17th August 2012
Championship Betting: Craig Bellamy's goals can finally lead Cardiff into the Premier League and as champions
Last season’s Championship was one of the best Championship standards ever but I suspect this year the quality may not be quite so high but the fight for promotion could be an awful lot tighter and could well involve a lot more clubs than the three which were fighting promotion last season. This year there are no standout candidates and it could be a case of the rich prevailing. Bolton aren’t particularly rich but they are the 7/1 favourites with Stan James.
Bolton were relegated on the final day of the Premier League last season but Owen Coyle hasn’t actually lost that many players that he wanted to keep and he has replaced all the major players who have left so I would expect Bolton to be right up there again this season, especially if Benik Afobe can find the back of the net regularly.
Blackburn and Wolves were the other two sides relegated from the Premier League last season. I expect this to be a tough season in terms of going straight back up for Blackburn as their inner politics and fans protests are still prevalent. Wolves are under new management this season as Stale Solbakken has taken over the reins. To be fair to Wolves they haven’t lost much since their relegation so of the two they look the better equipped to go straight back up.
Blackpool and Birmingham lost in the playoffs last season and while both sides have strengthened, and strengthened significantly, I just get the gut feeling that they will fall short again this season. I’m not convinced about Lee Clark as a manager which could be an issue for Birmingham while Ian Holloway lacks one or two real gems to get his Blackpool side right in the mix, particularly if they were to lose Matt Phillips.
Leicester and Nottingham Forest are the sides with the money in this division and you would have to say the former should be really close this year. Last year the expectation under Sven Goran Eriksson was ridiculous but I sense there isn’t quite that expectation under Nigel Pearson even though he’s more than good enough to lead them to promotion. In Jamie Vardy they have signed a livewire who should have Leicester in the mix. Nottingham Forest’s decision to appoint Sean O’Driscoll is a baffling one for a club who have the resources they now have and he might need time to put a promotion winning squad together.
That leaves one side who I really think will challenge this season and that is Cardiff. The Bluebirds will want to emulate their bitter rivals Swansea and get into the Premier League and the signing of Craig Bellamy is a huge signal of their intentions. Bellamy will provide the goals which were missing last season and he, alongside other summer signings such as Jordan Mutch and Joe Lewis, can ensure Cardiff are right in the mix. We saw in the Carling Cup last season that Cardiff can beat anyone on their day. I thought they lacked goals last season but that shouldn’t be the case this season and those extra goals can finally see Malky Mackay’s men into the Premier League and in the best way possible, by winning the title.
Back Cardiff City to win Championship (e/w) for a 2/10 stake at 13.00 with BetVictor (1/4 1-3)
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Author: 'Arry Allsports