Kevin Campbell fancies Stoke City to be challenging at the other end of the Championship this season – but reckons the top two might be filled east down the A50.
The former Arsenal, Everton and Nottingham Forest striker – and Tyrese Campbell’s dad – has pulled his pundit’s hat on to preview the season for the Racing Post.
He was put on the spot to predict who will be in the promotion shake-up and it was when the talk turned to the play-offs that he got excited.
He said: “I can mention my son’s team, Stoke! I think Stoke will definitely be up challenging for the top six and I hope they get it.
“I think Swansea will get there, I think Cardiff will get there as well and last but not least, I’m going to go for Blackburn. They are due a decent season and due an opportunity to challenge for the Premier League.”
Campbell, who starred in the last Forest team to win promotion to the Premier League back in 1998, expects to see them back up and competing for the top two this time.
They had seemed set for the top six before a dramatic last day beating at home to Stoke sent them toppling down the table to be overtaken by Swansea.
And it could be party time in the East Midlands next May.
Campbell said: “This is a real, real tough one but I’ve got a penchant for Derby. I think they’re going to be there or thereabouts.
“The Wayne Rooney factor. He was just finding his feet last season and I think Philip Cocu and Rooney are going to do something.
“I can’t give you the 10 reasons why but I’ve just got that feeling from Derby that they’re going to go up.
“I’m going for Derby and Forest, the two Midlands clubs. I think Forest have to respond and I think they will respond – so automatic promotion, I’m going Derby and Forest. I won’t say who is going to win the title – but those two are my tips.
“No splinters! I’m not particularly convinced (enough to say who will win the title)… I could probably chuck in another four or five teams who could be up there.
“Because of what Stoke have been through in previous seasons I think a challenge for the play-offs will be good.”