BARNSLEY

Matt says: "The Tykes are a very well-run club who did well to survive in the npower Championship last term but I sense that 2012/13 could be another long, hard campaign for them. Manager Keith Hill will have been sad to lose Andy Gray and Jacob Butterfield this summer - who will both be sorely missed - but he's made some interesting acquisitions of his own, especially in the shape of Egyptian front man Mido, who at his best when fully fit is a quality player capable of playing at the highest level. That one's a signing which could go either way once he returns from injury in a few months' time. I also like the look of new keeper Ben Alnwick, who has joined from Spurs, and ex-Chelsea youngster Jacob Mellis too, who was infamously sacked by the Blues for letting off a smoke grenade at the club's training ground. Both guys are young talents with points to prove in the professional game. At Oakwell, Barnsley are always a match for anyone, but if they are to have any hopes of avoiding a nervous scrap at the foot of the table they simply have to accrue more points on their travels. The Yorkshiremen only managed a measly 17 points away from home last term, scoring just 18 goals and if that's not improved upon I fear for their future in the division. In Hill and assistant boss David Flitcroft the club are in safe hands, as they're two of English football's brightest and most innovative management teams, but when I look at other squads in the second tier I do see Barnsley as one of the weaker outfits."

Matt's Prediction: 23rd
Last Season: 21st

BIRMINGHAM CITY

Matt says: "Losing Chris Hughton to Norwich City was a serious blow to Blues fans, who were delighted with the work he was doing at St Andrew's but I do feel that the board has made an excellent choice by naming Lee Clark as his replacement at the helm. In my view he was harshly dismissed by Huddersfield Town and with a point to prove he'll be working overtime in a bid to restore his reputation as one of English football's most promising young managers this season. Compared to some of their promotion rivals Birmingham City don't have a great deal to spend but they've strengthened intelligently during the summer by adding Darren Ambrose, Peter Lovenkrands and Hayden Mullins, who will all be crucial players for the club in 2012/13. I played with Ambrose and he's a magnificent talent at this level, with a knack for scoring plenty of goals from midfield on a consistent basis. The speed of Lovenkrands and the experience of Mullins will also make the Blues more formidable. I'll also be fascinated to see how former Manchester United prodigy Ravel Morrison fares during his season-long loan and it is a huge season for young keeper Jack Butland, who impressed me enormously for Team GB at the Olympic Games, showing great shot-stopping ability and a fine temperament too. They aren't shoe-ins for the play-offs but I think they can repeat last season's fourth place finish."

Matt's Prediction: 4th
Last Season: 4th

BLACKBURN ROVERS

Matt says: "While it was inevitable that star men Junior Hoilett and Yakubu would move on to pastures new, I think Steve Kean will be pleased to have kept hold of the majority of his squad for the club's first npower Championship campaign in 12 years. The two stand-out arrivals are Portuguese striker Nuno Gomes and former England international Danny Murphy, and it's the ex-Fulham man that I expect to have the most impact at Ewood Park. I played with Danny at Charlton and he's a lovely guy that knows the game inside out. Whether he's playing or not - and I don't expect him to be able to feature in all 46 games - he will be a tremendous character to have within the dressing room and that will boost Rovers no end. Big money signing Leon Best is out for six months with a knee injury though, which is a hammer blow on the eve of the season. The search for another big name striker continues. Ever since Kean took over as boss the club has been through turbulent times, so it's vital that they get off to a flying start. Beginning brightly might appease Kean's critics but on the flip side I can imagine the atmosphere being heated if Blackburn don't start winning matches right from the off. The toughest test for Rovers could well be making the adaption from Premier League football quickly. I've been there as a player before and they can't afford to dwell on the past; their attitude has to be focussed on making an immediate return to the top flight."

Matt's Prediction: 2nd
Last Season: 19th in Premier League

BLACKPOOL

Matt says: "Wembley heartbreak in May will have hurt the Tangerines so much but they've shown before how resilient a club they can be, so I don't expect it to affect them adversely early on. In Ian Holloway they have an outstanding manager and he'll know all too well that the longer you stay in the npower Championship the harder it is to get out of it, which is why I expect Blackpool to go at it full throttle right from the word go this season. It's been a quiet summer with veterans Keith Southern and Brett Ormerod moving on, and several low key signings introduced but this period of stability could work well in their favour. Let's not forget that any side which possesses the match-winning abilities of Kevin Phillips, Matt Phillips, Barry Ferguson, Thomas Ince and Gary Taylor-Fletcher has to feel confident, and the one thing you know you'll always get with Olly's side is a positive, attacking threat. Entertainment-wise Blackpool are great value and that won't change this year, but they will need to concede fewer goals away from Bloomfield Road over the course of the campaign, as the 38 they shipped last season cost them an automatic promotion spot. The division looks tougher this time around so Blackpool may not better 5th but you can be sure that they will go for it."

