ASTON VILLA

Hopes and expectations?

Nothing but promotion will be acceptable for the fans. We have had a decent pre-season but that counts for nothing. A strong start is vital.

Best bit of business?

Hard to say at this stage. The new keeper Pierluigi Gollini is tipped to do big things but finds himself in the Championship. Could prove to be a masterclass piece of business by Villa or another flop.

Who are you relying on?

Jordan Ayew and Jack Grealish will play massive roles for us this season. If they step up, we should do well.

Predicted finish?

Honestly, I don't know. But I would snap an automatic place from your hands right now. First or second.

Stuart Young (Avillafan)

BARNSLEY

Hopes and expectations?

The hope is to stay up, which is what I expect us to do. We have a young, close-knit squad with a lot of confidence and ability.

Hopefully the momentum from last year’s unexpected promotion will carry us forward.

Best bit of business?

Probably keeping Adam Hammill – fan favourite, talisman, match-winner, whatever. When he's on his game we'll win.

Tom Bradshaw is also a key signing, while George Moncur is highly-rated and versatile.

Stefan Payne from Dover Athletic is a player that I think will surprise a few – he's a quick and direct striker and has been scoring for fun in pre-season.

Who are you relying on?

Connor Hourihane is massive for us. As well as being our captain, he’s also the chief playmaker. All our moves start at his left foot – he sets the pace of the game and is probably the best set-piece specialist I have ever seen at Barnsley.

It’s also critical that the partnership of Marc Roberts and Alfie Mawson stay together – they complement each other brilliantly.

There’s been a lot of interest shown in Mawson, hopefully he stays.

Predicted finish?

There’s an obscene amount of money flying about in this league now, and we can't compete financially – unless the John Stones Cash Bonanza comes through.

We rely on cheap lower-league signings and kids, but they haven't let us down yet, and I don't think they will - 18th.

- Phil Szczoczarz (West Stand Bogs

BIRMINGHAM

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Hopes and expectations?

As it stands, I think we'll be lucky to repeat the 10th-place finish of the last two years.

I think that the amount of money sloshing around the Championship is going to make it increasingly hard to compete.

Best bit of business?

Can I get back to you when we actually sign a player? As per usual, we've been slow to bring in new signings and as such - it's squeaky bum time in some respects.

Who are you relying on?

A lot rests on Diego Fabbrini to create and Clayton Donaldson to score goals. I'm not hopeful.

Predicted finish?

As it stands, 15th. If we bring in a striker, a left-footed winger and a left back, we might do better.

- Daniel Ivery (Often Partisan)

BLACKBURN

Hopes and expectations?

Hopes and expectations are at an all-time low for the vast majority of Rovers fans.

Venky's have cashed in on top players like Cairney, Rhodes, Gestede and Hanley over the last 12 months, replacing them with freebies and loans.

This, coupled with the continued farcical ownership, has led to many fans boycotting the club.

Best bit of business?

Danny Graham proved on loans with us last season that he can score goals at this level. He was impressive, but he needs better players around him than we have at present.

Who are you relying on?

It’s imperative that we get Ben Marshall to sign a new contract. He has the ability to be our star man.

He’s in the last year of his current deal, though, and if no extension is agreed then he will be sold.

Predicted finish?

The next three weeks are crucial. If we make the right signings then we can stay clear of relegation.

If we don't, we will be relegated as at present we have a squad that lacks depth and a manager who has failed in his last three jobs.

Northern Rover (@northern_rover)

BRENTFORD

Hopes and expectations?

It's a bit of a cliché but my hope is that we can kick on from last season.

After a superb first year back in the Championship, the second was always going to be a lot tougher.

But despite a never-ending run of injuries, numerous player sales and three managers, we finished a respectable ninth place and on a red-hot winning streak.

I expect it to be another tough ride but we've got the quality to do well this year.

Best bit of business?

Goalkeeper Dan Bentley has signed from Southend. The fee is yet to be agreed as he was out of contract, but Southend will be due compensation.

He is very highly thought of – he was on the radar of Premier League clubs – and will replace David Button.

Romaine Sawyers, who we signed from Walsall also looks a real talent.

Who are you relying on?

Scott Hogan missed almost two seasons with a couple of really serious knee injuries. When he came back towards the end of the season he scored seven goals in 172 minutes.

