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Five 2022/23 EFL Manager Predictions: Featuring Chris Wilder and Ian Evatt

Chris Wilder (Middlesbrough) is bidding to add another promotion to his CV
Chris Wilder (Middlesbrough) is bidding to add another promotion to his CV

In our 2021/22 pre-season manager predictions piece we successfully tipped up Leam Richardson’s Wigan (12/1) to win the League One title, Nathan Jones to spearhead Luton into the Championship play-offs, and even Mark Hughes to return to the dugout - albeit the Welshman’s move to League Two (Bradford) was certainly a surprise!

Admittedly, Paul Cook to win the title with Ipswich prediction went down in flames, as did an anticipated first job in management for John Terry. Cook is now in non-league with Chesterfield, while Terry returned to Chelsea in a coaching consultancy role in the Academy.

As the 2022/23 EFL season edges ever closer, we’ve rolled the managerial dice once again and had a stab at five predictions for the upcoming campaign...

Football Tips

Chris Wilder to win (yet another) promotion

The relegated duo of Norwich, winners in each of their last two Championship campaigns, and Watford dominate the top of the Championship winner market, but its Middlesbrough who catch the eye as a team to stamp their return to the Premier League next season: they are 10/1 to lift the title, 9/2 (Unibet) to finish in the top-2, and 3/1 for promotion.

For starters, Boro have an excellent manager at the helm in Chris Wilder, arguably the best boss in the Championship. Wilder has thrived at every level in the football pyramid, backed up by five promotions on the CV, which includes propelling Sheffield United from League One to 9th in the Premier League.

Last November, Wilder inherited a stuttering Boro side that were 14th in the table. He conjured up a push for the play-offs but just missed out on the final day (7th), although he did fire his side past Man Utd and Spurs through to an FA Cup quarter-final. Now with nine months under his belt and a full pre-season behind him, we expect Wilder to work his magic at the Riverside providing he can bolster his attack...Adam Armstrong perhaps?

Championship Top-2 Odds

Middlesbrough
WIN PROB: 17%
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9/2
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9/2
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9/2
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4/1
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7/2
Odds correct as of 2022-08-11 09:37 Odds subject to change.
Ian Evatt has enjoyed two progressive seasons as Bolton boss
Ian Evatt has enjoyed two progressive seasons as Bolton boss

Ian Evatt to continue on his upward tractory 

After leading a Barrow side dubbed "Barrowcelona" to the National League title, Ian Evatt recovered from a very slow start - 2 wins in 15 matches in all competitions - to fire Bolton to promotion up to League One at the first time of asking. A very creditable 9th place followed in the third-tier, now the target will be progressing further and challenging for a top-6 standing. The Trotters are 13/8 to do just that, while the 9/2 (William Hill) on a second promotion in three seasons is reasonable.

Evatt employs an attractive brand of football. His Bolton can be great to watch, 131 goals were crammed into their 46 games last season. Season ticket sales have subsequently shot up and so have expectations ahead of the new campaign. They lost just three games from mid-January through to May, and fans will have every reason to get excited should the Trotters carry on from where they left off.

On the other hand, Bolton will want to do everything they can to hold onto the ambitious Evatt, who could well capture attention from Championship clubs next term.

League One Promotion Odds

Bolton Wanderers
WIN PROB: 22%
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7/2
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7/2
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7/2
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7/2
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7/2
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3/1
Odds correct as of 2022-08-11 09:38 Odds subject to change.
Will Nigel Clough's Mansfield be knocking on the automatic promotion door?
Will Nigel Clough's Mansfield be knocking on the automatic promotion door?

This is Mansfield’s time

Dangling dangerously second-from-bottom in the whole EFL in late October, boss Nigel Clough was no doubt fearing for his future at Mansfield after an alarming dozen games without a win. But, as all good managers do, he swatted away any concerns in impressive fashion, inspiring his side to win 11 of their following 12 games and come the end of the season they'd clinched a play-off spot. A comprehensive defeat in the final would have hurt, but if Mansfield can channel last season’s heartbreak to spur them onto greater pastures then there’s no reason why they can’t secure a top-3 finish this time around (7/2).

New boys Stockport, eternal-ante-post-contenders Salford, and Mark Hughes’ Bradford are the early promotion favourites next season. Yet clubs like Mansfield should be confident and optimistic that they can be a solid contender. In Clough, they have one of the most experienced managers in the division and when the Stags are on fire they are hard to beat - no League Two team accumulated more points between November and May last season.

League Two Top-3 Odds

Mansfield Town
WIN PROB: 23%
1
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3/1
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3/1
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5/2
Odds correct as of 2022-08-09 14:43 Odds subject to change.

John Eustace could struggle - or even be stitched up - at Birmingham

John Eustace is a highly-rated coach who fully deserves his first managerial opportunity in the EFL. Yet, the job he’s taken on is both difficult and demanding.

This is a club that’s endured its fair share of off-field turmoil, with all hopes currently pinned on a likely new takeover by Paul Richardson and Maxi Lopez. Eustace has only just got the job, but there have been reports that the new owners could have their own ideas on who should be manager.

Birmingham have finished 20th, 18th, 20th, 17th, 19th, and 19th again in the last six Championship seasons. They’ve not finished in the top-half since 2015/16 and haven’t been in the play-off mix for over a decade. At this moment it's difficult to see anything other than a season battling the drop with Birmingham 2/1 (UniBet) to plummet down to the third-tier for the first time since 1994/95.

Championship Relegation Odds

Birmingham
WIN PROB: 31%
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6/4
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Odds correct as of 2022-08-10 10:30 Odds subject to change.

Jon Dahl Tomasson for a top-6 finish

Blackburn have welcomed a new face into the dugout for the first time in over five years. It's an interesting switch too as long-serving boss Tony Mowbray has made way for former Newcastle and AC Milan striker Jon Dahl Tomasson. The Dane won the Swedish league title in both of his seasons in charge of Malmo, and featured in the Champions League group stages.

His task will be building on the foundations Mowbray put in place and in turn mounting a promotion push, something which the club just fell short of last season after missing out on the top-6 late on.

Tomasson's arrival has fuelled optimism as the club look to embark on an exciting new era. "We have a young team here, and also a great Academy, and the owners have a clear vision, which is to develop players and become a sustainable Premier League club over time, so I’m really happy to be involved in this exciting new chapter for the club," he said upon his appointment. 

There's a number of big clubs in the division, each with their own hopes, ambitions and expectations but Rovers are definitely one to keep an eye on as the season progresses. Especially if main man Ben Brereton Díaz stays. Tomasson's side look a decent price at 7/2 to secure a top-6 finish, and 9/1 for promotion.

Championship Top-6 Odds

Blackburn
WIN PROB: 23%
1
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£20 FREE BET
£100 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
5/2
£30 FREE BET
9/4
REVEAL OFFER
2/1
£30 FREE BET
7/4
Odds correct as of 2022-08-11 09:38 Odds subject to change.
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