Some big names will be looking to mount a promotion push. We take a look at each team's chances.
Last Updated: 07/08/09 10:35am
Much will be expected of the three clubs relegated from the Barclays Premier League when the new Coca-Cola Championship season kicks off.
All eyes will be on Newcastle after a miserable season of turmoil on and off the pitch but of the three teams relegated in 2007-08, only Birmingham managed to secure promotion last season.
The previous season Charlton, Sheffield United and Watford all failed to regain their places in the top flight.
Middlesbrough will be expected to mount a challenge in what will be a big season for manager Gareth Southgate while it could be a period of transition for West Brom, who were relegated in their first season back in the top flight and have since lost manager Tony Mowbray to Celtic.
There will be plenty of challengers also looking to make an impact and push for a place at the top table.
Skysports.com looks at each team's chances.
Manager: Simon Davey
Position last season: 20th
Players in: Onome Sodje (York, free), David Preece (Odense, free)
Players out: Dennis Souza (Al-Sailiya Sport Club, free), Marciano Van Homoet (released), Diego Leon (Las Palmas, free), Kyle Letheren (released), Heinz Muller (FSV Mainz, £600,000)
Key man: Iain Hume
Chances: Success for Barnsley would be to steer clear of relegation trouble after narrow escapes in each of the last three seasons. But plenty hinges on their key players, especially record signing Iain Hume, to deliver week in, week out in order to achieve this.
Sky Bet odds to win league: 80/1
Manager: Ian Holloway
Position last season: 16th
Ground: Bloomfield Road
Players in: Billy Clarke (Ipswich, free), Jason Euell (Southampton, free)
Players out: David Fox (Colchester, free) Marlon Broomes (released), Francesco Carratta (released), Stuart Green (Wycombe, free), Claus Jorgensen (released), Jermaine Wright (released), Ashton Bayliss (released), Matt Kay (released), Shaun Barker (Derby, £900,000)
Key man: Paul Rachubka
Chances: Ian Holloway is out to repair his reputation after a disastrous spell in charge of Leicester which ended in relegation. Keeping Blackpool in the Championship would represent success but the sale of defender Shaun Barker is a significant blow to their survival prospects.
Sky Bet odds: 80/1
Manager: Gary Johnson
Position last season: 10th
Ground: Ashton Gate
Players in: Andre Blackman (Portsmouth, free), Dean Gerken (Colchester, undisclosed), David Clarkson (Motherwell, undisclosed), Paul Hartley (Celtic, free), Danny Haynes (Ipswich, undisclosed)
Players out: Chris Weale (Leicester, free), Peter Styvar (Skoda Xanthi, loan), Jennison Myrie-Williams (Dundee United, free), Dele Adebola (Nottingham Forest, free), Scott Murray (Yeovil, free), Izzy Iriekpen (Hamilton, free)
Key man: Marvin Elliott
Chances: City boss Gary Johnson has been busy in the transfer market over the summer in an attempt to build a squad for another push for the play-offs. But, despite the highly-rated Marvin Elliott's return to fitness, they are likely to come up short once again.
Sky Bet odds: 33/1
Manager: Dave Jones
Position last season: 7th
Ground: Cardiff City Stadium
Players in: David Marshall (Norwich, undisclosed), Mark Hudson (Charlton, £1.075m), Anthony Gerrard (Walsall, undisclosed), Paul Quinn (Motherwell, undisclosed), Michael Chopra (Sunderland, undisclosed)
Players out: Darren Purse (Sheff Wed, free), Roger Johnson (Birmingham £5million)
Key man: Joe Ledley
Chances: Dave Jones' side will be desperate to banish the memories of last season's play-off heartache when they missed out on a place in the top six on goals scored, but it could be another cruel campaign for fans in the Welsh capital.
