I always love reading the pundits’ season predictions on the various platforms not because I think they will give us an indication of what is to come, but purely for entertainment value. The Championship is too unpredictable and so many of the predictions will be way off. Although they do give us plenty of reason to get into good discussions and debates about the season ahead. I’m sure we all remember Ian Holloways statement that Fulham would finish 17th last season which provided plenty of banter and smugness amongst our fan base.
My predictions will hopefully be less of a disaster than Holloway’s then so here we go-
Dreadfully boring in the Premiership last year and deserved to go down due to their lack of firepower upfront. It’s interesting to note that 4 of the bottom 7 teams in the PL last year lost more games than the Teesiders but a league low of 5 victories was the breaking point. Their backline is similar to last year’s so I can’t see them conceding many while Brit Assombalonga, Ashley Fletcher and Rudy Gestede amongst others will prove too much for many Championship backlines.
Urgh I hate to say it but I think Reading will go one better than last season and go up. I would be putting us here but my worry is squad depth. Our best 11 may be better than Readings, but their depth is much greater. Love it or loathe it, the style they play under Jaap Stam is effective. Not pretty, and I would hate to be watching it every week, but effective.
Play-off spots- Fulham, Villa, Wolves and Norwich (Fulham to win the play-offs)
I’ll not go through them all in detail but I think that if we carry on as we played the second half of last season then we will finish in the playoff places again. Villa may have an aging squad, but they’ll be much better than last season now that Bruce has had his own pre-season with them. Wolves are buying all around them, and while I don’t think that they will go up automatically as some people are expecting, they will have enough to make it to the play-offs. Norwich had a disappointing season last time out but with a few decent additions they will be there or thereabouts.
Relegation- Burton Albion, QPR and Bristol City
I had originally backed Albion to stay up but with record signing Liam Boyce now set to miss the full season through injury, I can’t see a happy ending for them. QPR have gone steadily downhill and I can’t see them playing in the Championship in 2018/19 while Bristol City have been relying on a star striker to keep them up for the past two seasons but I reckon it’s third time unlucky for them now.
Fulham specific predictions-
Finish 3rd– As mentioned above, my heart thinks (or maybe just hopes) that we will manage to finish second but our depth is still too much of a concern. Maybe we haven’t finished in the transfer window yet but as of right now I think it’s third for us but winning promotion through the play-offs. We can dream, eh?
Key signing- We have lot’s of important ones in Kalas and Norwood but on the basis of not having signed a striker in years, I’m going with AK47 himself, Aboubakar Kamara. The 22 year-old helped previous club Amiens to promotion to the top flight in France last year and I reckon it will be two promotions in two years for him.
Will Slav stay the year- YES
We may get an occasional outburst from our head coach, but the fact that he signed a new deal when he knows how the club works tells me that he will stay. If we don’t get promoted then things are less rosy, but we can worry about that next summer if we don’t make it.
Will Cauley Woodrow get his chance- yes, but only here and there
I can’t see Woodrow starting many games in the league barring any injuries but I do think that he will play an important role in cup competitions and off the bench. I think he will net 8-12 goals overall but won’t be our main man.
Breakthrough player- Tayo Edun
I was surprised that Steven Humphries wasn’t included in the First Teams’ preseason this year and that suggests that he is either heading out on loan, or will stay will the U23s. Tayo Edun played an important role in the England U19 European Championship winning side and I think his class in midfield will show off the bench this year. Matt O’Riley also looks like he will be given a chance at some stage as well but a loan deal might be in the offing for now.
Most important player- Tom Cairney
I can’t look past him really. After signing a new deal whenever plenty of clubs were sniffing around him shows loyalty and I reckon it’ll pay off for him this year. McDonald will be close behind him though.
Top Goal scorer- Aboubakar Kamara
He is a striker. What more can I say?
So that brings me to the end of my attempt at predicting the madness ahead. I’m sure not everyone agrees with me but I’m always up for a friendly debate, so let me know what you think will happen in the coming months.
Less than 24 hours before we kick off now. Here’s to a top season in Black and White.