Buidling Dreams Together


EFL Championship 2023/24 Preview and Predictions

Previews of every team in the division, their transfer business, and what to expect from them this season

The EFL season gets underway again this weekend with Southampton travelling to South Yorkshire on Friday night to face Sheffield Wednesday. From there, 551 more matches will be played, culminating on May 4th. But who are our promotion favourites? The dark horses? Teetering on relegation? We’ll have a look at every team and what to expect from them in this preview, with part one covering Birmingham

Birmingham City

After a fantastic decade in the 2000s, one of the Second City club’s most successful periods came to an end after failing to return to the top flight in 2012 and slipping to midtable in 2013, what followed was period of near misses with the relegation zone. Having not finished above 17th since 2016, Birmingham City seem to be destined for relegation. However, that feeling began to change in July, when new Chairman Tom Wagner and Knighthead Capital bought a significant percentage of the club, giving Blues fans hope of a new dawn for one of England biggest underachievers.

Birmingham City players and fans pay tribute to former player Trevor Francis after his recent passing (Credit @BCFC on Twitter)

This has been compounded with the arrivals of eight new figures at St Andrews, including defender Krystian Bielik, young full back pairing Ethan Laird and Lee Buchanan, and talented attackers Siriki Dembele and Koji Miyoshi. However the loss of Tahith Chong to Luton Town will certainly be felt after his impact over his two years in Birmingham.

While things may not be perfect still in Birmingham, and there is still a long road ahead before they could be realistic promotion candidates, the foundations for a new successful era, look to be falling in place. A boring mid-table finish with no possibility of relegation looming would be a brilliant start.

23/24 Prediction: Mid-Table

Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn Rovers found themselves in a groundhog day last season, as the club experienced their second consecutive end of season collapse, leaving the side once again adrift of the play off places they had inhabited for a majority of the season. Even more fascinatingly, Rovers finished with a negative goal difference. Their 52 goals for across the 46 match season was superseded by their 54 against. 

These tallies aren’t individual cause for concern for the club, Luton finished 3rd with only five more goals for, and Boro finished 4th despite conceding two goals more, the problem is Luton were able to keep the opposition away from goal by conceding 15 less, and Boro conquered their opponents through attacking force, hitting the back of the net a staggering 32 times more than Blackburn throughout the season.If Blackburn wish to finally push their way into the top six, it will be paramount to drastically improve one of these areas.

Blackburn manager Jon Dahl Tomasson during a training session (Credit: @Rovers on Twitter)

But with the club only signing three new players so far, two of which are known to have recurring injury problems, while losing former top scorers Ben Brereton Diaz and Bradley Dack on free transfer, Rovers may be left experiencing yet another season of disappointment

23/24 Prediction: Mid-Table

Bristol City

When Nigel Pearson joined Bristol City in 2021, the board installed a three year plan to steady the ship, and fight for promotion to the premier league. It’s now the third year of that plan, and so far it’s gone okay. The club has improved on its table position for two consecutive years, but last seasons 14th left a fair gap to cover in order to make the play offs this season.

But the board have shown they are willing to fund the Robins push towards promotion, so far bringing in 4 players including Rob Dickie, who will be looking to show the same form he had for QPR in 21/22, and youngster Haydon Roberts, whose successful spell in Derbyshire last season sees him earn a move to a higher division. This while retaining almost all of their squad, but with the near-guarantee that wonderkid Alex Scott will be adorning the Premier League Badge by September (or possibly by the time this preview is released) `City will be left without one of their brightest players from an otherwise average 22/23.

Overall, the club is certainly taking steps in the right direction, but with fierce competition for play offs expected again this season, three years may be too optimistic, and it will be interesting as to whether, should he fail, Pearson will find himself in the Ashton Gate dugout next season.

23/24 Prediction: Outside the Play Offs

Cardiff City

It wasn’t too long ago that Cardiff City finished with 2nd in the league, only missing out on the title to a Wolves side that finished in the European spots in the Prem the following season. Since then however, the Bluebirds have been on a downward trajectory since. After their relegation in 18/19, Cardiff have had consecutively worse finishes since, with last season’s 21st place only saving them from relegation thanks to Reading’s points deduction.

