WITH just less than a month to go until the Championship begins, Middlesbrough and Sunderland are stepping up their preparations in pre-season.

Boro, under manager Chris Wilder, are looking to mount a push for promotion while Alex Neil’s Black Cats are in the second tier for the first time in four years after last season’s promotion from League One.

An unpredictable Championship campaign awaits for both clubs but what are the bookmakers saying on the two team’s chances of being promoted this season?


Wilder’s side come in as the fourth favourites to get promoted this season with only Norwich City, Watford and West Brom better fancied for a climb to the Premier League.

Boro are undergoing sweeping changes under the former Sheffield United boss who is scouring the transfer market for new additions this summer having already acquired goalkeeper Liam Roberts, defender Darragh Lenihan and full-back Ryan Giles.

Whilst new faces are heading through the door, there has already been plenty of exits with further heading for the exit door in Hayden Coulson, Uche Ikpeazu and Chuba Akpom.

Wilder has been no stranger to a promotion race having taken the Blades to two consecutive promotions from League One to the Premier League whilst taking Boro’s play-off chase to the last day last season. It would be a big shock if they weren’t in the promotion mix this season.


After a turbulent couple of years, Sunderland may well feel they just need consolidate their position in the Championship and get back to a level playing field without the thrills and spills of being at the top or the bottom. For the bookmakers, they are not being tipped for a relegation dogfight next season and are fancied for a top ten finish.

With the exception of the return of loanees to parent clubs, Alex Neil has managed to keep hold of the core of the group that achieved promotion. Even then, the club are still working on deals to re-sign Nathan Broadhead and Jack Clarke. Whether they can cut the mustard in the second tier, we will see.

There are still a number of additions still to be made but signing Daniel Ballard, a proven Championship centre back, from Arsenal can be considered to be a great start for them. Building on that and Sunderland should be safe for next season.

The Black Cats may well be happy to fly under the radar and granted they can all but secure safety with ample time on their hands, a quiet push further up the table could be on the cards.


Norwich 6/4

Watford 2/1

West Brom 11/4


Sheffield United 7/2

Burnley 9/2

Huddersfield 11/2

Stoke 6/1

Sunderland 7/1

Millwall 7/1

Blackburn 8/1

Coeventry 9/1

QPR 10/1

Hull 10/1

Luton 10/1

Cardiff 12/1

Preston 14/1

Bristol City 14/1

Wigan 14/1

Blackpool 16/1

Birmingham 16/1

Reading 20/1

Rotherham 33/1