1. ITV Report

2012/13 Championship football season preview

Lee Clarke has been tasked with guiding Birmingham to promotion Photo: PA

BIRMINGHAM CITYPosition last season: 4thPlayers in: Ben Gordon (Chelsea, loan), Ravel Morrison (West Ham, loan), Darren Ambrose (Crystal Palace, undisclosed), Hayden Mullins (Portsmouth, undisclosed), David Lucas (Rochdale, free), Peter Lovenkrands (Newcastle, free)Players out: Fraser Kerr (Motherwell, loan), Ben Foster (WBA, undisclosed), Jordan Mutch (Cardiff, undisclosed)Key man: Peter LovenkrandsTitle odds: 18/1Chances: Despite the loss of manager Chris Hughton to Norwich, Birmingham are in much better shape for the second season with a far deeper squad (if there are still financial concerns). Not only do they have the numbers, but the ability too. No one can deny the talent of Ravel Morrison, famously referred to by Sir Alex Ferguson as one of the most gifted players to come through the Man Utd ranks and Darren Ambrose is a proven Championship performer. But it could be the pace and goals from new signing Peter Lovenkrands which propel the Blues into promotion contention.

Richard Keogh should be an able replacement for Jason Shackell Credit: PA


Players out: Aaron Cole, James Severn, Chris Jones, Ryan Connolly (all released), Paul Green (Leeds Utd, free), Chris Maguire (Sheff Wednesday undisclosed), Lee Croft (Oldham Athletic, loan), Jason Shackell (Burnley, undisclosed), Miles Addison (Bournemouth, undisclosed), Callum Ball (Coventry City, loan), Ross Atkins (Burton Albion, loan)

Key man: Richard Keogh

Title odds: 40/1

Chances: Last season was Derby's best in five years and the club are in the middle of a somewhat stable period at the top with Nigel Clough being the second longest serving manager in the division (just over 3 years'>DERBY COUNTY]( last season: 12thPlayers in: Michael Jacobs (Northampton Town, undisclosed), Paul Coutts (Preston North End, undisclosed), Richard Keogh (Coventry City, undisclosed), James O). The squad is a different matter which has been radically overhauled and has a much younger and more vibrant look to it. Long-serving Rams Paul Green and Miles Addison have departed and been replaced by hungry players with potential such as Richard Keogh. Expect a similar position to last season but more to cheer in terms of personnel for the fans.

Ben Marshall Credit: PA

LEICESTER CITYPosition last season: 9thPlayers in: Jacob Blyth (Leamington, undisclosed), Matty James (Manchester United, undisclosed), Richie De Laet (Manchester United, undisclosed), Jamie Vardy (Fleetwood Town, undisclosed) Marco Futacs (Portsmouth, free), Zak Whitbread (Norwich City, free), Anthony Knockaert (Guingamp, undisclosed)Players out: Sol Bamba (Trabzonspor, undisclosed), Lee Peltier (Leeds United, undisclosed), Matt Mills (Bolton Wanderers, undisclosed)

Key man: Ben Marshall

Title odds: 7/1

Chances: Gone are the days of expensive, foreign imports at Leicester City that represented the Sven Goran Eriksson era. The big names are out and in their place come the likes of Drinkwater and De Laet who will be looking to prove themselves. With an incredibly strong midfield and strikeforce, goals will be expected at the King Power Stadium. In particular new signing Matty James should impress in midfield and comes recommended by Sir Alex and his son Darren Ferguson and Ben Marshall should offer pace and goals from the wing. Leicester fans will be disappointed if their side do not make a serious push for promotion this year.

Forest fans will be hoping for investment form their new owners Credit: PA

NOTTINGHAM FORESTPosition last season: 19thPlayers in: Adlene Guedioura (Wolves, £1m), Danny Collins (Stoke City, undisclosed), Dan Harding (Southampton, undisclosed), Greg Halford (Portsmouth, undisclosed), Simon Gillett (Doncaster Rovers, free)Players out: Garath McCleary (Reading, free), Luke Chambers (Ipswich Town, free), Joel Lynch (Huddersfield Town, free), Paul Anderson (Bristol City, free) Chris Gunter (Reading, £2.3m)

Key man: Lewis McGugan

Title odds: 11/1

Chances: Lucky to still be in the division, Forest fans will believe last season could not have gone much worse. What started so promisingly with the appointment of Steve McClaren turned into despair with McClaren's resignation leaving Forest on the brink and the sad death of owner Nigel Doughty. But Forest recovered under Steve Cotterill and fans are optimistic once more. The weakness appears to be upfront with a lack of a reliable scorer meaning the Tricky Trees will be relying once more on the excellent Lewis McGugan to produce from deep.

Wolves will be hoping to keep hold of Matt Jarvis Credit: PA

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERSPosition last season: 20th (Premier League, relegated)Players in: Tongo Dounbia (Rennes, loan), Slawomir Peszko (Koln, loan), Frank Nouble (West Ham Utd, free), Jamie Tank (Walsall undisclosed), Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson (Lillestrom, £2.4m)Players out: Ashley Hemmings, James Spray, Louis Harris (all released), Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (Peterborough Utd, undisclosed), Adlene Guedioura (Nottingham Forest, £1m), Sam Vokes (Burnley, undisclosed) Michael Kightly (Stoke City, undisclosed).

Key man: Matt Jarvis

Title odds: 9/1

Chances: Last season saw possibly one of the worst managerial decisions in recent times with the sacking of Mick McCarthy without a clear backup plan which led to the appointment of assistant Terry Connor. Connor picked up just two points in his first ten games, consigning the Molineux club to the second tier. New manager Stale Solbakken has resisted the temptation to make the wholesale changes expected from a relegated side and his hoping to keep hold of his star players. The club have rejected a number of bids for striker Steven Fletcher but it is thought his departure is imminent. It will be difficult to see where goals come from for this team if he leaves with Kevin Doyle not the same free-scoring striker he was at Reading. Matt Jarvis regressed considerably last year but could find his feet again amongst weaker opposition.

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