72 Football League teams get their campaigns underway this weekend, but the pressure and interest will primarily be focused on the Championship, where Wolverhampton Wanderers are hoping to make an instant impact after securing promotion with a record points haul last season.
The Jackett fits for Wolves
Kenny Jackett wasted no time rebuilding last season as his Wolves side made short work of their solitary season in the third tier.
Wolves are now back at a level where they no doubt feel they belong, and while the more pragmatic of the Molineux faithful would take a season of consolidation, there will be some supporters hoping for a little bit more.
Jackett hasn’t carried out the kind of squad surgery we’ve seen from Brentford and Rotherham, whether it being a reward for the squad that did exactly what was expected of them, or simply the belief that a squad that was far too good for League One will be good enough for the Championship.
A failure to offload big earners like Kevin Doyle and Jamie O’Hara may also mean financial prudence is very much the order of the day.
Still, backed by a vociferous home crowd and with an experienced man like Jackett in charge it should be a season in which Wolverhampton at free of the stress and pressure found at the top and bottom of the division.
Transfers In*: Tommy Rowe (Peterborough, free), Rajiv van La Parra (Heerenveen, free)
Transfers Out*: Michael Ihiekwe (Tranmere, free), Zeli Ismail & Jake Cassidy (Notts County, loan), Kortney Hause (Gillingham, loan), George Elokobi (Oldham, free)
One To Watch: Danny Batth (defender)
One of the success stories of Wolves’ League One promotion was the form of central defender Danny Batth. Ever present, the 23-year-old formed a formidable partnership with Richard Stearman as Wolves cruised to the League One title, conceding just 31 goals in 46 matches.
The Championship will provide a greater challenge, but Batth has all the attributes to accommodate and be a success. A tall and strong, old fashioned British centre back Batth’s approach is no-nonsense and he will relish the physical challenge.
Batth will be desperate to make a success of himself at this level after suffering the pain of relegation two years ago.
With the trust of manager Kenny Jackett, Batth could really flourish this season and Wolves will be looking for a strong backbone and the require all their defensive strength to surivive.
Selected Odds: Champions 20-1; Promotion 13-2; Relegation 14-1
Opening Fixtures: Norwich (H), Rotherham (A), Fulham (A)