Queens Park Rangers start life back in the Sky Bet Championship as the bookies' favorites for the title following their relegation from the Premier League last season.

Boss Harry Redknapp will be buoyed by the capture of Charlie Austin from Burnley two days prior to the start of the season, making up for the disappointment of missing out on hot-shot Gary Hooper, who opted to join Norwich City despite the Rs having a bid accepted for the striker.

Redknapp has added experienced head Richard Dunne from Aston Villa to aid the challenge of bringing Premier League football back to Loftus Road, while Danny Simpson will be looking to get back into the top flight with his new club after joining from Newcastle United.

A raft of names have left the club following relegation, with the £12million departure of Christopher Samba the highest profile, alongside Djibril Cisse.

Fellow Sky Bet Championship new boys Reading will look to give QPR a run for their money, with key man Adam Le Fondre hoping to fire the Royals back to the top flight.

Le Fondre's 14-goal haul last season showed his ability to get the better of the country's finest goalkeepers, and the Royals will rely heavily on his goalscoring talents in their charge for promotion.

Adam Le Fondre

Manager Nigel Adkins has brought experienced left-back Wayne Bridge and former Everton loanee Royston Drenthe to the Madejski Stadium, while Danny Williams has also come on board from Hockenheim, with a heavy core of the 2012 Championship winning squad still available for selection.

Dougie Freedman's Bolton Wanderers will also be hoping to be at the right end of the table at the business end of the season after capturing Jermaine Beckford from Leicester City.

The former Leeds United front man has the ability to tear-up the Sky Bet Championship when in form, and his goalscoring record will go some way to deciding the Trotters' fate this term.

Wanderers will have to do without legendary talisman Kevin Davies, however, who has left the Reebok Stadium to join Sky Bet League 1 outfit Preston North End.


An air of optimism surrounds Nottingham Forrest with Billy Davies back for his first full season in charge since his sacking in 2011.

A hugely experienced Championship manager, Davies holds the record for the most Manager of the Month awards at this level, having picked up two while at Preston, a couple at Derby County, and three in his two spells at Forest, and he knows the division inside-out.

Davies has brought in highly-rated Jack Hobbs on loan from Hull City and has Algerian Djamel Abdoun, who played in the 2010 World Cup, and Dorus de Vries, signed from Wolverhampton Wanderers, to chose from, although Lewis McGugan has deflected to Watford.

Billy Davies

After missing out on the Play-Offs by a single point last season, there's real optimism at the City Ground that they will go one step further this time around.

Gianfranco Zola's Watford will also be fancied to go one better than last term, when they reached the Play-Off Final, by gaining promotion to the top flight this season.

The Hornets relied heavily on the loan market last time out but having secured many of those players on permanent contracts for this campaign, Zola's men will fancy their chances.

Troy Deeney will once again be central to the Vicarage Road club's ambitions, having bagged 19 goals last term.

Wigan Athletic will also be popular amongst punters having conducted some astute transfer business across the summer following relegation from the Premier League.

Roberto Martinez has departed for Everton with Owen Coyle joining the Latics in his place, and Coyle has added striker Grant Holt, goalkeeper Scott Carson, defender Leon Barnett and utility right-back James Perch to his squad for the club's first Championship campaign since the 2004/05 season.

Last season's Play-Off contenders Leicester City will be hoping to recapture their form from the first half of last season in order to mount a title challenge.

The Foxes finished sixth despite only winning four games from February onwards, and will need 21 year-old Chris Wood, a mid-season capture from Millwall, to continue the purple patch that saw him net 11 times in 19 games following his move.


Surprise League 1 Play-Off winners Yeovil Town are the rank outsiders to win the Sky Bet Championship, as far out as 250/1, but realistically the season will be all about survival for the Somerset club.

But manager and Huish Park hero Gary Johnson has long been known as a miracle worker amongst Glovers fans, and they will have every confidence that his transfer window dealings will be enough to give them a fighting chance of staying in the division.

Gary Johnson

Sam Hoskins (Southampton), Joey Jones (Leicester), Michael Ngoo (Liverpool, loan), Dan Seaborne (Southampton) and Alan Tate (Swansea, loan) have all joined from higher-level sides, while striker Kieffer Moore and wingers Liam Davis and Joel Grant have also been added to the squad.

Responsibility for firing Johnson's men falls on the shoulders of Paddy Madden, who smashed in 23 goals in League 1 last campaign. The success of Yeovil in the Sky Bet Championship will be largely dependent on how successfully Madden adapts to a new level.

Likewise, Billy Paynter will have to carry on his scoring form from a level below to help Doncaster Rovers push on from their League 1 title victory last season.

The Keepmoat Stadium outfit are used to life in the division, having spent four of the last five seasons in the second tier.

Right-winger Mark Duffy has arrived from Scunthorpe United for an undisclosed fee, while boss Paul Dickov has also brought in Harry Forrester who shone with Brentford last term.

Bournemouth chairman Eddie Mitchell has voiced his ambitions to take the Cherries into the Premier League ahead of their Sky Bet Championship opener with Charlton Athletic. Mitchell told the Bournemouth Daily Echo of his lofty ambitions: "I know I might fall flat on my face and look stupid for saying it but I want us to compete with the best clubs in the country."

The club's Dean Court ground capacity has swelled to 12,000 following the opening of the new South Stand, while the club recently hosted Real Madrid for an exhibition match, giving Cherries fans plenty of optimism ahead of the new season.

Bournemouth v Real Madrid

Boss Eddie Howe has Championship experience with Burnley, and with the momentum of last season's impressive promotion behind them, they will be confident of excelling at this level.