Ian Holloway: Defeat for Aston Villa, Burton to stun Nottingham Forest
Last Updated: 06/08/16 11:34am
Fresh from predicting the outright table, Ian Holloway is back to give us his views as The Sky Bet EFL kicks off.
Holloway had expected Sky Bet Championship favourites Newcastle to kick off with victory but Matt Smith's header gave Fulham a season-opening 1-0 win in front of the Sky cameras. Can Ollie get back on track? Here are his tips...
QPR v Leeds, Sunday, Sky Sports 1, 12pm
The future of Leeds United is Garry Monk. If he is given the freedom to inject the same philosophy he used at Swansea, then Leeds could have a magnificent season.
He has a fantastic ability to educate players about how to pass and play. I'm sure the Leeds players will enjoy his methods - can they get off to a winning start? It will be tough as QPR have only lost three games at home in 2016 and two of those were against teams that won promotion (Hull and Middlesbrough).
I was hoping QPR were going to sign some goalscorers in the summer, but it seems the threat of a big fine from FFP (Financial Fair Play) means money is tight. I think the club need to come out and keep the supporters in the loop regarding budgets, then expectations would be more realistic and the fans won't get on Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's back if they lose a few games.
OLLIE PREDICTS: 1-1 (9/2 with Sky Bet)
Sheffield Wednesday v Aston Villa, Sunday, Sky Sports 1, 4.30pm
There is a feel-good factor about Sheffield Wednesday again. It's a team I'm looking forward to watching this season and they've strengthened in the summer by bringing in Steven Fletcher.
Roberto Di Matteo, who is a wonderful man, has one of the toughest jobs in football to reunite the Villa fans with their players. Despite getting criticised, I'm going to stand by my comments about Aston Villa finishing 16th - I hope they prove me wrong.
OLLIE PREDICTS: 2-0 (8/1 with Sky Bet)
Nottingham Forest v Burton Albion, 3pm
What a place for Burton Albion to start their Championship adventure. I'm such a sucker for the underdog. I'm a fully-fledged football romanticist. When you throw in Nigel Clough going back to the City Ground, I think Burton can start their campaign with a victory. At this time of the season it's about trying to work out which team has a feel-good factor going into their first game and Burton have that after their brilliant promotion last season.
OLLIE PREDICTS: 1-2 (12/1 with Sky Bet)
Derby v Brighton, Saturday, 3pm
Brighton are going to be incredibly difficult to beat again this season. Chris Hughton is a master of his trade.
This might be a tricky opener for them though as Nigel Pearson will be looking to make an early splash with his new Derby players. How quickly will they adapt to his methods? It's impossible to tell, but they have enough quality to avoid defeat here.
OLLIE PREDICTS: 1-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)
Ollie's Super 6 predictions
Huddersfield v Brentford, Saturday, 3pm
I bet these two sets of supporters hate me after my prediction where I said they'll both get relegated. I hope you prove me wrong but I had to pick three teams to go and I fancied all the newly promoted teams to stay up.
I saw Dean Smith was asked about my prediction and his response was pure class. He understood that I'm paid to give an opinion and he's just concentrating on doing his job. I was written off by all the pundits when Blackpool manager - it's so important to clear your players' minds about what everyone else thinks and get them listening to what you think. I wish both clubs all the best for the season.
OLLIE PREDICTS: 0-0 (9/1 with Sky Bet)
Blackburn v Norwich, Saturday, 3pm
It's great to see Owen Coyle back in English football, but I think he might find his first game tough going against a team like Norwich, who are packed full of quality. It should be another exciting season at this level for the Canaries. They're likely to run everyone close. I can see them opening with an away win.
OLLIE PREDICTS: 1-2 (6/1 with Sky Bet)
Rotherham v Wolves, Saturday, 3pm
It was a tough call to get rid of Kenny Jackett - he did a brilliant job to get the club promoted then stabilise them in the Championship. I'm not sure how the new-look big-spending Wolves will get on, especially if they're being guided by agents in terms of their recruitment. That doesn't always work.
I just hope it doesn't go the same way as Blackburn did under Jerome Anderson. You have to be careful in football - it's very different to any other business. It's very people orientated.
OLLIE PREDICTS: 1-1 (9/2 with Sky Bet)
Bolton v Sheffield United, League One, Saturday, 3pm
This could be Sheffield United's year now they've appointed Chris Wilder. He'll be looking to make a big impact at his boyhood club and get the fans on his side straight away. Away win.
OLLIE PREDICTS: 1-2 (9/2 with Sky Bet)
Walsall v AFC Wimbledon, League One, Saturday, 3pm
I thought AFC Wimbledon were magnificent in the play-offs last season and I think they may continue to punch above their weight. Walsall have lost Tom Bradshaw and Romaine Sawyers this summer, which is a worry for them. Lyle Taylor can net the winner for AFC here.
OLLIE PREDICTS: 0-1 (15/2 with Sky Bet)
Ollie's previous tips...
Fulham v Newcastle, Friday, Sky Sports 1, 7pm
I can't wait for the first ball to be kicked this season. Let's be honest, the Euros were so boring. I turned the TV off in the final when Cristiano Ronaldo came off injured - it just wasn't my kind of football.
And what better way to start than with the team everyone is talking about.
Newcastle could blow this league wide apart. There seems a strong unity there between the owners, Rafa Benitez and the supporters - that's pretty unusual after a relegation. They've made some incredible and smart signings and lads like Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie and Grant Hanley will be raring to go.
Fulham look in trouble here. They're losing their best players: Moussa Dembele and now Ross McCormack - I'm fearful for them. I'm sure Newcastle will be a very popular bet.
OLLIE PREDICTS: 1-3 (14/1 with Sky Bet) - RESULT 1-0