Nottingham Forest’s Play-Off Final victory over Huddersfield Town meant that the Terriers completed the 24-team line-up for the 2022/23 Championship season. But what do we know about each of those teams?

I caught up with former Watford defender Paul Robinson, who played in the Championship for the Hornets, as well as West Brom, Leeds and Birmingham. He then coached at the Blues after retiring, before joining his former boss Gary Rowett at Millwall last summer where he is first-team coach.

Robbo knows the Championship inside out, so he ran the rule over each of the teams for us.

Birmingham City

They had a good start last season and then badly faded away. They have financial issues behind the scenes but not many people really know what’s going on. Once they started to drop it all went wrong and if it hadn’t been for the teams who were deducted points they’d have been in real trouble. Obviously they have Troy Deeney, but I’m not sure one man can fix things. They need to find some identity.

Blackburn Rovers

This summer will be key for them as I just can’t see them holding onto Ben Brereton. He’s hot property because he can play anywhere along the front line and he scores lots of goals. I actually think losing Tony Mowbray will be worse for them. I worked with him at West Brom and he was excellent. There are a few players who will need convincing to stay.


They’ve brought in Neil Critchley from Liverpool Under-23s as their new manager and it’ll be interesting to see what he does. Both times we played them last season they were very organised and hard to break down. This is their second season back up in the Championship and often that second season is harder. Their challenge will be bringing in the players they need to make them stronger.

Watford Observer:

Bristol City

Watford fans will obviously know their manager Nigel Pearson, pictured. They were a bit up and down last season, and he might have a battle on his hands to keep some of their younger players. They’ve got some good experienced strikers though like Andi Weimann, who was at Watford, and Nakhi Wells. The owner has backed the club very well, and I would imagine he’ll be expecting them to be involved in a promotion push given what he’s invested.


Once Burnley sacked Sean Dyche I always thought they would go down. Sacking any manager with ten games to go is a strange move. Sean had been there so long I think they should have left him in charge. I’m expecting them to lose a lot of players, but obviously with the parachute payments they will be in a position to sign players too. If they recruit well this could be a good summer for them.

Cardiff City

They're rebuilding under Steve Morrison. He will want to bring players in, but they are one of a number of clubs who will be having to work under the Financial Fair Play rules. Clubs are being a bit more cautious now having seen what happened to Derby. It’s easy to forget Cardiff were in the Premier League not so long ago.

Coventry City

I really like Mark Robins as a manager. A lot of their players really impressed me last season, people like Gustavo Hamer and Callum O’Hare. Up front, Viktor Gyokeres caught my eye too. Of course, they will have been seen by lots of other clubs and Coventry will be worried about hanging onto them. If they do lose players, Robins is very good at unearthing gems from young players released by other clubs.

Huddersfield Town

The surprise team of last season, and losing in the Play-Off Final is a horrible way for the season to end, especially having finished third in the regular season. Under Tony Mowbray that happened to me at West Brom, but then we got promoted the next season. Levi Colwill, pictured, was excellent in defence but he’ll go back to Chelsea and Carlos Corboran might find some of his other players attract attention when the window opens.

Watford Observer:

Hull City

They were poor last season, real under achievers. The new owners threw some money around but we played them towards the end of the season and they didn’t impress me. Keane Lewis-Potter is a very good player though, and I’m a really big fan of George Honeyman in midfield too. They just survived last season and they can’t really afford to be in the same position again next season.

Luton Town

I won’t win friends by saying this, but Luton did really well last season and Nathan Jones is a very good manager. He moulded a team from the group he had to play a certain way. Up top, Elijah Adebayo was very good, and their right wing-back James Bree is decent. I don’t think they will be a flash in the pan, they have a real togetherness at the club.


Chris Wilder went in there and had a big group who weren’t his players. He did well with them, and now he’ll use the transfer window to put his own mark on the squad. They’ve signed Dwight Gayle on loan which gives them goals and experience in attack. It’s also a statement of intent to take a player from a Premier League club. There’s no doubt in my mind that they will be right up there next season.