With little cover in the striker’s role he will be crucial. If he stays fit, many Bees fans expect him to get at least 25 goals.

Predicted finish?

Ninth again. I should probably be more optimistic as we've got a decent squad but so many teams are spending silly money and I doubt we can compete with the top six.

Anywhere close to the play-offs will be a success for me.

Carl Massey (Beesotted

BRIGHTON

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Hopes and expectations?

If we can do anywhere near as well as last season I'd be delighted.

Picking up 89 points and losing just five games all season is normally enough to go up automatically - it was just typical Brighton to have a season like that with two even more consistent sides in the division.

The Championship looks tougher this year with the teams that have come down, but hopefully we will have a real good go and be in that top six.

Best bit of business?

Keeping last season’s squad together, so far.

We've turned down bids for Lewis Dunk and Dale Stephens, and there has been interest in Beram Kayal.

We've always sold off the family silver before but the fact we seem to be turning down offers for key players from Premier League sides is as big a sign of intent as any.

Who are you relying on?

Anthony Knockaert was a revelation after he arrived in January. Before then, every game we won was by one goal and our 21-game unbeaten run to start the season included several draws.

Knockaert created and scored goals for fun and our style of play became far more attacking.

The prospect of him crossing for the returning Glenn Murray to head home is a very promising one.

Predicted finish?

Top eight. And if we end up in the play-offs again, it will probably be another semi-final defeat to add to the ever-growing collection.

We Are Brighton (@wearebrighton)

BRISTOL CITY

Hopes and expectations?

It’s been a summer of excitement with the Ashton Gate redevelopment and some big signings coming in.

We’ve made seven first-team squad additions over the summer and have spent – for us – a sizeable amount of money rebuilding a threadbare squad.

We showed top-six form from the moment Steve Cotterill was sacked in mid-January, so everyone’s hopeful Lee Johnson can maintain that momentum and lead us to a more successful season.

Best bit of business?

Lee Tomlin is the headline signing. A fantastic for us on loan last spring, he was the one everyone wanted and it’s clear he’s the sort of player who thrives on feeling loved.

He’s probably cost us more than anyone before in terms of fees and wages, but hopefully he can show us all why.

Callum O’Dowda is also highly-rated, but I think the key could be the free capture of Gary O’Neil from Norwich.  His leadership in the middle of the park should allow the young, exciting players to flourish.

Who are you relying on?

Jonathan Kodjia scored 20 goals in his debut season after we found him in the French second-tier.

In a team generally short of goals, he needs to give us that sort of return again.

The defensive spine of Aden Flint and Korey Smith have also been ever-present for two years and are key to our success.

But Tomlin’s the one everyone’s looking forward to watching and if we go well, I’ve no doubt he’ll be the key reason for the success.

Predicted finish?

I think we’re one of those teams who genuinely could finish almost anywhere. If we carry on the momentum from the end of last season despite a tough run of games, we could be knocking on the door of the play-offs.

Struggle in those games, though, and the memories of fighting relegation could resurface and we could be pulled under again.

Realistically I think most fans are thinking somewhere between ninth and 14th. I’m going with 11th.

Paul Binning (The Exiled Robin)

BURTON ALBION

Hopes and expectations?

As Nigel Clough put it in one word after the Leek Town friendly – survival.

Best bit of business?

Lloyd Dyer has Championship pedigree and Chris O'Grady could be a useful source of goals if Clough can get him back to his best.

Jackson Irvine from Ross County is the club's record signing.

Who are you relying on?

A sturdy defence to keep clean sheets. Jon McLaughlin and Mousinho at the back will be key, as will the work rate of players like Lucas Akins and Stuart Beavon.

Predicted finish?

Nineteenth. With some more loan signings and a strong team spirit, I can see the Brewers replicating Rotherham's story from last season.

Robin Grey (@robingrey21)

CARDIFF CITY

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Hopes and expectations?

We came close to securing a play-off spot last season despite not spending a penny.

This season, under new management and with a new system, we have every chance of making the top six - any less would be a failure in the eyes of the board and fans.

Best bit of business?

We've made a couple of good signings over the summer, but none better than Lex Immers.

The Dutchman arrived on loan last season and completely changed the focus of our play - he's a shrewd signing ahead of this season.

Who are you relying on?