Sky Bet odds: 20/1
Manager: Chris Coleman
Position last season: 17th
Ground: Ricoh Arena
Players in: Sammy Clingan (Norwich, undisclosed)
Players out: Andy Marshall (released), Donovan Simmonds (released), Robbie Simpson (Huddersfield, undisclosed), Scott Dann (Birmingham, undisclosed), Michael Mifsud (released), Guillaume Beuzelin (released), Kevin Thornton (released), Danny Fox (Celtic, undisclosed)
Key man: Clinton Morrison
Chances: There are certainly worse teams in the Championship than Coventry but Chris Coleman's side could find themselves struggling in the lower realms of mid-table this season. Clinton Morrison's form in front of goal will be crucial to the success of their campaign.
Sky Bet odds: 33/1
Manager: Neil Warnock
Position last season: 15th
Ground: Selhurst Park
Players in: Darren Ambrose (Charlton, free), Freddie Sears (West Ham, loan), Stern John (Southampton, free)
Players out: Ryan Carolan (released), James Dayton (released), Carl Fletcher (Plymouth, free), Scott Flinders (Hartlepool, free), Paul Ifill (Wellington Phoenix, free), John Oster (released), James Scowcroft (Leyton Orient, free), Shefki Kuqi (TuS Koblenz, free), Jamie Smith (released), David Wilkinson (released), Rhoys Wiggins (Norwich, undisclosed)
Key man: Paddy McCarthy
Chances: Neil Warnock has promised a better stab at promotion this term but it is hard to see a challenge materialising unless on-loan West Ham rookie Freddie Sears can shoulder the burden in attack.
Sky Bet odds: 25/1
Manager: Nigel Clough
Position last season: 18th
Ground: Pride Park
Players in: Jake Buxton (Burton, free), Dean Moxey (Exeter, £300,000), Lee Croft (Norwich, free), Ben Pringle (Ilkeston, free), Shaun Barker (Blackpool, £900,000)
Players out: Andy Todd (Perth Glory, free), Mile Sterjovski (Perth Glory, free), Tyrone Mears (Burnley, undisclosed), Emanuel Villa (Cruz Azul, undisclosed), Liam Dickinson (Brighton, undisclosed)
Key man: Rob Hulse
Chances: Nigel Clough's first full season in charge is a much anticipated one. Derby started well under his tutelage last season following his arrival in January but injuries to a clutch of key players depleted the squad and the Rams only narrowly escaped relegation. If they can keep the likes of Paul Connolly, Miles Addison, Robbie Savage, Kris Commons and Rob Hulse fit this time round then Derby can challenge for the play-offs.
Sky Bet odds: 25/1
Manager: Sean O'Driscoll
Position last season: 14th
Ground: Keepmoat Stadium
Players in: Quinton Fortune (free), Byron Webster (SIAD Most) Mustapha Dumbuya (free)
Players out: Richie Wellens (Leicester, £1.2million), Jason Price (Millwall, free), Gordon Greer (Swindon, free), Gareth Taylor (Wrexham, free), Darren Byfield (released), Tomi Ameobi (released), Matt Mills (Reading, undisclosed)
Key man: Brian Stock
Chances: Doncaster will finish up closer to the play-offs than the relegation zone if they can reproduce the form they showed since Christmas during the second half of last season. But if they start poorly again they could be in trouble.
Sky Bet odds: 80/1
Manager: Roy Keane
Position last season: 9th
Ground: Portman Road
Players in: Damien Delaney (QPR, undisclosed), Troy Brown (Fulham, free), Lee Martin (Manchester United, undisclosed), Shane O'Connor (Liverpool, free), Colin Healy (Cork City, undisclosed)
Players out: Ivan Campo (released), Tommy Miller (Sheff Wed, free), Billy Clarke (Blackpool, free), Dean Bowditch (Yeovil, free), Chris Casement (Dundee, free), Jai Reason (Cambridge, free), Kurt Robinson (Rushden, free), Matt Richards (released), Dan Harding (Southampton, free), Danny Haynes (Bristol City, undisclosed)
Key man: David Norris
Chances: Expectations are at an all-time high in Suffolk after the appointment of Roy Keane and nothing other than a top-six finish will be deemed good enough at Portman Road. Should have the financial muscle to make that a reality, though some more signings will be needed before the end of August.