Matt's Prediction: 8th
Last Season: 5th

BOLTON WANDERERS

Matt says: "The Trotters are my tip for the title but this time last year I was saying the same about big spending Leicester City and we all know how difficult they found it to mount a promotion campaign. However, when I look at Owen Coyle's squad I see a group of talented players that really shouldn't have been relegated and match winners like on loan Arsenal teenager Benik Afobe, Marvin Sordell, Chris Eagles and Kevin Davies should thrive in the npower Championship. New boys Matt Mills, who is a fine leader despite not settling at Leicester, and Keith Andrews - who was the Republic of Ireland's best player at Euro 2012 - will add steel and experience to the side too. Every team needs a midfielder who breaks forward to score goals and I believe Andrews will fill that role excellently at the Reebok. Chairman Phil Gartside has always insisted he has complete faith in Owen Coyle to bring Bolton back to the top flight and I hope he continues to see it that way because he's a boss I admire greatly. Having earned promotion with Burnley not so long ago I believe he is more than capable of guiding Bolton to an immediate return. This is a side that are sure to play exciting, attacking football and I am not the slightest bit surprised that they have been instilled as favourites by the bookmakers. Can they live up to that tag? I think they can."

Matt's Prediction: 1st
Last Season: 18th in Premier League

BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION

Matt says: "The south coast club are extremely ambitious and the loan capture of Wayne Bridge from Manchester City shows just how far they have progressed. I don't believe a player of Bridge's pedigree would have dropped down to the npower Championship unless he felt the Seagulls would enjoy a positive, promotion chasing season - and I agree that they will be right in the hunt. It's probably fashionable to say it but I really do rate Gus Poyet. He's a cool-headed coach that plays football in a very patient, attractive way and we'll see plenty more quality from them this year I'm sure. I feared Brighton might lose the Uruguayan this summer but he's still at the Withdean helm and that's a massive boost to their prospects. On the pitch, classy Spanish stars Vicente and Inigo Calderon will be more battle-hardened towards the English game, and as a side that fluid, passing style is bound to develop and improve as the months go by. New signing Andrew Crofts has returned to Sussex having helped take Norwich City to the Premier League, so his influence and experience can only benefit them too. Having retained the majority of his squad from last term, Poyet will be hoping and expecting his men to finish above tenth place, and I strongly fancy them to achieve that goal. Promotion may be beyond them, but I think they have the ability to go very close."

Matt's Prediction: 6th
Last Season: 10th

BRISTOL CITY

Matt says: "Keeping the Robins in the npower Championship last season was no mean achievement by Derek McInnes and his players, but I'm afraid I have serious question marks over their chances of a repeat in 2012/13. The City squad looks light on numbers to me and that makes me wonder if they have the strength in depth to get through the winter in good shape, especially if injuries hit them hard. The likes of Jon Stead and Brett Pitman will score a few goals but without Nicky Maynard they no longer have a prolific marksman that they can rely upon to earn them those precious points when games are tight. At the other end, Tom Heaton is an excellent replacement for David James in goal though. He shone when used by Cardiff City last season and will be determined to make the number one shirt his own. In terms of what Bristol City need to do to stay up, it's clear that home form has to be better. Ashton Gate isn't an easy place to visit traditionally but last year they only tasted success seven times in front of their home fans and that's not good enough as it puts too much pressure on the tests they face on the road. City aren't one of the bigger clubs and don't have pots of cash to invest on new players, so team spirit and unity will have to be spot on. If it isn't, and the squad's hit by injuries I fear this could be a struggle for the Bristolians."

Matt's Prediction: 24th
Last Season: 20th

BURNLEY

Matt says: "This is a big season for Burnley boss Eddie Howe and for several of his star players. Can they produce more consistency than they did last term, or will this be another up and down campaign for the Lancashire side? I believe they're capable of more than they produced in 2011/12, which turned out to be a flat, nothing season if truth be told. They didn't ever look truly secure at the back, and Howe has addressed that issue with the signing of Jason Shackell - who I know that many Derby County fans were upset to see leave. Shackell is a player I admire and he'll provide that strength, leadership and voice which was missing so often for Burnley in defence last season. The new problem they face now is to fill the gap left by star striker Jay Rodriguez, who fully deserved his summer move to Southampton. He was a class act so much will depend on how nicely new signing Sam Vokes gels with Charlie Austin in attack. If they hit it off he may not be missed as much as expected but a lot of responsibility will rest on their shoulders. I know Eddie Howe well and he'll be unhappy with last season's efforts and be desperate to push for a play-off spot. It won't be easy for them."

