Championship Dark Horses: Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers, Stoke City

Championship Dark Horses

The Championship campaign kicked off this weekend following off the back of a short pre-season. The first weekend was full of excitement; new boys Wycombe Wanderers took on Rotherham United in their first-ever game in the competition. The Championship season looks to be shaping up to be an exciting prospect for many. The likes of Watford and Bournemouth will most likely have to fight for the top spot. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at the Championship dark horses, the teams that have had less attention but could succeed this season.

Championship Dark Horses: Teams to Look Out For

Birmingham City

After finishing the season in poor fashion, Birmingham sacked boss Pep Clotet. Looking for a new lease of life, they looked towards ex-Boro and Forest boss Aitor Karanka.

Karanka came in with clear ambitions looking to push Birmingham forward. He boosted the squad with experienced players such as George Freind and Adam Clayton.

Karanka, who has previous experience of promotion with Middlesbrough, looks to implement his stern ways of playing. He will seek to transform St Andrews into a fortress and the signing of shot-stopper Neil Etheridge will stop the leaking of goals at the back.

Scott Hogan looks to be in for a strong season as he re-signs on a permanent basis from rivals Aston Villa. Birmingham could surprise many this season, already putting to bed favourites Brentford.

Blackburn Rovers

Last season was very promising for Rovers as Tony Mowbray guided the Lancashire outfit to a strong 11th place finish.

Boss Mowbray attempts to play progressive styles of football; this revolves around forwards Adam Armstrong and Bradley Dack getting into good goalscoring opportunities.  Armstrong completed a strong season last time out. He netted 16 times and claimed six assists in one of his most promising seasons. The forward will be looking to hit the ground running this year and fire Rovers up the league.

Star player Bradley Dack has returned from a lengthy injury to add to their already powerful attacking options, offering his technical brilliance with the ball.

The addition of experienced Championship defender Daniel Ayala on a free transfer will bolster the defence. Mowbray will be aiming higher than ever this season, yet many don’t see Blackburn challenging at the top.

Stoke City

The 2019/20 season is one Stoke fans will soon want to forget. The club finished in 16th after a dismal season, following the club’s relegation in 2018.

Prior to the season, Stoke were tipped to return straight back to the Premier League. However, that was not the case as the club slumped to the foot of the table.  Boss Michael O’Neil took the helm halfway through the season and guided them to a respectable 16th place finish at the time; he now has a full season to implement his ways of football, with Stoke fans’ optimism rising.

The Potters have been extremely busy this summer; O’Neil is planning for the rebuild bringing in a number of experienced players. Names such as Steven Fletcher, John Obi Mikel, and Morgan Fox all join up at the best 365 stadium ahead of a tough season.

Stoke look set for a promising season if they can find their post lockdown form. After all, they managed to see off the likes of promotion hotshots Brentford. O’Neil will be aiming high for this season with Stoke been one to watch out for.

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