How Leeds United, Derby County, Stoke and Middlesbrough's other promotion rivals are shaping up
Middlesbrough fans are becoming increasingly anxious about the club’s lack of signings this summer – but how are their Championship rivals shaping up with just over three weeks to go until August’s transfer deadline?
According to the bookmakers, Boro are one of the favourites to win promotion from the Championship this campaign, with only four teams boasting better odds.
When it comes to drawing up pre-season front runners, eyes are immediately drawn to the clubs which were relegated from the Premier League last season, with Fulham, Cardiff and Huddersfield all falling through the trapdoor earlier this year.
Yet, unlike Boro following their relegation from the top-flight in 2017, neither have been particularly active in the transfer market.
Scott Parker’s Fulham have at least held onto some of their key players, with striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, captain Tom Carney and winger Ryan Sessegnon all staying put. The loan signing of Ivan Cavaleiro from Wolves also looks like a shrewd piece of business.
Cardiff have also kept many of their senior players from last season, including goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, captain Sean Morrison and pacy winger Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, while adding three new faces to their squad.
Huddersfield have been more proactive, bringing in five new players including former Aston Villa defender Tommy Elphick. However, the departures of goalkeeper Jonas Lossl and right-back Tommy Smith could prove costly.
The other pre-season promotion favourites include last season’s play-off finishers.
Leeds United look set for another crack at promotion under Marcelo Bielsa, who has re-signed Manchester City winger Jack Harrison on loan and Wolves wideman Helder Costa.
Meanwhile Derby and West Brom are preparing for life under new management, following the appointments of Phillip Cocu and Slaven Bilic respectively. Still, both clubs have made just one signing this summer.
One team who aren’t holding back is Stoke, with the Potters making seven new signings during pre-season including Nick Powell from Wigan and League One promotion winner Liam Lindsay from Barnsley.
Meanwhile Brentford and Bristol City have also pulled off some eye-catching deals this summer.
More signings are set to follow in the next three weeks, as Championship clubs add the finishing touches to their promotion-chasing squads.