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Championship Preview

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Championship Preview

Post by TheBourbonKid on Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:09 pm

Hull host Blackpool on Friday night is the first competitive game of the English season while Sky Sports' other televised Championship game of the weekend sees newly-promoted Southampton host Leeds on Saturday evening.

Leicester have been installed as title favourites along with relegated West Ham, while bookmakers are expecting Nottingham Forest to be in contention having reached the play-offs the last two years.

The first game of the new campaign sees Blackpool visit Hull, with Pool boss Ian Holloway looking for the Seasiders to bounce back following relegation from the Premier League last term, live on Sky Sports 1HD.

Sven-Goran Eriksson has been busy at Leicester this summer and the former England boss takes his new-look squad to Coventry in Saturday's lunchtime kick-off.

Brighton promoted

Brighton have also been big spenders since winning the League One title last term and begin life at their new Amex Stadium with a home game against Doncaster.

Eriksson's national team successor, Steve McClaren, will also be in the Championship this term having returned to England with Forest. They host Barnsley in his first game in charge.

Middlesbrough are also expected to be among this season's promotion contenders following a strong finish last term and they host Portsmouth, who will be keen to make an impression after consolidating last season following relegation from the top flight.

Beaten play-off finalists Reading will begin their bid to build on last season's near miss by facing Millwall at the Madejski.

Birmingham saw Alex McLeish leave for arch-rivals Aston Villa following relegation and after appointing Chris Hughton as new boss they will be glad to get back in action away to Derby after a turbulent summer.

Burnley fell just short of a top-six finish and Eddie Howe's men welcome Watford, who have new boss Sean Dyche in charge following Malky Mackay's departure for Cardiff.

Big Sam's back

Dave Jones left Cardiff after again losing in the play-offs, despite a second successive fourth-placed finish, and Sunday's game will see Mackay pit his wits against another new boss with Sam Allardyce having returned to management with West Ham.

Southampton mark their return to the Championship with a live game on Sky Sports 2HD at home to Leeds, who narrowly missed out on last season's play-offs.

Peterborough also came up, via the play-offs, and they return to the second tier with a home game against Crystal Palace, who had another tough campaign last term, finishing 20th.

Bristol City and Ipswichboth finished mid-table last term and face each other at Ashton Gate on Saturday.
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