Prediction: 3rdSky Bet odds: 8/1
Manager: Nigel Pearson
Position last season: League 1 champions
Ground: Walkers Stadium
Players in: Robbie Neilson (Hearts, free), Chris Weale (Bristol City, free), Dany N'Guessan (Lincoln, undisclosed), Astrit Ajdarevic (Liverpool, free), Richie Wellens (Doncaster, undisclosed), Wayne Brown (Hull, undisclosed), Jack Hobbs (Liverpool, undisclosed)
Players out: Joe Cobb (Wycombe, free), Barry Hayles (Cheltenham, free), Patrick Kisnorbo (Leeds, free), Billy McKay (Northampton, free)
Key man: Matt Fryatt
Chances: Confidence will be high at the Walkers Stadium after marching to the League One title last season and Leicester will be looking to maintain that momentum and get off to a good start. Manager Nigel Pearson has added strength and depth to his squad with the players he has signed during the summer and a top-half finish is a real possibility for the Foxes on their return to the second tier.
Sky Bet odds: 25/1
Manager: Gareth Southgate
Position last season: 19th in Premier League
Ground: Riverside Stadium
Players in: Mark Yeates (Colchester, undisclosed), Danny Coyne (Tranmere, free)
Players out: Stewart Downing (Aston Villa, undisclosed), Mido (Zamalek, loan)
Key man: Adam Johnson
Chances: Boro were promoted without too much alarm last time they were at this level, but they could be in for a tougher time this year. A lot depends on whether they manage to address the chronic goalscoring problems that blighted them last year - but the signing of Danny Coyne will at least help them in the goalkeeping department.
Sky Bet odds: 5/1
Position last season: 18th in Premier League
Ground: St James' Park
Players in: None
Players out: Michael Owen (Manchester United, free), Mark Viduka (released), Claudio Cacapa (released), Peter Lovenkrands (released), David Edgar (Burnley, tribunal), Obafemi Martins (Wolfsberg,
Key man: Shola Ameobi
Chances: The Magpies have the fan base and reputation to stroll through this division, but a summer of off-field uncertainty could have a detrimental effect on their season. The expected fire sale took a long time to even start and with still no confirmed manager, they look far from prepared for the challenges ahead.
Sky Bet odds: 6/1
Manager: Billy Davies
Position last season: 19th
Ground: The City Ground
Players in: David McGoldrick (Southampton, undisclosed), Dele Adebola (Bristol City, free), Lee Camp (QPR, undisclosed), Paul Anderson (Liverpool, £250,000), Chris Gunter (Tottenham, £1.75 million), Paul McKenna (Preston, £750,000), Dexter Blackstock (QPR, undisclosed), Joel Lynch (Brighton, £200,000), Radoslaw Majewski (Polonia Warsaw, loan)
Players out: Emile Sinclair (Macclesfield, free), Ian Breckin (Chesterfield, free), Richard Tait (released), Hamza Bencherif (Macclesfield, released), Liam Hook (released), Tom Sharpe (Kidderminster, free), Ryan Whitehurst (Eastwood, free), Paddy Gamble (released), Adam Newbold (released), Joe Heath (Lincoln, loan), Brendan Moloney (Notts County, loan), Shane Redmond (Burton, loan), James Reid (Rushden, loan), Matt Thornhill (Brighton, loan), Mark Byrne (Rushden, loan)
Key man: Paul Anderson
Chances: Nottingham Forest's young squad narrowly avoided relegation last time round and manager Billy Davies has added some much-needed experience to his ranks this summer. Davies' record in the Championship is impressive having twice taken Preston to the play-offs and achieving promotion with Derby. It will probably be to much to ask the Scot to repeat that success in his first full season in charge but a top-half spot could be well within the Reds' reach.
