And the tipsters say ... Newcastle and Norwich City will bounce back

Yes, this is the man who is tipped by many to take Newcastle straight back to the top flight... Rafa

Yes, this is the man who is tipped by many to take Newcastle straight back to the top flight... Rafa Benitez. - Credit: PA

Having shamed myself several times over recent seasons when it comes to forecasting, I thought I'd give you the benefit of expert words from my more esteemed colleagues.

So here's what will happen in the Championship this season: and it seems pretty conclusive...

Paddy Davitt

1 Newcastle United, 2 Sheffield Wednesday, play-off winners: Norwich City (4th)

Newcastle have the spending power, the fan base and arguably the highest-profile manager ever to operate in the English second tier. It looks a winning combination, but it will be interesting to see how swiftly they stamp their authority on the rest. Sheffield Wednesday are a streetwise outfit capable of further improvement this season. Norwich know exactly what it takes over this course and distance, but it might take the play-off route again.

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Chris Reeve

1 Newcastle, 2 Norwich, play-off winners: Sheffield Wednesday

Newcastle will win the league. They've invested serious money in players that are not only good enough for the job in the Championship, but could easily compete in the Premier League – the likes of Matt Ritchie and Mohamed Diame to name just two. Add Rafa Benitez to the mix and you've got a team capable of beating every team comfortably.

Yes, I have yellow and green glasses on, but I genuinely think Norwich City have almost all the right ingredients in place to go straight back up. The key to our season will be if Alex Neil can get us back on track after a tough period. I was very impressed with Sheffield Wednesday last season. I think they will have the edge over Aston Villa at Wembley this time out. However, almost any team in the top 10 could challenge for promotion.

David Freezer

1 Newcastle, 2 Norwich, play-off winners: Derby

Newcastle look set to run away with the title – breaking 100 points is a real possibility with Rafa Benitez in charge of their talented squad. The Canaries should be more than capable of following not far behind but a good start is crucial, as previous frustrations could soon surface again if Alex Neil, inset, can't get his squad moving in the right direction.

Nigel Pearson is an excellent appointment for Derby, his guidance should be enough for a strong Derby squad to be pushing hard for automatic promotion.

David Hannant

1 Newcastle United, 2 Norwich, play-off winners: Sheffield Wednesday

Keeping Rafa Benitez is a huge coup for Newcastle and they have spent well, bringing in proven talent for this level like Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle. Despite hysteria surrounding City's striking situation, many fans have forgotten there are goals elsewhere in the team. Timm Klose's commitment will also be huge and with the likes of Alex Tettey, Wes Hoolahan and Jonny Howson all staying put, City have probably the strongest midfield in the league.

Wednesday were unlucky not to go up last season, and with the partnership of Steven Fletcher and a certain Gary Hooper, they should threaten again this year.

Sportsdesk Pete

1. Newcastle, 2 Norwich, play-off winners: Derby

Newcastle are the bookies' clear favourites, and with good reason. Rafa Benitez is an experienced manager (admittedly not in the Championship) but with his track record – and the money and fans behind them – they should walk the division.

The Canaries retain the bulk of the squad that gained promotion in the best possible way at Wembley last year. Timm Klose is key – the defender would walk into a lot of Premier League teams, as would Wes. Add a striker to what is a top Championship side and they would finish champions – if it wasn't for Newcastle.

Iwan Roberts

1 Newcastle, 2 Norwich, play-off winners: Derby

I'm going to have to go for Newcastle even though they have lost some very good players. They still have a squad more than capable of winning the Championship and have bought well – and have the best manager in the division.

City to go up as well – that's my head telling me not my heart. They have a better squad now than when they won promotion last time. With only Nathan Redmond leaving and with a couple of additions they could push Newcastle all the way. The play-off winners will be Derby – they have a no-nonsense, experienced manager in Nigel Pearson who knows what it takes to win promotion and with a talented squad of players will do what he did at Leicester City.

Robin Sainty

1 Norwich, 2 Newcastle, play-off winners: Brighton

I think Newcastle and Villa will struggle to adapt, but if they do well Rafa Benitez and Robert Di Matteo will be poached by Premier League clubs. Either way City will adapt much more easily and haven't had a major squad rebuild. I also think Alex Neil is much better equipped for the division having got through it once before and will be ready from day one. He knows the players he has are here because they want to be, not because of big contracts. Such things count on the proverbial wet Tuesday in Rotherham.