We possess a few key players with the ever-present Peter Whittingham and David Marshall remaining a pivotal part of the team.

Anthony Pilkington also showed his quality last season and he's set to be a big player again this term.

Predicted finish?

We have a strong squad going into this season and a good group of players who have been together for a couple of years.

The new head coach, Paul Trollope, also offers that element of continuity and the strong squad should see us into the top six.

Fifth is my prediction.

- Jamie Kemble (Inside Cardiff City

DERBY COUNTY

Hopes and expectations?

The expectation is a tilt at automatic promotion, and the hope is that we can edge out enough of the other very strong contenders.

The play-offs are a horrid trial, but if we have to go through them again then so be it.

Best bit of business?

Derby haven't signed anybody at the time of writing, but the squad was already very strong.

The priority was actually shifting out a few surplus senior pros - a unique experience in all of my time following the club. 

Don't rule out a couple of signings before the transfer deadline, but Nigel Pearson has done the right thing by taking plenty of time to assess his options. 

Who are you relying on?

In the previous two seasons, Derby have been too reliant on Chris Martin playing as a lone striker in a 4-3-3 formation.

Pearson has trialled both 4-4-1-1 and a diamond shape in this year's pre-season friendlies, which could suit Darren Bent, Andreas Weimann, Nick Blackman and Tom Ince better.

Tactical flexibility should ensure that Derby are not overly dependent on any one or two star players to get them through games - in any case, there are plenty of potential match winners in the squad.

Predicted finish?

I would love to say automatic promotion, so I will.  Second place, behind Newcastle.

- Olly Wright (Derby County Blog)

FULHAM

Hopes and expectations?

That we can actually compete this year and show some discipline defensively.

We’ve been comical at the back for a while now, and at one stage last season we were simply unable to defend set-pieces.

I believe Slavisa Jokanovic will get us on track and it would be nice to have a manager for a whole season as well.

Best bit of business?

Signing Michael Madl after his loan spell was a very good piece of business, and Denis Odoi looks a very astute signing.

Floyd Ayite also adds pace that we've desperately needed.

Who are you relying on?

Well, Ross McCormack's gone so I'd like to say we won’t rely on just one player this season. We should spread the goals across the team.

Predicted?

Ninth.

- Viva El Fulham (@whitenoise1879

HUDDERSFIELD

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Hopes and expectations?

To really kick on this season and not have another campaign of looking over our shoulder at the relegation zone.

Best bit of business?

Thirteen new players have joined us this summer so I think it would be too early to comment on the best bit of business.

Having said that, Michael Hefele is becoming a fans favourite already.

Who are you relying on?

Nahki Wells to get the goals again.

He has struggled with injury over pre-season so I hope he remembers his scoring boots on his return.

Predicted finish?

Twelfth.

- Sean Makin (@seany1985

IPSWICH

Hopes and expectations?

To be anywhere close to making a play-off place this season would be a huge achievement given the quality of teams that have come down from the Premier League.

A longer overdue derby win over Norwich would be a big bonus too.

Best bit of business?

Adam Webster from Portsmouth looks to be great signing to help stabilise our defence, and we started this week with the surprise signing of Grant Ward from Tottenham.

The 21-year-old looks to have bags of potential, and from watching as some of his goals online, he's not scared to take a punt from range.

Who are you relying on?

I hate to say it, but our goalkeepers.

The defence last season was pretty leaky - although stats will say otherwise - and our goalkeepers kept us from have a much worse goal difference.

Hopefully with the addition of Webster things will improve.

Where do you think you’ll finish?

Heart says sixth, head says eighth.

ITFC Bible (@itfc_bible

LEEDS

Hopes and expectations?

They differ massively at Leeds. My expectation is for Cellino to ruin another season and my hope is for Monk to be given the full campaign in charge.

Best bit of business?

Definitely Kemar Roofe, a young talent that usually we'd lose out on. I can't see him being anything other than a success.

Who are you relying on?

There's a few, we need Rob Green to be more secure than Marco Silvestri and we need Chris Wood to get us around 20 goals if we're to have a chance.

Predicted finish?

If Cellino takes a year off being stupid, I'd fancy us to finish sixth, though I think it's more likely we'll be between seventh and 12th.

Leeds All Over (@LeedsAllOver

NEWCASTLE

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Hopes and expectations?