Sky Bet odds: 18/1
Manager: Darren Ferguson
Position last season: 2nd in League 1
Ground: London Road
Players in: Lee Frecklington (Lincoln, undisclosed), Tommy Rowe (Stockport, undisclosed), Toumani Diagouraga (Hereford, undisclosed fee), Krystian Pearce (Birmingham, loan), Danny Mills (Crawley, undisclosed), Romone McCrae (Crawley, undisclosed)
Players out: Liam Hatch (Luton, loan), Mark Tyler (Luton, free), Alfie Potter (Oxford, loan), Craig Braham-Barrett (released), Chris Westwood (Wycombe, free), Shane Blackett (Luton, free), Scott Rendell (Torquay, loan)
Key man: Craig Mackail-Smith
Chances: An unknown quantity at this level but in manager Darren Ferguson they possess a leader full of the confidence and drive of his father. A young side who have strolled to back-to-back promotions, they may surprise teams and could find themselves in mid-table should their strikeforce adapt to Championship football.
Sky Bet odds: 33/1
Manager: Paul Sturrock
Position last season: 21st
Ground: Home Park
Players in: Carl Fletcher (Crystal Palace, free), Bradley Wright-Phillips (Southampton, free), Kari Arnason (free transfer), Reda Johnson (Amiens, undisclosed)
Players out: Jermaine Easter (MK Dons, undisclosed), Emile Mpenza (released), Dan Smith (Eastbourne, free), Roudolph Douala
Key man: Bradley Wright-Phillips
Chances: New ownership at Home Park has brightened the mood over the summer, but much improvement is needed to the squad if Paul Sturrock's men are to steer clear of a battle against relegation this season.
Sky Bet odds: 80/1
Manager: Alan Irvine
Position last season: 6th
Players in: Paul Parry (Cardiff, undisclosed)
Players out: Chris Neal (Shrewsbury, undisclosed), Paul McKenna (Nottingham Forest, £750,000), Simon Whaley (Norwich, undisclosed)
Key man: Jon Parkin
Chances: The famous old Lancashire outfit have been out of the top flight since 1961 but they have unearthed another managerial gem in Alan Irvine. He guided Preston to the play-offs last season but his task this time around could be harder after a quiet summer through the entrance door.
Sky Bet odds: 20/1
Manager: Jim Magilton
Position last season: 11th
Ground: Loftus Road
Players in: Alejandro Faurlin (Instituto, £3.5million), Adel Taarabt (Spurs, loan), Alessandro Pellicori (Avellino, free)
Players out: Liam Miller (released), Zesh Rehman (Bradford, free), Jake Cole (Barnet, free), Danny Maguire (released), Chris Arthur (released), Damien Delaney (Ipswich, undisclosed), Lee Camp (Nottingham Forest, undisclosed), Dexter Blackstock (Nottingham Forest, undisclosed), Jordi Lopez (Swansea, free)
Key man: Akos Buzsaky
Chances: The Championship's billionaires row return for another tilt at the Premier League and if Jim Magilton is still in a job come May they will not be far away.
Sky Bet odds: 14/1
Manager: Brendan Rodgers
Position last season: 4th
Ground: Madejski Stadium
Players in: Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea, loan)
Players out: Michael Duberry (Wycombe, released), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolves, released), Graeme Murty (released), Leroy Lita (released), Alan Bennett (Brentford, free), Gary Frewen (released), Scott Golbourne (Exeter, free), Tom Hateley (released), Daniel Spence (Salisbury, free), Sam Sodje (released), Kevin Doyle (Wolves, undisclosed), Alex McCarthy (Yeovil, loan), Oliver Bozanic (Cheltenham, loan)
Key man: Marek Matejovsky
Chances: Should have won promotion last time out but fell away terribly after Christmas. Rodgers proved himself one to watch during a short but successful spell with Watford but it could be now or never for a return to the Premier League. An improvement on last season's dire home form is essential but the Royals still should be in the mix for the title.
Sky Bet odds: 12/1
Manager: Nigel Adkins
Position last season: 6th in League 1
Ground: Glanford Park
Players in: Josh Wright (Charlton, free), Michael O'Connor (Crewe, undisclosed), Rob Jones (Hibernian, undisclosed), Adam Boyes (York, undisclosed)
Players out: Joe Wilcox (released), Michael Lea (Chester, free)
Key man: Rob Jones
Chances: Iron boss Nigel Adkins will be determined to learn from the experience of being relegated from the Championship the season before last and he feels they are better equipped to stay up this time round. Record signing Rob Jones should be a shrewd acquisition and although they will find it tough, Adkins' men have a good chance of avoiding the drop.