We surprised a few people by getting so close to the play-offs last season. It looks like we’ll lose Jed Wallace, pictured, which will be a blow, but we also have some very exciting young players in the squad like Danny McNamara and Billy Mitchell. Benik Afobe has gone back to Stoke, but we’re looking around at players to bring in some fresh faces.

Watford Observer:

Norwich City

They were already struggling when Dean Smith went there and they never really looked like turning things around. In Dean and Craig Shakespeare they have two very good coaches, and they will certainly be looking to bring in their own style of player. Like any club that goes down, they will lose players but they have a core of players who know how to get out of the Championship.

Preston North End

Ryan Lowe went there just before Christmas and I thought he did a really good job. Like many of the teams I’ve talked about, they have a manager who was working with players he had when he arrived. He’ll want to bring a few of his own in. Last season I remember them being a team that set up to make it very difficult for the opposition and stop you playing.


I know Michael Beale, their new manager, really well, and he’s gained a lot of really good experience working with Steven Gerrard at Rangers and Aston Villa. He’s inherited some very good players: Ilias Chair is a real talent that he’ll want to keep hold of. I like Lyndon Dykes their striker and Stefan Johansen is an excellent player if they can keep him fit.

Watford Observer:


They just about survived last season after Paul Ince, pictured, went there. They had a points deduction last season under the FFP rules and they’ll be worried about getting another one this season. I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes at these clubs to get themselves in that sort of position. Reading were real contenders for promotion not so long ago, but I think they might struggle again.

Rotherham United

Paul Warne did a great job getting them promoted having gone down the season before. They are one of a number of teams who might not have the best players but they make it very hard for opponents to play. A friend of mine, Wes Harding, is there and he’s one of a number of on-pitch leaders they have. They’ll be focussed on getting the results they need to not go back down.

Sheffield United

They are one of those big clubs you expect to be involved at the top of the table, although they have to overcome the disappointment of losing in the play-offs. I’m pretty sure Paul Heckingbottom will freshen up his squad. He’s got a lot of senior, experienced players like Enda Stevens and Ollie Norwood, plus Billy Sharp up front. I really like Iliman Ndiaye in midfield too. They will expect to be involved in the promotion battle.

Stoke City

For some reason Stoke seem to find a way of having things go wrong and not quite achieving what they should. I think they’ll have to let players go to balance the books, people like Nick Powell who is really decent. If they get the right players in the squad and get some stability then they could be a club that pushes for the play-offs. You just never know what you’ll get with Stoke.


Obviously a very big club that has been under performing for a good while. Alex Neil, pictured, has a great reputation for getting his teams working and playing in a way to get promoted. They will need a good transfer window and their fans will have high expectations. That actually can help opposing teams as they have a big stadium full of very noisy fans – if you can keep the fans quiet, then the team look nervous.

Watford Observer:

Swansea City

They are a very attractive team to watch under Russell Martin. They’re a team you have to shut down as they have creativity in Matt Grimes, and then goals in Joel Piroe up top. They always seem to assemble a good squad and Russell is very good at getting his teams organised and well set. After being mid table last season, I can them being nearer the play-offs this time around.


Where do I start?! I think this is going to be a fascinating summer as they will need to lose a lot of the deadwood in the squad, players who clearly have no interest in being at the club. Rob Edwards, pictured, did a great job at Forest Green and he will have to put his stamp on the team and the club. He has to be allowed to get the players he wants and play the formation and style he prefers.

Watford Observer:

West Bromwich Albion

As Steve Bruce has gone there you’d have to think he’s got the backing to have a real good push to go back up. They’ve just signed John Swift from Reading and he is a very good player. They had a lot of quality already in the likes of Matt Phillips and Karlan Grant. If they can sort things out at the back and stop giving goals away too easily then they will definitely be a promotion contender.

Wigan Athletic

They’ve had a rough few years but I’m pleased to see them back in the Championship. They have some great coaches that are friends of mine like Rob Kelly and Darryl Flahavan. That means they will have a squad that is really well drilled and organised. With a good transfer window they could be a club that surprises a few people.

Robbo’s three for promotion: Middlesbrough, Sheffield United and Burnley.