The strength of the Championship: Will Boro bounce back?

With the release of the gruelling Championship fixture schedule, it is worth noting how strong the competition will be this year.

Boro are well poised to bounce back at the first time of asking given their resources. However, as we know, the key to success isn’t down to just having great resources; the Championship is built on hard –work, a close-knitted group and a slice of luck.

It’s imperative that Boro recognise that at least 10-12 other teams will be striving just as hard to make it to the Premier League and they need to be giving it 100% week in, week out.

Unpredictability of the league

The Championship has gained a reputation over the years of being very unpredictable and extremely competitive.

You only have to look to recent times to notice this.

Huddersfield Town were widely tipped to struggle in the 16/17 season but they managed to pull off a fairytale promotion which came as a surprise to many and thus confirms that anything can happen in this league.

If you look back a little further to the likes of Bournemouth and Burnley going up on much smaller budgets compared to other clubs.

Do Boro even have to keep a close eye on Sheffield United? Another huge club who could follow the likes of Norwich and Southampton in getting back-to-back promotions from League 1 all the way to the PL, it shows that the unpredictable nature is what makes it exciting.

Strength of the league

An interesting statistic that truly outlines how strong this league is for a country’s 2nd tier is that during the European Championships in France last summer, the Championship had 31 players in the tournament which was more than France’s Ligue 1.

In fact they were the 7th highest league representative which is crazy for a second division.

With the transfer fees and budgets growing exponentially from the transfer market conditions and trickled down parachute payments, the quality of player is becoming better.

Championship clubs can afford to buy players from some countries 1st divisions teams (e.g. Bjarnason to Villa last season from Basel) and pick up the best loanees from the PL.

This season will see only 5 teams that have never graced the PL (Brentford, Bristol City, Burton Albion, Millwall, PNE).

As well as these clubs who will dream of one day reaching the promise land, we have 19 teams who will want to reclaim their place among the country’s elite.

The Championship contains clubs that have rich history both domestically and in Europe and it also plays host to 8 of the top 20 stadium capacities in English football.

Hard to bounce back

As Boro fans found out last time around, it’s certainly no easy task returning to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

Last season the Geordies managed it once again but both Norwich and Villa – very big clubs for the Championship – struggled to even make it into the play-off places. And that’s certainly been the case with plenty of clubs down the years, Garry Monk can take nothing for granted.

Boro must now show ambition in the transfer market when it comes to signing players and also keeping hold of their most valuable assets if they want to follow Newcastle’s example next season.

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