Date:Tuesday July 25 2006
A poll has been running on the WBA Vital homepage for the last 2 months for fans to have their say on whom they think will be Albion`s closest rivals for promotion this season. Birmingham City topped the poll with 37% of the vote and Blues have moved to strengthen their side after losing Emile Heskey, Nicky Butt and Mario Melchiot by adding quality players such as Cameron Jerome, Neil Danns and Stephen Kelly. There is no doubting Blues will be up there battling for promotion this season.
Second in the poll were Cardiff City with 25% of the vote, the Welsh club impressed last season with manager Dave Jones turning them into a passing side with a lot of threat in front of goal. Cardiff had a surge of votes during the Jason Koumas saga, I think a few Cardiff fans had become a little irritated with Albion and the whole situation. They have lost their main threats from last season with top-scorer Cameron Jerome joining Blues and Koumas returning to Albion but they have signed Newcastle striker Michael Chopra who could be a threat at this level. I would expect to see Cardiff pushing for a play-off spot this season but only time will tell if the loss of Jerome and Koumas proves their undoing.
Last season`s play-off finalists Leeds United finished third in the poll with 13% and will be up there again this season. Kevin Blackwell has instilled a winning attitude again at Elland Road and he will be hoping that they can carry on from where they left last season. Leeds have a quality side and with David Healy firing for them up front they should be in and around the play-offs again this season.
Albion`s Black Country rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers finished fourth with 7% of the vote and Peter Taylor`s Crystal Palace finished fifth with 6%.
The option to vote for other recorded 12% of the vote.
Who will be Albion`s main rival for promotion from the Championship?
Birmingham City 37%
Cardiff City 25%
Leeds United 13%
Crystal Palace 06%
Do you agree, who do you think will be challenging for promotion from the Championship this season?
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