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Bolton may make instant return as relegated sides aim to buck trend

| 14.05.2012

A 2-2 draw away to Stoke yesterday condemned Bolton to Premier League relegation, and the Trotters are 6/1 to win next season’s Championship after finishing third from bottom.

They will hope to emulate Newcastle’s efforts of the 2009/2010 season, where the Magpies stormed to the title after finishing in 18th place during their previous Premier League campaign.

However, it may be worth noting that this is the only example of a side placing in that position going on to land the Championship title the following year, during the league’s seven year tenure in its current format.

Birmingham have been promoted instantly twice after finishing third-bottom, but achieved runner-up finishes on each occasion, whilst they fell at the semi-final stage of the playoffs after finishing fourth this time round.

Bolton would appear the best equipped of any of the relegated sides to mount a serious promotion challenge, as Blackburn remain in disarray and Wolves continue to struggle to arrest a run of horrific form.

No serious pressure has yet to build on Owen Coyle, and his experience in achieving Championship promotion with Burnley three years ago will stand him in good stead to launch a promotion bid at the Reebok Stadium.

He would need to maintain the nucleus of a very capable squad, but that looks more likely at that club than any of the other sides, as interest in players such as Yakubu and Steven Fletcher mounts at Wolves and Blackburn respectively.

Punters who do believe all three sides have a chance of bouncing straight back though, can take advantage of 16/1 odds about the trio achieving promotion by any means next term.

Such an instance has never occurred in the Championship in its current format, and also during the 20 years since the Premier League’s inception, so it appears a far-fetched scenario at best.



John Klee