2018-19 Sky Bet Championship: Week One – Saturday

After Derby’s win over Reading, attention now turns to the opening Saturday with some tasty stand out ties to tuck into. 

Here, we have picked out our top five ties to watch out on this opening Saturday. 

3pm unless stated.


Bristol City vs Nottingham Forest

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Bristol City will be keen to push on after losing some key players this summer as they welcome a revamped Nottingham Forest to Aston Gate. 

In Aitor Karanka, Forest have spent big on likes of Joao Carvalho and Lewis Grabban so will be looking to end a poor run against the Robins, who have lost just one of last seven league meetings. 

Bristol City meanwhile have brought some solid Championship players like Marley Watkins and Andreas Weimann in to strengthen their attack. 

Match wise, I am expecting Forest to play on counter with a strong defence like Middlesbrough used to have under Karanka. That will make life tough for the Robins so should see a fair few goals here.

Ultimately, I can see Forest having the edge if he has them playing like Boro were. 

Prediction: Bristol City 1-2 Nottingham Forest


Ipswich vs Blackburn Rovers

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Paul Hurst and Tony Mowbray met last season when Hurst was in charge of Shrewsbury, making this an intriguing meeting as Mowbray visits Portman Road for the sixth time as the opposition’s manager.

Mowbray was unbeaten across both meetings last season in League One but has a dreadful opening day record with six defeats in eight opening games.

For Hurst, this is his third consecutive different club at start of a new season and won his previous two opening fixtures (2016- Grimsby, 2017-Shrewsbury) 

Both teams meanwhile are stable with some new signings having added depth to what are already strong squads. 

I am therefore expecting a decent fight ending in a draw. 

Prediction: Ipswich 1-1 Blackburn Rovers


Millwall vs Middlesbrough

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This is one of the stand out ties from this opening weekend as Middlesbrough look to mount a promotion challenge but face a Millwall side who only just missed out on a play-off spot last season.

Both teams have spent well over the summer but Boro’s pre seasons has been quite inconsistent with a couple of shock defeats and an match abandonment in the mix. 

Match wise, I am expecting both teams to come out and play their best football but the advantage looks to be with the Teessiders, after clinching promotion on two previous occasions when their opening games of those season were against today’s opposition. 

We should see goals but am backing Middlesbrough to win here.

Prediction: Millwall 1-2 Middlesbrough


West Bromwich Albion vs Bolton Wanderers

West Brom kick off their first season back in second tier with a tough home test against a revitalised Bolton.

Despite losing Jonny Evans plus a few others, the Baggies will be a strong force with Salomon Rondon and Jay Rodriguez still at the Hawthorns and expected to start. 

Bolton meanwhile have spent well despite limited funds so will hopefully be able to build on last season. 

West Brom however are the stronger side still regardless of a poor record against the Trotters, so am backing them to get a comfortable win. 

Prediction: WBA 2-0 Bolton Wanderers


Sheffield United vs Swansea City (5:30pm)

Swansea City face a tricky return to the Championship as they face a solid Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. 

The Blades have kept majority of their squad with their only big departure being of David Brooks, who left for £10m to join Bournemouth. Instead they have the talented Ben Woodburn in on loan from Liverpool. 

For Swansea, this has been a huge summer of change with a new manager, departures of long term players like Ki Sung Yueng. 

Moving onto the match, I am expecting United to make it tough with their attacking style and the fact that they have lost just one of last 14 opening home games on first weekend of a new season. 

The Blades also won all three home games last season against the relegated teams from Premier League. 

Swansea will however be buoyant by fact that five of their last six managers all won their opening games. 

Having kept hold of names like Wilfried Bony, Kyle Naughton and the Ayew brothers, I can see Swansea in top ten mix but sadly won’t start with a win here.

Prediction: Sheffield United 2-1 Swansea City


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