New loan signing Karlan Grant (Credit: Cardiff City FC)

Over the summer, the Cardiff board have been busy. Firstly, Sabri Lamouchi was replaced as manager with Erol Bulut after owner Vincent Tan decided not to offer Lamouchi a new contract. Cardiff have also signed five new players to help bolster the squad, including experienced Centre back Dimitrios Goutas from the Turkish Super Lig, Striker Karlan Grant on loan from West Brom to try and help with their goalscoring problems, and former youth graduate Aaron Ramsey after his release by Nice.

Despite this, it seems difficult to imagine Cardiff not finding themselves in a relegation fight, or even in the third tier next year.

23/24 Prediction: Relegation Scrap

Coventry City

In early May, Coventry City chairman Doug King announced a Premier League package, offering fans the chance at a free season ticket should the Sky Blues reach the top flight within 5 years. With Coventry subsequently only missing out on promotion at the first attempt thanks to a penalty shootout in the Play Off Final. 

With Star man Viktor Gyökeres’ departure for 20x the price he was brought in for, Coventry have earned some valuable financial breathing room, at the expense of league’s 2nd highest scorer and top assister.

Coventry’s stellar recruitment will on the hunt for their next Gyökeres who will be able to further propel the Sky Blues’ aspiration. This, alongside one of the best managers in the EFL at the helm, and a promising squad, there is no reason why Coventry can’t push on and those 5000 faithful Sky Blues won’t receive their free season ticket, it just may take a couple more years

23/24 Prediction: Play Offs

Huddersfield Town

On March 16th, with just 9 games left of the season, Huddersfield sat 23rd in the league, 6 points adrift of safety. What followed was what can only be described as the great escape. The Terriers picked up 40% of their points tally for the season in the last 20% of the games. All this adds up to explain Huddersfield as possible the most confusing team in the Championship. 

Huddersfield Town’s home ground, the John Smith’s stadium (Credit: Coventry City FC)

Since promotion from League One in 2012, the club has only finished outside the bottom six of the Championship four times. Two of those were play off finishes, and the other two were during their stint in the premiership. Realistically, you can never guess where Huddersfield will finish next. Especially now Neil Warnock has been secured to manage them for the upcoming season.

That being said, a lack of transfer, bringing in only two new signings while losing four including key players such as Duane Holmes and Etienne Camara business leaves Huddersfield with a deficit of players after several were released in June at the end of their contracts

23/24 Prediction: Relegation Scrap

Hull City

After a surprise drop into the 3rd tier in 2020, Hull saw their third consecutive rise in league position last season, taking them into the promising midtable position. To continue this rise and hopefully challenge for the play offs, Hull have brought in Xavier Simons on a permanent deal after a reasonably successful loan in 22/23, as well as Jason Lokilo who had his own successful period on loan in the Turkish Super Lig. 

These permanent signings have been joined by Liam Delap and Ruben Vinagre on loans from Man City and Sporting respectively. Meanwhile, Portuguese Centre Back Tobias Figueiredo left the club after just one season due to being out of favour with manager Liam Rosenior, and ever-present full-back Callum Elder deciding against extending his contract and moving to League One side Derby County.

The Tigers have certainly strengthened over the summer, but with the increase in strength of the league overall, Hull will struggle to improve on previous finishes.

23/24 Prediction: Mid-Table

Ipswich Town

Ipswich Town’s final 15 match run of the 22/23 season will go down as one of the best runs of an EFL side in recent history. The Tractor Boys won 13 games and drew 2 in the run that took them from being almost resigned to the play offs and into the automatic promotion spots, only missing out of treble figures after a draw against Fleetwood on the final day.

It doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that Ipswich could build on this success in the forthcoming season. The signings of Peterborough star Jack Taylor and a permanent deal for George Hirst, who spent the second half of the season in Suffolk, while keeping hold of every major asset in their promotion, will give Ipswich fans every right to be excited for what’s ahead for the club, especially with Kieran McKenna signing a contract that will keep him at Portman Road until 2027.

23/24 Prediction: Mid-Table

Leeds United

Okay, there’s a lot to talk about with this one.

When Marcelo Bielsa led Leeds back to the Premiership after their 16 year absence that saw them drop into the third tier for the first time in their history, it felt like Leeds could be back to stay. Three years later, however, and West Yorkshire’s finest are back to square one.

In a potential attempt to convince players to sign for Leeds, club management installed relegation loan clauses into the contracts of many club regulars, leaving the players with the ability to easily leave the club should relegation occur. Had Leeds been at little risk of relegation, this would be a smart move. Unfortunately for Leeds, they were relegated, and have now lost five players to loan deals that, while Leicester and Southampton receive money for players like Maddison and Lavia, will reap little to no monetary value. 