Matt's Prediction: 14th
Last Season: 13th

CARDIFF CITY

Matt says: "It's created huge debate but believe it or not Cardiff's prospects won't be affected one way or the other if they play in red or blue this season. Last year I felt Malky Mackay did a tremendous job in guiding the Welshmen to the Carling Cup final and a sixth place finish on limited funds, but I do wonder if they will be able to improve on that in 2012/13. On the positive side it's fantastic to see Peter Whittingham readying himself for another campaign in Cardiff City colours. He's a superb asset and has been subject of a great deal of interest from other clubs. It's also been somewhat of a coup to bring Heidur Helguson to the club, as I feel he's a front player who will shine at npower Championship level. From what I saw, he was outstanding at times for QPR in the Premier League, holding the ball up and using his physical presence brilliantly in the 18-yard box. If the rest of the side can get balls into the box Helguson could create havoc. As they showed against Liverpool at Wembley in the League Cup final Cardiff have the basis of a very good starting XI but do they have the strength in depth to make a real impact on the division? Malky Mackay is a wily fox but if he takes them to another play-off semi-final he'll have done really well."

Matt's Prediction: 7th
Last Season: 6th

CHARLTON ATHLETIC

Matt says: "I love my old team-mate Powelly - he's such a top bloke - so I can imagine that the atmosphere at The Valley is tremendous right now as they bask in the glory of a truly outstanding npower League 1 title-winning campaign. This time last year the Addicks had a completely new squad but changes have been kept to a minimum in 2012, and rightly so because Chris couldn't have expected any more from his players. They deserve the chance to play at this level. Captain Johnnie Jackson is a top player and I'm also a fan of strike duo Bradley Wright-Phillips and Yann Kermorgant but this will be a step up for all of them. In recent times we've witnessed Norwich City and Southampton go back-to-back with promotions and it wouldn't shock me if Charlton managed it as well, but that's probably my heart and not my head talking. They will need to defend better as a unit and learn how to play on the counter attack more clinically, which might take time to perfect, but when a club rides on the crest of a wave like this sometimes they are an unstoppable force. Charlton won't be in relegation bother but it could be asking too much to expect another promotion bid."

Matt's Prediction: 13th
Last Season: 1st in npower League 1

CRYSTAL PALACE

Matt says: "Eagles fans have endured a miserable summer, watching on helplessly as Darren Ambrose, Nathaniel Clyne, Sean Scannell and Anthony Gardner were sold on. Will England under-21 winger Wilfried Zaha be next to go before the transfer window closes? Palace supporters will be desperately hoping that doesn't happen. It's been a mass exodus and unless Dougie Freedman is given some money to spend on replacements you fear it could be a long, hard season for him and his side which has been shorn of some real top quality talent. The arrival of Aaron Wilbraham is a positive but they probably need a few more bodies. The bookies don't get too much wrong, and they have Palace down as relegation material, which given the business that's been done and their difficult end to last season, is understandable. Mind you, I saw a lot of plusses last season from Freedman and his troops, not least good fighting character and team spirit which bodes well. The Scot himself is a promising young boss that enjoyed a fabulous debut season but 2012/13 will be a vastly different and far trickier test of his skills by the looks of it. The emergence of more young gems from the Crystal Palace academy could yet save the day but on paper and at this stage of proceedings there aren't too many reasons for Eagles supporters to smile."

Matt's Prediction: 21st
Last Season: 17th

DERBY COUNTY

Matt says: "Since their relegation from the top flight in 2008 Derby County have made little impact on the npower Championship but their 12th place finish last season was their best effort yet during that period. The Rams have had the feel of a mid-table team for a number of years now and you suspect that's what they might have to settle for once again this time. The sale of defender Jason Shackell was a blow but that disappointment has been tempered by the capture of Richard Keogh, who has been Coventry City's main man for the last two campaigns, so defensively I think they'll be relatively sound again. The issue they face is scoring goals, especially at Pride Park where they totalled just 28 last season - well below the division's average. Two new names to watch are Paul Coutts and Michael Jacobs who have been signed from Preston North End and Northampton Town respectively. They aren't big stars but I've seen both players a fair bit and rate them highly. Nigel Clough is a canny manager who knows what he's doing but it's hard to see this particular set of players mounting a serious push for a place in the Premier League. The Rams have a good solid team but they won't be striking too much fear into opposition sides this year."

