The Sky Bet championship has always been a close run thing for a couple of season now however this season its currently looking like it could be the closest one yet, there are a few contenders this year who could win it with some surprising teams to be there at the top.
Bournemouth are currently at the top of the league going into the new year, as Eddie Howe’s men have been ripping teams apart of late with the front two of Wilson and Kermorgant up front it looks like an unstoppable combination, however the size of the cherries squad must come as a worry. Even though they spent big in the summer the size of the squad is small and the number of championship experienced players they have is tiny compared to other clubs. Eddie Howe though is considered one of the best managers in the league as he is seen as a manager that can get the best out of his small squad. If the team get hit by suspensions and injuries it could be a tough and long road to the finish however they are one of the most professional sides regarding disciplinary action and they aren’t an injury prone squad, so things may just go for the south coast club. The club only get an average crowd of around eight thousand and so it would be fantastic for a small sized club compared to some in the same league to get to the Premiership. Bournemouth are a spirited side and will stop at nothing to make sure they don’t let their faithful manager and proud club down.
Another contender is Ipswich Town, a club that is run on a small budget and a squad that has been put together by a shoe string finance system, manager Mick McCarthy has brought most of his players in from either a loan signing or a free transfer with the sum of their squad costing around £10,000 pound, that is around 1% of Fulham’s squad which cost over £12 million pound. McCarthy and his merry men have built up a good squad rapport and will now try to push for the title.
Middlesborough are another team that could win the title and one that I personally can see winning it as they have one of the most complete squads in the championship. Boro are a massive club in the league with Premier League history they are one of the clubs that should be fighting to get back into it. However in recent years they have been the nearly men until a few weeks to the end of the season when they have tendered to drop off, but it seems this time around they have the staying power. With a strong back line and a formidable forward front attack Boro don’t look like being stopped. Their front line include Kike and Vossen brought over from Europe they also have Lee Tomlin and Bamford who is on loan from Chelsea. Boro also have a steely midfield that packs a real punch with the calculating Clayton and the most impressive Grant Leadbitter who is having the best season of his career scoring over 10 goals a very good total for a midfield player in the championship.
Derby County are a side that just missed out on promotion last year as the Rams hearts were broke by the hoops of QPR, as Bobby Zamora celebrated a return to the Premier League, Chris Martin and his colleagues had to contend with another season of fight in the Championship. However Derby are stronger now for the heartbreak of Wembley and it looks to be going even better this time around with the inspired form of Johnny Russell and the continued success of Chris Martin. The Rams could be running all the way to the top of the table come March next year.
Recently relegated Norwich City are also in the hunt for the title. Although they’re not in the form or position they would want to be in at this stage, they are in a reasonably good position for going forward and pushing on in the second half of the season, with Lewis Grabban and Cameron Jerome in fine form this season it can only be a matter of time until the canaries start to mount a serious charge.
Two other teams with outside chances of title winning credentials are Cardiff City and Watford, both teams keep dipping in and out of form and have yet to have a sustained period of consistency, to seriously challenge for the title.
Who ever wins the title its going to be a close race to the finish.