I hope for promotion. Be it through automatic spots or the play-offs, it just has to happen this season.

It probably would be arrogant to say I expect promotion so I'll stay clear of that. I expect us to enjoy this season more than last. It won't take much.

Best bit of business?

It may sound clichéd, but getting Rafa Benitez to stay on as manager. Relegation could've been a very dark and angry place had he not stayed.

I dread to think which old pal of Mike Ashley's would've been in charge had Rafa walked.

Who are you relying on?

It's hard to say who we are relying on for next season as we were let down by so many last year.

I'd probably say Matt Ritchie and Jamaal Lascelles will be our key players.

Predicted finish?

I think we will finish in the automatic spots.

I don't know if we'll win it but I can't see Rafa wanting to have to rely on the lottery of the play-offs so he'll get us up.

Stephanie Bishop (@stephnufc

NORWICH CITY

Hopes and expectations?

To win games again. It will be nice to hear ‘two wins on the bounce’, ‘in-form team’ or ‘nice little run’ instead of ‘Jesus. God. Almighty.’

Our stop-start stay in the Premier League was exhausting. New start.

Best bit of business?

Well, our only bit of business so far is basically swapping Nathan Redmond for Sergi Canos and £8m that could be wonderful.

Canos is lacking the fitness that Alex Neil requires, but Brentford fans are jealous of us having him so he could be a key player for us. 

Who are you relying on?

Timm Klose. We have no idea how that man has stayed at the club.

He is honestly Champions League class. Good thing is, he is mad as a box of crabs and loves trips to the Norfolk seaside. He is so, so good.

Predicted finish?

After this sentence, because there are no more questions.

Little Yellow Bird project (@thelybp)

NOTTINGHAM FOREST

Hopes and expectations?

My hope is for structure, sanity, and some joined-up thinking. My expectation is chaos, confusion, and more of the fag-packet thinking that’s characterized the last four years.

It’d be nice to concentrate on the actual football for once.

Best bit of business?

Pedro Pereira, the new Director of Football.

Nowadays, we get more excited about support staff than new signings – the lack of proper structure behind the scenes at Forest is killing the club.

If Pereira’s given the space, time and trust to do the job properly, he could bring some much-needed stability to the club. If.

Who are you relying on?

Britt Assombalonga. Which is a worry, as up until April, he hadn’t kicked a ball in fourteen months.

Last season managed to be both traumatic and boring in equal measure – Forest’s lack of goal threat was a huge problem, and it cost Dougie Freedman his job.

Predicted finish?

Forest are the dictionary definition of an “if they were all fit…” team. With a healthy, on-song squad, we’re a solid bet for anything up to eighth.

But lose just two or three of the wrong people, and we’ll be in a world of trouble.

Phil Juggins (@bandyandshinty

PRESTON NORTH END

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Hopes and expectations?

A top-half finish last season will have raised expectations for all involved with the club. Our surprise factor has now gone, though, and it will be an exceptionally difficult second season.

Mid-table would be a respectable performance on one of the smallest budgets in the Championship.

Best bit of business?

Re-signing three of our five loan players from last season will no doubt bring some stability.

However, the addition of Ben Pringle in midfield looks like an excellent bit of business by Simon Grayson.

A player we have coveted for a few seasons and who has always impressed against us.

Who are you relying on?

Our defensive record is the envy of the division. Our problem has been at the other end of the pitch.

If injury-returnee Jermaine Beckord can rediscover the partnership with Deepdale cult hero Joe Garner that saw us promoted in May 2015, who knows where we can finish?

Predicted finish?

Heart - sixth. Head – 12th to 16th.

- Tom Harrison (@PNEAKTE

QPR

Hopes and expectations?

Very mixed across the fan base. Personally I think it'll be a mid-table season, rather similar to last year's though hopefully without yet another change of manager halfway through.

We're trying to get our financial house in order after several ruinous, failed trips to the Premier League, and so we can’t compete with sides paying £10m for players.

Best bit of business?

In said barmy market, I can't believe we've managed to get Jordan Cousins from Charlton for less than £2m.

Exactly what we need in the centre of midfield - a real problem area for us last season - at a great age and with Championship experience.

Who are you relying on?

