With the start of 2020-21 Sky Bet Championship season just hours away, we take a look at three huge questions surrounding various clubs this season.
From returning clubs to Brentford dealing with Play-Off Final loss of last season and a new club in Wycombe, there are plenty of questions lingering over various clubs as we round up the three biggest questions to watch out for throughout this season.
Old Boys Adapt to Life Back in Championship
Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich return to the Championship after five seasons and one campaign in the Premier League respectively, which will bring new challenges given that the second tier is constantly evolving with no guarantee of an instant return to the top flight.
Bournemouth and Watford in particular are beginning new reigns as Jason Tindall and Vladimir Ivic take respective charge for the first time, following departures of Eddie Howe and Nigel Pearson respectively at end of last season.
Coventry City meanwhile return to the Championship after eight seasons in the mires of Leagues One and Two but this time the Robins are ground sharing with Birmingham City, of which they have created their own fortress with just two defeats in all competitions last season.
This season however promises to be tougher as several under-performing clubs of last season look to bounce back and push for promotion, which promises to make life tough for fellow promoted club – Rotherham who have bounced straight back up on Points-Per-Game basis but have failed to finish higher than 21st in their last five seasons.
Either way, all five oldies shouldn’t be expecting any easy returns to the second tier because this is never an easy division to escape except perhaps in terms of relegation.
Can Brentford Bounce Back?
After suffering Play-Off Final heartbreak last month and having sold Ollie Watkins, Brentford face a tough test to bounce back from those tough losses in their bid to mount another promotion challenge.
The Bees however do have a reputation of slow starts in each of the last five season with 28 out of a possible 75 points from 25 games played in August since start of 2015-16 season, which often feels in my opinion like one of the main reasons as to why they have fallen short of automatic promotion.
This season also sees them make the switch to the Brentford Community Stadium after 116 years at Griffin Park, bringing new challenges as they adapt to playing in a new stadium behind closed doors although it will become a tougher task once fans are permitted to enter stadiums once again.
It is worth noting that Brentford has failed to ultimately win all nine of their previous Play-Off ending campaigns, meaning that the pressure is definitely on if the Bees are to achieve promotion as Play-Offs look a serious hoodoo and leaves automatic promotion as their best bet if are to play in the Premier League next season.
I therefore believe that Brentford will be a team to watch because they have been automatically promoted after two previous failed Play-Offs yet have been relegated twice after losing the Play-Offs, making it a question of which way their season will go and these opening weeks could well be crucial to their entire season.
Can Wycombe Avoid Relegation?
Championship newcomers, Wycombe Wanderers face a difficult season as they adapt to the second tier whilst looking to avoid following in the footsteps of MK Dons and Yeovil who were relegated at the end of their maiden Championship seasons in the last decade.
The Chairboys however are in the experienced hands of Gareth Ainsworth who has been at the helm since September 2012, which promises to stand them in good stead given how Ainsworth has slowly but surely built a strong team throughout the last eight seasons.
Add in a 12 point deduction for Sheffield Wednesday which has already been applied then Wycombe really have to believe that survival is possible, especially if can keep pace with those around them when struggling because Luton last season demonstrated what can happen if do that and eventually hit that strong run at the right time to clinch safety.
Wycombe therefore might well be the team to watch this season in terms of the relegation battle if they can avoid emulating MK Dons and Yeovil who just fell away, instead of fighting for survival until the end.