Cosmin Iftode /

With the 2021/22 Championship season set to kick off on Friday, August 6, it’s time to take a look at the favourites for promotion this time around.

England’s second tier is widely regarded as one of the toughest leagues to get out of, with countless high-profile teams battling it out for the three promotion spots every season.

We’ll soon be back! 😃 #EFL

— EFL (@EFL) July 26, 2021

Let’s start by checking out the bookmakers’ top ten favourites.

  • Fulham (6.0)
  • West Brom (6.5)
  • Sheff Utd (7.0)
  • Bournemouth (10.0)
  • Cardiff (14.0)
  • Nottm Forest (14.0)
  • Middlesbrough (15.0)
  • Barnsley (15.0)
  • Swansea (15.0)
  • Reading (18.0)

Following relegation from the Premier League last term, Fulham, West Brom and Sheff Utd are expected to lead the way in the upcoming campaign.

However, the likes of Bournemouth, Cardiff and Nottm Forest will also be desperate to return to the top-flight this year.

It’s time to analyse the frontrunners.

• Can Fulham, West Brom and Sheff Utd bounce straight back?

Marco Silva has replaced Scott Parker in the Craven Cottage hot seat, with Harry Wilson and Paulo Gazzaniga joining from Liverpool and Tottenham, respectively.

With players like Andre Zambo Anguissa and Aleksandar Mitrovic already at the club, it feels like Fulham are weel equipped to make an immediate return to the Premier League.

Valerien Ismael will lead West Brom into the new campaign, while Slavisa Jokanovic has teamed up with Sheff Utd.

Until the new campaign gets underway, it is difficult to gauge exactly how those two sides will fare under their new bosses.

• What about Bournemouth, Cardiff and Nottm Forest?

Bournemouth made it into the play-offs last term but fell to Brentford, who went on to seal promotion to the top tier. Ex-Fulham manager Parker has recently joined the south coast side.

Cardiff finished two places outside the top six last season – nine points behind Bournemouth. The Welsh outfit will almost certainly be there or thereabouts come the end upcoming campaign.

As for Forest, they endured a season to forget last time around. The fallen giants finished seventeenth last term – nine point clear of the relegation zone.

Forest certainly have the history, but they have been off the pace in recent times. Could 2021/22 finally be their season?

• Could anyone else challenge for promotion?

Barnsley stunned everyone by reaching the play-off last term. But with Ismael leaving the club for West Brom, it could be difficult for the Tykes to emulate their fifth-place finish.

Swansea recently parted ways with their manager, too, so they could struggle to replicate last season’s fourth-place this time around.

On this day last year, @LUFC 🥳

— Sky Bet Championship (@SkyBetChamp) July 22, 2021

Reading were leading the way for much of the previous campaign before tailing off and finishing outside the play-off places altogether. They could struggle to pick themselves up.