Manager turned pundit Ian Holloway, has been looking ahead to the Championship struggle that lies ahead.
He has good news for both Newcastle United and Aston Villa, kind of.
The former Palace, Leicester and Millwall boss was asked to predict where each club will finish this season.
For Newcastle United, he says it is ‘hard to look past them for the title’.
Ian Holloway pointing out that Newcastle are spending the most in the transfer market, have the best manager ‘ever to have graced the Championship’ and also have the most fans.
An easy conclusion (Newcastle champions/promoted) to draw but the vast majority of Newcastle fans are still very wary of taking anything for granted, with the record of favourites in the second tier being dismal over the course of the last 15 years.
Despite Aston Villa having the same parachute payments as Newcastle, a Champions League winning manager, plus more fans than many in the Championship, Ian Holloway sees thing slightly differently for the club from the West Midlands.
He has predicted Villa not to get relegated but says that on reflection, his prediction of 16th might be a bit generous considering the way the players behaved last season.
The bookies have Newcastle strong favourites with fellow relegated clubs Norwich and Villa the next most likely to go up.
By this time next month there will have been five Championship matches played for each team and we should have definite signs by then of what are the likely fates for each of the relegated three.
Ian Holloway talking to Sky Sports:
“Newcastle have the biggest budget, arguably the biggest fan base, plus the most experienced and illustrious manager ever to have graced the Championship in Rafa Benitez.
“It is hard to look past them for the title.”
“They (Aston Villa) are lucky that I have put them this to finish this high (16th).
“Last season the Villa players felt the weight of the shirt but not the importance of it. They didn’t respect the badge enough and I am worried that nothing will change.
“They could quite easily get relegated again, with a lack of investment and lack of unity within the playing squad.”