mix
We’re all Leeds, aren’t we? Chris Wood was outstanding last season, notching 27 goals and four assists at Elland Road. The Whites, currently 6/4 to defeat Bolton Wanderers in their opener on Sunday, will need Wood to emulate last season’s form if they are to stand any chance of securing promotion to the top flight. 10/1 represents excellent value for a player who finished four goals clear of his closest rival last season.
Do NOT Write Jonathan Kodjia Off Yet
Villa boss Steve Bruce has suggested that Kodjia might miss the first six games of the season but that still leaves plenty of time for the Ivory Coast star to climb the standings. At 8/1, he is perhaps a little short in the market but with good reason. Kodjia scored 19 goals in the Championship last season and had more efforts on goal than all of his peers. Once he is back to full fitness, he will give Villa a huge boost in the title race.
Billy Sharp Is A Goal Scoring Machine
Sheffield United were rampant last season and Billy Sharp’s form in front of goal was a key reason for their success. The Blades star bagged 30 goals at Bramhall Lane – averaging one every 130 minutes of football. Sharp was far too good for League One but can he do it in the Championship? Only time will tell. At 33/1 to win the Golden Boot in England’s second tier, he is well worth a punt.
Chris Martin Can Be Fulham’s Main Man
Fulham have a lot of mouths to feed in attack but Chris Martin can fire the Cottagers back to the Premier League this season. Yes, Tom Cairney and Stefan Johansen are both capable of scoring goals but Martin is a class above when fit. Statistics show that, while his team-mates bagged more goals, the Scotland star averaged a goal every 228 minutes and recorded more shots on goal than Johansen despite playing few fixtures.
If Anyone Knows The Championship, It’s Cameron Jerome
Norwich City fans, take a deep breath – it looks like Cameron Jerome will stay despite plenty of interest from Fulham and Sunderland. Jerome is a seasoned campaigner at this level and, like Assombalonga, opting for somebody with Championship pedigree could turn out to be a wise move. Coming off the back of a solid campaign, Jerome can show that he is still a force to be reckoned with in England’s second tier.