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History shows relegated trio will struggle to bounce straight back into Premier League

History shows relegated trio will struggle to bounce straight back into Premier League
© Reuters
Watford get the season under way against Middlesbrough on Friday evening.

Relegated trio Norwich, Watford and Bournemouth will have to buck the recent trend if they are to make an immediate return to the Premier League.

New Hornets boss Vladimir Ivic will launch his reign in the Sky Bet Championship as his side entertain Middlesbrough on Friday evening, with the Canaries travelling to Huddersfield on Saturday, while the Cherries welcome Blackburn to the Vitality Stadium.

However, recent history suggests bouncing back at the first attempt is becoming increasingly difficult.

Only two sides โ€“ Fulham and Newcastle โ€“ have managed it in the last four seasons and just seven have done so in the last 10.

The statistics also show that relegated teams have to be prepared to go all the way โ€“ the Magpies and Burnley have gone up as champions in the last decade, but West Ham, QPR, Norwich, Hull and Fulham all did it the hard way by winning the play-off final.

Jason Tindall's Bournemouth have lost goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale to Sheffield United, defender Nathan Ake to Manchester City and winger Ryan Fraser and striker Callum Wilson to Newcastle in the wake of relegation, recouping the best part of ยฃ80million in the process.

Watford, who have added loan signing Glenn Murray to their squad, are preparing for the new campaign amid continuing speculation over the futures of key men Abdoulaye Doucoure and Troy Deeney.

Norwich's Teemu Pukki plundered 29 goals during his last season in the Sky Bet Championship
Norwich's Teemu Pukki plundered 29 goals during his last season in the Sky Bet Championship (Joe Giddens/PA)

Norwich, who have signed West Ham striker Jordan Hugill and struck loan deals for Burnley defender Ben Gibson and Tottenham midfielder Oliver Skipp, will return to the division from which they went up as champions two seasons ago with top scorer Teemu Pukki, who managed just 11 league goals last season, plundering 29 along the way.

The three newcomers, however, will by no means have things their own way, with Brentford, Cardiff and Swansea, who joined promoted Fulham in the play-off spots last season, well placed to bounced back from their disappointment.

The Bees in particular were left kicking themselves when their hopes of automatic promotion, which had been boosted significantly by a run of eight successive wins either side of the coronavirus lockdown, were dashed by successive defeats to struggling Stoke and Barnsley, which saw them finish two points adrift of second-placed West Brom.

Nottingham Forest suffered similar jitters as they collected only three of the last 18 points available to miss out on the top six altogether, while Phillip Cocu's Derby also faltered in the face of a difficult run of fixtures.

Middlesbrough will surely be stronger under promotion specialist Neil Warnock, while Huddersfield and Stoke will need to improve significantly if they are to avoid the kind of late scramble in which they, Luton and Barnsley rescued themselves at the death.

For promoted sides Coventry, Rotherham and Wycombe, the overwhelming priority is survival, something which has proved beyond Charlton, the Millers themselves, Wigan, MK Dons, Doncaster and Yeovil in the last 10 seasons, although two sides โ€“ Southampton and Norwich โ€“ have gone straight up again.

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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Reading87101531222
2Bournemouth8440116516
3Swansea CitySwansea8431105515
4Millwall8431105515
5Bristol City8422117414
6Norwich CityNorwich842297214
7Middlesbrough734084413
8Luton TownLuton841377013
9Watford733174312
10Stoke CityStoke833299012
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12Blackburn RoversBlackburn83141811710
13Preston North EndPreston83141010010
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16Huddersfield TownHuddersfield8314710-310
17Rotherham UnitedRotherham823389-19
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20Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest8134510-56
21Derby CountyDerby8125412-85
22Coventry CityCoventry8125616-105
23Wycombe WanderersWycombe8017316-131
24Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds822459-4-4

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