The general consensus is we're light up front so we're either relying on Seb Polter, Tjaronn Chery and Conor Washington to step up with goals.

If not, the outstanding goalkeeper in the division Alex Smithies to keep things air-tight at the back.

Predicted finish?

Somewhere around 11th.

Clive Whittingham (Loft For Words

READING

Hopes and expectations?

After two incredibly disappointing league campaigns, we're just looking for a bit of progress and improvement.

The old 'Reading way' has gone, and Jaap Stam's Dutch revolution has created a fair bit of optimism ahead of the new season.

I'd be happy with a comfortable finish in mid-table, or lower top-half.

Best bit of business?

I'd say the signing of 20-year-old forward Yakou Meite from PSG. He's very highly-rated, and we beat Premier League and Serie A clubs to sign him.

We might not see his impact straight away, but he's certainly one for the future.

Who are you relying on?

I can't see any of our strikers weighing in with loads of goals, so we are going to need help from the midfield.

This is most likely to come from new signing John Swift - who netted seven times for Brentford last season - a tally he can hopefully better for us.

Predicted finish?

Reading have entered unknown territory with Stam in charge, so it could go either way.

For that reason, I'll say somewhere in the middle – 11th.

- Olly Allen (The Tilehurst End

ROTHERHAM

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Hopes and expectations?

To remain in the league. I expect that this season will be as tough - and as stressful at times - as our previous ones in the Championship.

Best bit of business?

Our midfielder and fans' favourite Lee Frecklington extended his contract with us until 2018 which is as good as a new signing.

In terms of new additions I was impressed with Anthony Forde who we signed from Walsall.

Who are you relying on?

Lee Camp in net. We'll need him to continue similar form as to what he had last season to keep us in games.

Predicted finish?

I'm fairly optimistic. I think we'll finish just outside the relegation zone, providing we sign another striker or two.

George Sanders (@GeorgeyRUFC

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY

Hopes and expectations?

I hope we take that extra step and get promoted this season. We exceeded expectations last season now we have those expectations to live up to.

I’ll be happy if we can be in contention and keep playing the free-flowing, exciting football we have been under Carlos Carvalhal.

Best bit of business?

Getting Steven Fletcher was a good bit of business, but I think signing Almen Abdi from Watford is a real mark of intention and class.

We raided Watford’s locker last season for Fernando Forestieri, and that proved to be the spark Wednesday needed to ignite our ambition.

Who are you relying on?

We’re not lacking in attack but we are short of cover at the back. Jose Semedo and Sam Hutchinson have been dropping back from midfield to fill in for the injured Glenn Loovens.

We will be relying heavily on Toms Lees and Keiren Westwood until we can bring reinforcements in.

Predicted finish?

I’d like to say the automatics, but I think third or fourth isn’t an unreasonable expectation.

Laura Jones (YICETOR

WIGAN

Hopes and expectations?

The mood around the club is optimistic after last season's success.

The Championship is a tough division but I think we can maintain the momentum from last season and make a good impression.

Best bit of business?

The permanent signing of Stephen Warnock was a no-brainer for manager Gary Caldwell as the England international was superb during Wigan's drive to the League One title.

Who are you relying on?

The goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, defender Craig Morgan and striker Will Grigg were crucial to our success last season - if they can repeat that type of form we will have a good season.

Predicted finish?

I'm expecting a top-half finish - I'll go for eighth.

- Ian Aspinall (Let's Hang On

WOLVES

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Hopes and expectations?

Hopes are stratospheric after the club were taken over by a loaded Chinese investment group who've pledged to spend big and bring in players. If that happens quickly who knows?

But being a realist, it takes time to build a decent team, even with money and there are no guarantees.

My expectation for the moment remains a hit and miss season ending in mediocrity. But interesting times ahead for sure.

Best bit of business?

The takeover. We were treading water under the previous owner, but now anything is possible.

Who are you relying on?

As it stands, the same team who were grinding out results at the back end of last season. We hardly scored any goals, but fortunately kept things tight at the back too.

We've got two young defenders, in Kortney Hause and Dominic Iorfa, who are destined for the Premier League.

Predicted finish?

The team requires significant surgery to improve, but when you've got lots of players coming and going it can also be a recipe for disaster.

I genuinely have no idea, but mid-table is currently the best bet.

Thomas Baugh (Wolves Blog