Sky Bet odds: 100/1
Manager: Kevin Blackwell
Position last season: 3rd
Ground: Bramall Lane
Players in: Lee Williamson (Watford, undisclosed), Kyel Reid (West Ham, free), Andy Taylor (Tranmere, undisclosed), Ched Evans (Manchester City, £3million), Ryan France (Hull, free), Keith Treacy (Blackburn, loan), Kyle Walker (Tottenham, loan), Mark Bunn (Blackburn, loan), Glenn Little (Portsmouth, free)
Players out: Kyle Naughton (Tottenham, undisclosed), Kyle Walker (Tottenham, undisclosed), Jamie Annerson (Rotherham, free), Ugo Ehiogu (released), Danny Webber (released), Ben Starosta (Darlington, free), Keith Quinn (released), Maxime Chanot (released), Nicky Law (Rotherham, free), Sun Jihai (released)
Key man: Brian Howard
Chances: The Blades will be aiming for automatic promotion after suffering play-off final heartbreak in May and will be strong contenders. But they must improve their form at Bramall Lane where they lost five league matches last season.
Sky Bet odds: 12/1
Manager: Brian Laws
Position last season: 12th
Players in: Tommy Miller (Ipswich, free), Darren Purse (Cardiff, free), Darren Potter (Wolves, undisclosed)
Players out: Steve Watson (retired), Liam McMenamin (released), Sam Liversidge (released), Kenny Lunt (Hereford, free)
Key man: Darren Purse
Chances: Owls manager Brian Laws overcame more injuries to key players to finish 12th last season and sees no reason why his side cannot challenge for a top-six finish. Darren Purse and Tommy Miller add much-needed experience and if Wednesday's better players can stay out of the treatment room, a mid-table finish is well within their capabilities.
Sky Bet odds: 40/1
Manager: Paulo Sousa
Position last season: 8th
Ground: Liberty Stadium
Players in: Nathan Dyer (Southampton, £400,000), Stephen Dobbie (Queen of the South, free), Jordi Lopez (QPR, free)
Players out: Owain Tudur Jones (Norwich, undisclosed), Jason Scotland (Wigan, undisclosed), Chris Jones (Grimsby, free)
Key man: Nathan Dyer
Chances: The Swans took to the Championship like a duck to water last season but they are likely to find it more hard going this time round. The departure of manager Roberto Martinez to Wigan over the summer was a big blow and with leading scorer Jason Scotland following the Spaniard through the exit door their chances of finishing in the top half look to have diminished.
Sky Bet odds: 25/1
Manager: Malky Mackay
Position last season: 13th
Ground: Vicarage Road
Players in: Scott Severin (Aberdeen, free), Danny Graham (Carlisle, tribunal), Jure Travner (NK Celje, undisclosed)
Players out: Steve Kabba (released), Lee Williamson (Sheffield United, undisclosed), Theo Robinson (Huddersfield, undisclosed), Stuart Searle (MK Dons, free), Al Bangura (released)
Key man: Scott Severin
Chances: New boss Malky Mackay has his work cut out with money still tight and the exit door far busier than the entrance at Vicarage Road. A season of struggle beckons.
Sky Bet odds: 33/1
Manager: Roberto Di Matteo
Position last season: 20th in Premier League
Ground: The Hawthorns
Players in: Simon Cox (Swindon, £1.9million), Gonzalo Jara (Colo Cola, £1.7million)
Players out: Carl Hoefkens (released), Pedro Pele (released), Jared Hodgkiss (released), Paul Robinson (Bolton, loan), Luke Daniels (Tranmere, loan), Sherjill MacDonald (Germinal Beerschot, £650,000), Do-Heon Kim (West Brom to Suwon Bluewings, £360,000)
Key man: Simon Cox
Chances: Roberto Di Matteo's managerial credentials are certain to be tested this season as the Baggies look for a third promotion to the top flight in six years, plenty of fingernails are sure to be discarded at The Hawthorns over the next 10 months but Simon Cox's goals should just clinch it.
Sky Bet odds: 11/2