Matt's Prediction: 17th
Last Season: 12th

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN

Matt says: "So far so good for the Terriers in their quest to retain the services of forward Jordan Rhodes but between now and the end of the month it's apparent that they will have to fight off bids from more than one suitor. If the Scotland international stays at the Galpharm Stadium it will provide Huddersfield Town with such a psychological boost and no shortage of goals either, so their hopes do hang in the balance to some degree. Aside from that issue Simon Grayson knows what the npower Championship is all about and that's a reason for fans to feel optimistic. He's made some interesting signings too in the shape of Sean Scannell, Keith Southern, Joel Lynch, Anthony Gerrard and Adam Clayton among others. The rebuilding process has begun and the board will back him with financial muscle too, so expect one or two late additions this month to come. My main concern for Huddersfield Town is that they came up via the play-offs and having done that myself I know just how hard it is to retain the energy levels used up in that emotional journey. Mentally it can take an awful lot out of you. Perhaps that's why Grayson has reshaped his squad so drastically in recent weeks. Survival shouldn't be a problem but don't expect a top half finish."

Matt's Prediction: 20th
Last Season: 4th in npower League 1

HULL CITY

Matt says: "A chronic lack of goals - just 47 - definitely cost Hull City a place in the play-offs back in May, so you can be sure that Steve Bruce is itching to add plenty more firepower to his new side this season. I like Brucey, I think he's a very good manager, and because he knows the division well he should do a decent job on Humberside. Player of the Year Robert Koren will be a key man for the Tigers, and if he stays at the KC Stadium that will aid their cause a great deal. If he goes, they will miss his goals and creativity unquestionably. There was some unrest at the club towards the end of last season with popular figure Nick Barmby sacked and embroiled in a major row with the board and I'm sure that there was an element of discontent in the changing room but that won't hold them back moving forwards. Players have to look after their own interests and all of them, to a man, will be desperate to impress the new gaffer in the early few weeks of the 2012/13 season. There are some quality players at the KC - including new signings Abdoulaye Faye and Ben Amos - but are there enough of them to grab a top six finish? Right now I am not sure but there's still time to make some more additions, so watch this space. Steve Bruce will be very keen to restore his managerial reputation with a strong season at Hull City."

Matt's Prediction: 11th
Last Season: 8th

IPSWICH TOWN

Matt says: "Defensively my old club had a torrid time last season and that's the area of the side that Paul Jewell is sure to address as the Blues look to make a promotion push for the first time in many years. No one conceded more times away from home than Ipswich Town in 2011/12, with a whopping 45 goals shipped, and many of those came from silly individual mistakes and set pieces. This has to be worked upon. I'm delighted that former coach and Town stalwart Bryan Klug has returned to Portman Road from a place on the Spurs staff and he's brought highly-rated Australian kid Massimo Luongo with him, so perhaps we should expect the teenager to make an impact. As a Blues fan I really hope that Michael Chopra can find his best form this season because if he does, he will score goals. Last year was a testing time for him off the pitch but he's been at a fitness camp all summer and is reportedly looking very sharp. It would also be handy if Jay Emmanuel Thomas can utilise his obvious talents on a more consistent basis this season as he's a match winner. Ipswich Town should improve greatly this term but sadly I don't feel they're ready to mount a promotion push."

Matt's Prediction: 10th
Last Season: 15th

LEEDS UNITED

Matt says: "The Neil Warnock revolution is in full swing and I wouldn't be surprised if Leeds fans are struggling to keep up with all the changes that are taking place at Elland Road. Of the departures it will have stung most to lose Robert Snodgrass to Norwich City as he's been a symbolic player for the side in recent seasons, scoring many goals and influencing matches from midfield. That said, the likes of Paul Green, Paddy Kenny, Andy Gray, Luke Varney and David Norris will add plenty of quality to the side. Those last two in particular, Norris and Varney, are just the kind of players that can make things happen and I'd expect them to chip in with lots of goals between them. Trying to predict how Warnock's new-look squad will fare is near on impossible. It could take them months to gel, or it may click right from the word go. You just don't know. The biggest task they face right now is to convince Ross McCormack to stick around. He was top scorer in 2011/12 and they will be desperate to cling on to him, despite interest from many clubs. The Leeds boss has a proven track record so it's hard to bet against him reviving the glory days but I have a funny feeling that it won't come too easily for the Yorkshiremen this term."

