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Postby Sven » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:22 am

Neil Warnock names Leeds, Wolves and Aston Villa amongst sides he expected to challenge for Championship this season
By Jordan Harris

Thursday 21st September 2017

Neil Warnock has suggested that Leeds United, Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers were amongst the six teams he expected to be challenging for Championship promotion this season.

Manager of Cardiff City Neil Warnock
looks on prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff City at Loftus Road on March 4, 2017 in London, England.

Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock has told The Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast on talkSPORT (broadcast on 19th September 2017; 8:12 am) that Leeds, Aston Villa, Wolves, Middlesbrough, Fulham and Derby County were the six clubs that he expected to be challenging for promotion before the Championship season had begun.

After eight games of the new campaign, Warnock's Bluebirds side are third in the table, but boast an identical record to the two sides directly above them, Leeds and Wolves, with five wins each coming so far.

And Warnock hinted that Cardiff's success has come as something as a surprise to him given that he expected six other sides to be battling near the summit before a ball had been kicked.

"You couldn't have a bet on it," he told The Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast on talkSPORT regarding the unpredictability of the Championship.

"For me, the six clubs I thought would be up there to start with were Villa, Derby, Fulham, Middlesbrough, Leeds and Wolves. We've played Wolves and they were very good, although they're spending a lot of money, it's still very even."

As mentioned, Leeds and Wolves have lived up to Warnock's expectations so far, with the Whites currently topping the table on goal difference - which has arguably caught many by surprise given how many changes were made at Elland Road during the summer - while Nuno Espirito Santo's men are second with their only defeat in the league coming against Cardiff.

Meanwhile, Middlesbrough may be seventh in the table, but they are just three points off the summit. But the other three sides have arguably been a lot more underwhelming thus far.

Aston Villa, Fulham and Derby are currently 13th, 14th and 15th respectively, all on 10 points with only the finest of margins between their respective goal differences. But the sides above them will know that there is more than enough time left in the campaign for those three to improve and vindicate Warnock's pre-season prediction, and for the current pace-setters to potentially fall away.
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