Can Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Hull bounce back to make Premier League return?

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Hull, Middlesbrough and Sunderland are all targeting an immediate return to the Premier League. But recent history suggests that bouncing back isn’t so straight forward…

In the last 10 years, only nine of 30 relegated teams (30 per cent) have achieved promotion back from the Sky Bet Championship at the first time of asking.

And of those, four have had to fight their way back through the play-offs to regain their top-flight status.

Newcastle have twice finished as Championship winners (2009/10 and 2016/17), while Burnley also went up as victors in 2015/16. West Brom (2009/10) and Birmingham (2008/09) have gone up as runners-up the season after the drop.
Hull (2015/16), Norwich (2014/15), QPR (2013/14) and West Ham (2011/12), meanwhile, have all waded their way through the play-offs to make an immediate Premier League return.

Last season Norwich and Aston Villa were two of the favourites, alongside Newcastle, to regain promotion, but both missed out on the play-offs entirely, finishing eighth and 13th. In fact, in the last decade the average finish for relegated clubs is 8.1 – two places short of even a play-off finish.

Key stats – last 10 years
No of clubs to make immediate PL return – 9 out of 30
Av Championship position in year after relegation – 8th
No of clubs to be relegated again – eight
No of clubs to drop to League Two – two
Down again

For some clubs it gets even worse. While only Wolves in the last decade have suffered back-to-back relegations to find themselves right down in League One, seven other clubs have tasted life in the third tier since being relegated from the Premier League – Wigan (twice), Bolton, Blackburn, Blackpool, Portsmouth, Sheffield United and Charlton.

Blackburn find themselves two levels below the top flight for the first time since 1980 this season, where they join Charlton, Blackpool and Portsmouth.

The latter two clubs, meanwhile, found themselves dropping as far as League Two within five years of Premier League life, but promotion last season suggests they could be on their way back.
Who’s confident?

All three relegated clubs find themselves among the favourites to return to the Premier League. New Middlesbrough boss Garry Monk, in particular, is in confident mood ahead of the new season.

“If things go well, we’ll be back to the Premier League,” he said at his unveiling earlier this summer. “But there’s a big process to go through if you’re going to achieve that. It has to be down to the ambition of everyone.

“That’s already been made very clear by the owner, but I think he’s also very smart and experienced to know there’s a process he has to go through, in the same way all of us [do].”
Hull and Sunderland also have new managers installed but, while the Black Cats have gone for Simon Grayson and his wealth of experience in the Football League, Hull have opted for Leonid Slutsky, who has never managed outside of Russia.

Good news for Sunderland fans is that Grayson, 47, has won promotion with every single club he has managed in his career so far.

“Anyone can beat anyone on any given day in the Championship and you have to be at it, full tilt in every game and earn the right to win every football match because of the competition and the size of some clubs,” he said.
“You have former European Cup winners in this division and teams that have been around the top end of the Premier League at times. But the names and what they have done in the past are irrelevant. It is about the present and what you want to achieve now.”

Slutsky, meanwhile, will aim to take inspiration from David Wagner last season. Huddersfield defied the theory that you need experience of English football to win promotion to the Premier League, becoming the first foreign boss in history to steer a side successfully through the Championship play-offs.
The Russian has been in England as a guest of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich since January which should help him hit the ground running, and he is also feeling positive about Hull’s chances.

“I have talked about our targets for [the] season,” he said. “Of course, that’s promotion. A lot of players are really ready to help Hull to promotion.”

Confidence aside, it remains extremely unlikely that all three will secure an immediate return to the Premier League, and it will be fascinating to see who comes out on top in the scrap to get out of the second tier.Euro Soccer Bonus

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