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Coca Cola Championship

 

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Take a look below at our previews of the 2005/2006 Coca Cola Championship Do you believe our predictions? Click on your team below to see how we think they'll do!
Brighton Burnley Cardiff City Coventry Crewe Crystal Palace Derby Hull Ipswich
Leeds Leicester Luton Millwall Norwich Plymouth Preston Sheff Utd Sheff Wed
Southampton Stoke Watford Wolves          



SOMETIMES as an ante-post punter you yearn for the days when footballers were paid 50p a week and were thankful they’d not been sold into slavery.


The vast gap between rich and poor in soccer has accelerated player turnover to such an extent that whole squads are unrecognisable from one season to the next.

Leicester, for example, have switched 41 players in 13 months. The August Foxes will bear scant relation to the May team sheet and the same applies to Brentford, Forest, Oldham, Chester, Lincoln, Macclesfield, Stockport, Wrexham and others, so tread very carefully in these markets.


Overall, in all three Coca-Cola leagues, the relegated sides do not look well-equipped to bounce straight back as title winners. Southampton have shed ii players, for example, while Forest have won just one pre-season game, So, for our main title bets in all three Divisions we’ll go for teams who have had a season to adjust to disappointment and whose rebuilding started last year.

Of the Premiership dropouts, Southampton have lost their direction, Palace haven’t found any strikers to support
- or replace - Andy Johnson and Norwich have not found their defence. They’ll need an away win or two as well.
In the long term, the future looks bright for FA Youth Cup winners Ipswich, but for now, they will miss four key players, responsible for 51 goals last season.


For the first time Neil Warnock has had money to spend at Sheffield United and with Craig Short, Lilian Nails and Neil Shipperley amongst the new boys, they’ll be up there. But not up. I prefer Wolves and Leeds. In Jackie McNamara (free from Celtic), Glenn Hoddle has found just the kind of player that could turn those draws in their long unbeaten run into wins.
They have had a good preseason and are the pick of those in the 13-2 bracket.


Leeds will miss Steve Stone at the start, but Hulse and Healey look a good strike pair and new wmger Eddie Lewis is a good supplier. With Ken Bates’ money, guaranteed massive support and other promising new boys, United are great each-way value at 16-1.


Millwall, Stoke, Derby and Watford are heading down and in the case of Mifiwall, maybe out. Departing Lions include Dichio, Ifill, Muscat, Ward and Dennis Wise - one of two managers to go. There’s been just one signing and captain Dave Livermore has asked for a transfer.

Pick: Norwich, Wolves

 


 

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