Matt's Prediction: 12th
Last Season: 14th

LEICESTER CITY

Matt says: "The Foxes made me look a bit silly last season, as this time 12 months ago I was telling people I was sure that they would be promoted to the Premier League. It never got going for them sadly, but with Nigel Pearson now in charge you sense that everything has calmed down a little at the King Power Stadium. He's a sensible manager that knows small tweaks rather than radical changes are required, and that's what has been happening during the summer break. I do like the look of Zak Whitbread and Wes Morgan in defence, and going forward they have a lot of attacking options to choose from too, especially in the shape of David Nugent and Jermaine Beckford spearheading things. The club's ambitious owners are very driven and will demand success but if they are able to show an element of patience - and not panic - I feel they could be rewarded at the end of the season. There's so much less pressure on the Foxes this year and with the weight of expectations lowered a little, it might play right into their hands. I'm hearing that team spirit is sky high in pre-season, so this could be a fabulous campaign for the east Midlanders, but it is likely to build as it goes on."

Matt's Prediction: 3rd
Last Season: 9th

MIDDLESBROUGH

Matt says: "Tony Mowbray won't ever change his footballing principles, so win, lose or draw expect to see Middlesbrough playing a brand of attractive, passing football. They really are a superb team to watch these days. The drawback the Teesiders face is that they don't have the financial firepower that some of their rivals possess, so my former team-mate is working with a lot of young players, which often leads to inconsistency - and the size of the squad does mean that an injury crisis has the potential to hurt them pretty hard too. Of the new arrivals, older head Jonathan Woodgate is the main man and if he can remain fit he'll be the signing of the season. What a classy defender he is, but will he be able to steer clear of the medical room? I hope so. Another quality addition is Grant Leadbitter, who wasn't universally popular at Ipswich, but I rated him as an influential member of the team. January signing Lucas Jutciewicz hasn't set the world on fire since arriving at the Riverside but if he steps up a gear or two he could grab himself a hatful this term. If he does, and the kids continue to flourish around him I foresee another exciting season for Boro - but are they strong enough to go up? I'm afraid I have a few doubts about that but Mowbray is unquestionably building something special at the club."
Matt's Prediction: 9th
Last Season: 7th

MILLWALL

Matt says: "The Lions punched above their weight to survive relegation comfortably in 2011/12 but they will do well to match that performance in the season ahead in my view. As has often been the case, Kenny Jackett's players will rely greatly on togetherness, and fighting spirit because player for player they appear to be one of the weaker squads in the division. Eight victories on the road last season was a marvellous effort and should provide them with loads of confidence but whether they will be able to recreate that terrific formula again remains to be seen. For me, Darius Henderson is the key man. His 19 goals (15 of which came in the league) were vital to the Lions' success and Jackett will require similar heroics from the burly striker again. If he struggles, or misses too many games through injury, I wonder where the goals will come from in that side. That said, Millwall are never easy to beat and remain defensively resilient. No one who visits the New Den this season is likely to come away having cruised to victory without getting a sweat on. They'll work hard, they'll put in the tackles and unsettle opposition teams with an extremely high work rate but do Millwall have enough quality to survive too? Actually, I think they just about do and one or two of their young talents could come to the fore this year."

Matt's Prediction: 19th
Last Season: 16th

NOTTINGHAM FOREST

Matt says: "I felt sorry for Steve Cotterill when he was relieved of his duties by Nottingham Forest's new owners this summer but they've bagged themselves an outstanding coach in the shape of Sean O'Driscoll, who I worked with many years ago at Bournemouth. Those that remember Forest playing a lovely brand of attacking, passing football under Brian Clough, can expect to see a return to that style as he's a manager that preaches to his players that this is the right way to play the game. As long as the results don't go badly I'd be amazed if O'Driscoll doesn't quickly become a fans' favourite at the City Ground. Last season Forest flirted way too close to the relegation zone for comfort and a record of just six home wins from 19 attempts clearly explains where the problems lied. That poor form has to improve radically this time around, and I think it will. New signings Daniel Ayala, Simon Gillett, Greg Halford, Danny Collins, Dan Harding and Adlene Guedioura are an impressive collection of new talent but it's a natural goalscorer that will be O'Driscoll's main target to find before the end of the month. He has good forwards such as Matt Derbyshire, Dexter Blackstock and Ishmael Miller at his disposal but no one managed double figures in 2011/12. A mid-table finish might not be an exciting target but that's where I think Nottingham Forest should be happy with come next May."