Rodrigo was one of several players who chose to leave Elland Road over the summer (Credit: Leeds United)

The one player that Leeds had that could’ve raised some funds, even if little in comparison to their relegated compatriots, was Rodrigo. Unfortunately for Leeds, he was given a relegation release clauses of just £3 million, which was activated by Qatari Al-Rayyan on July 13th. But it’s okay, because the Whites still have a large sum of money from the sale of Raphinha the previous year. Unfortunately for Leeds, a large bulk of that was spent as part of Leeds transfer dealings last season, with purchases during last season’s two transfer windows totalling over £120 million, as well as the fiasco surrounding Jean-Kevin Augustin’s 2020 transfer.

Granted, it’s not all bad for Leeds, there is one key player that avoided the loan relegation release clauses, Wilfred Gnonto. Gnonto was a revelation for Leeds last season, scoring twice and assisting four times in 24 premier league matches, earning himself and Italy call-up in the process. Should Leeds retain his services, this season could be the chance to demonstrate his capabilities and establish himself as one of the EFL’s best young stars.

Despite the difficulties Leeds face with regards to their contracts and financial business, there is still opportunity for the team to push on and target promotion at the first opportunity, even if they now appear to be the weakest of the three teams relegated. Should they get promoted, it will be crucial they do not make the same mistakes as before.

23/24 Prediction: Play Off Contenders

Leicester City

With an annual wage bill of over £180 million, Leicester earned the unfortunate title of the most expensive squad to be relegated in Premier League history from The Price of Football’s Kieran Maguire last May.

Potentially the biggest shock relegation since Blackburn’s in 1999, the Foxes were relegated on the final day by a single point. The last decade has seen the most successful period in the East Midlands club’s history, with their first second tier title since 1980, and their first top flight and FA Cup titles in their history and, Despite the club pushing for UCL places just two years prior, the lingering impacts of COVID restricting any transfer business, alongside serious failings across the club’s hierarchy, left the Foxes as a side that seemed ‘too good to go down’, but find themselves back in the Championship, nonetheless.

New signing Harry Winks (Credit: Leicester City FC)

While losing key players such as Tielemans and Soyuncu for free after their contracts expired, Leicester have already made a reported £40 million from the transfer of star player James Maddison and are expected to make a higher revenue on the sale of youth product Harvey Barnes. Some of this money has already been reinvested into the playing squad, with proven Premier League players Harry Winks and Conor Coady brought in to strengthen the vacant positions left by outgoings.

Guardiola managerial prodigies have a track record of going on to do great things, and the Foxes will be hoping that Enzo Maresca will be no exception, propelling Leicester back to Premier League, in a similar fashion to Vincent Kompany’s Burnley.

23/24 Prediction: Champions


When Michael Carrick joined Boro on October 24th, 2022, the club sat in 21st in the league, precariously above the relegation zone. Despite some initial teething problems in his opening match against Preston, Carrick’s side went on an incredible run, winning 15 of their next 19 matches, quickly placing them as frontrunner of the pack chasing Sheffield United for 2nd place, eventually falling short at the final run in and dropping behind Luton to 4th.

Even with and their subsequent defeat to Coventry in the play-offs, Boro are still one of the bookies favourites to fight for promotion. Middlesbrough haven’t been shy in the transfer market so far, bringing in six new signings by the first week of July, but will struggle to replicate the quality shown by their loan signings, namely full back Ryan Giles and forward Cameron Archer with both finding themselves playing top flight football this season.

23/24 Prediction: Promotion


Millwall once again finished the season shy of the play offs, with their third 8th place since returning to the second tier in 2017. 

The new season started in a heart-breaking manner, with chairman John Berlyson passing away after a car accident. After a period of mourning, Berlyson’s son, James, was named as the new chairman. James is committed to continuing the plans his father had for the club, and the actions of the club so far this summer are a clear indication of that. Signings including clinical striker Kevin Nisbet, and full backs Wes Harding and Joe Bryan are indications of ambitions to push for Premier League football. 

The Lions’ success at retaining their key players from last season should give fans confidence that this season could finally be the year The Den plays host to play off football.

23/24 Prediction: Play Off Contenders

Part two of the EFL Championship preview will cover Norwich down to West From. You can find it here.