Matt's Prediction: 15th
Last Season: 19th

PETERBOROUGH UNITED

Matt says: "Several of the Posh squad were put up for sale at the end of last season in a bid to recoup some much-needed cash but so far we haven't witnessed the mass exodus that many people were expecting - and I'd imagine Darren Ferguson isn't too upset by that. One addition he has made is that of Stevenage midfielder Michael Bostwick and while he might not be a household name I do think he's the type of player that will improve Peterborough United this year. He's got a superb engine and possesses the ability to drive forward and score goals, so watch out for how he performs in the coming months. The one guy who stood out above the rest after his move from Crawley Town in January was Tyrone Barnett. A lot of fans were wondering if he could make the step up but he took to the npower Championship as if it was a comfortable stroll in the park which was mightily impressive. He'll be a marked man this time around but I can still see him plundering plenty more goals in a Posh shirt despite the extra attention. To be honest Peterborough United will always struggle to stay at this level because crowds aren't massive and they don't have tons of money available to spend but with shrewd management and a huge effort from the players they are capable of survival. Will they over achieve again? It could be tough."

Matt's Prediction: 22nd
Last Season: 18th

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY

Matt says: "Since losing their npower Championship status in 2010, the Owls have undergone a major transformation on and off the pitch, and I have to say that Sheffield Wednesday currently appear to be in as strong as a position as they have been in a long time. Hats off to Milan Mandaric for the work he's done to pick the club off the deck, and we all know that Dave Jones is one of the top bosses operating at this level too. If they can't thrive in this division with him in charge, they never will. The players should be feeling cock-a-hoop at winning promotion - especially given the impressive way they finished in April and May - so that confidence is likely to help the side get off to a decent start. Securing the permanent signature of Michail Antonio from Reading will have lifted the squad too as he was outstanding while on loan last term. The one player I'm most looking forward to seeing this season for Wednesday is forward Gary Madine. He's a big lad with fabulous ability, I like him, and it will be interesting to see if he can dominate defenders at this level as much as he did in npower League 1. I see this as a season focussed on adaptation, so don't expect a top six finish, but I don't envisage them having to bite their finger nails too often. They should consolidate comfortably."

Matt's Prediction: 18th
Last Season: 2nd in npower League 1

WATFORD

Matt says: "Watford will be virtually unrecognisable from the club that did so well under Sean Dyche and co, so it's hard to predict accurately how they will do. The changes have been so, so radical that it could go one of two ways. You certainly can't accuse the club's new Italian owners of failing to make their mark though. In has come Gianfranco Zola as boss, along with eight new members of staff and a clutch of Italian-based players on loan too - alongside Manuel Almunia and Fitz Hall. From the Hornets' perspective I just hope the Pozzo family aren't using Watford as a feeder club for Udinese. If they do throw more weight behind their bid to take the club back to English football's top flight this could be a thrilling campaign but as it stands today we're all a little bit in the dark. I do think they'll miss Adrian Mariappa, who has been sold to Reading, but with cash to spend you would expect them to create plenty of competition for places within the squad. Last season Watford's kids were sensational - so I sincerely hope that Zola will continue to give them a platform to shine this season, rather than ditching them for all these newcomers. I'd be nervous if I were a Watford fan but nevertheless, exciting times could easily lie ahead for them."

Matt's Prediction: 16th
Last Season: 11th

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS

Matt says: "Five wins in nine months made it a morale-sapping campaign for Wolves in 2011/12 but the Black Country boys should still be one of the more powerful forces in the npower Championship this season. It looks as if they will have to mount their challenge without top scorer Steven Fletcher though, who has submitted a transfer request - and Michael Kightly who has already been sold - but the bulk of their squad has remained at Molineux which bodes well for their prospects. I actually feel that Wolves have the basis of a strong side, and shouldn't really have been relegated in the first place, but if they lose too many more star men between now and the close of the transfer window that will be a concern. New boss Stale Solbakken will bring his own ideas and a new philosophy which may take time to bed in, but with parachute money available to spend, I do think Wolves will have the option to strengthen should their results falter in the first few months of the campaign. It's a new era for the club, who will be devastated to have lost their top flight status but they'll be right in the mix to earn a play-off spot next May."

Matt's Prediction: 5th
Last Season: 20th in Premier League