Middlesbrough's expected promotion rivals and the work they need or want to do this summer

Middlesbrough are plotting an ambitious summer and season ahead with Michael Carrick clear in his aims to challenge for promotion next season.

And while Boro will have full focus on themselves and getting what they need to in terms of transfer and preparations right for the new campaign, undoubtedly, a big factor in how successful their bid for promotion will be will also be determined by their rivals and they work do - particularly the four clubs who are in receipt of parachute payments and therefore financially advantaged.

The Bookies currently have Boro as fourth favourite for promotion next season. Here, we take a closer look at who the bookies currently believe will be their ten biggest rivals and the work they want/have to do this summer. Interestingly, that list does not include still-managerless Sunderland who are ranked 12th.

READ MORE: Middlesbrough promotion chances assessed as next season's Championship table is predicted

Leeds United

Leeds are currently seen as favourites for promotion next season after losing to Southampton in the play-off final this year. Still in receipt of a reduced second-season rate of parachute payments, Leeds have also committed to sticking with Daniel Farke next season for continuation.

However, while reports suggesting they had outstanding transfer fees of over £100m due to pay out were outdated, there is still expected to be some big sales this summer. Key players such as Crysencio Summerville, Wilfried Gnonto, Georginio Rutter and Archie Gray could leave.

Crucially though, Leeds will have money to reinvest in the squad this summer. How they utilise that will likely be the important factor.


First things first at Burnley, they must find a new manager after the shock departure of Vincent Kompany to Bayern Munich. While a blow to them, it shouldn't bee seen as massively impeding their promotion chances, given how easily they romped to the Championship title two years ago in what was Kompany's first season. Scott Parker and Frank Lampard have been linked with the vacant post.

In terms of the squad after relegation and transfer plans, Burnley will have considerable advantages thanks to the parachute payments. Their poor season in the Premier League isn't likely to lead to huge interest in their players and while there might be one or two departures, they should have adequate money and planning to replace them.

Luton Town

Despite on paper looking the weakest of the three promoted sides last summer, it was Luton who made the biggest fist of things in the top flight. Not enough to secure their Premier League status for another year, however, they return to the Championship and hope to do so with Rob Edwards still at the helm despite reported interest from Leicester City.

There is believed to be interest in a few of their players this summer, and Edwards has said no one should expect the Hatters to be big spenders this summer. Having over-achieved the last time they were in the Premier League, it will be interesting to see if they can do so again this time and quickly recover from a damaging top flight campaign that brought only six wins.

West Brom

Having missed out in the play-offs last season, West Brom are targeting another promotion push in the upcoming season after being taken over earlier in the year. Carlos Corberan has also been linked with the Leicester job vacated by new Chelsea boss Enzo Maresca and keeping the Spaniard could be key for the Baggies.

They could require a big summer squad rebuild too. Seven senior players were released at the end of the season while there is still no confirmation on whether Kyle Bartley, Cedric Kipre and former Boro loanee Alex Mowatt will accept new deals or move elsewhere. Quite how big the resources the new owners are have to back Corberan in the rebuild remain to be seen.

Coventry City

Always there or thereabouts, Coventry have become a real foe for Boro in recent years. Mark Robins's side lost some key players, like Boro, last summer and it impacted them last season as they had to settle for a ninth-place finish and an FA Cup semi-final.

Very similar to Boro, the Sky Blues aren't expecting quite the same upheaval as last summer when 14 players -including star men Viktor Gyokeres and Gus Hamer - left. But there will still be some departures, with four confirmed so far and a number of players entering the final year of their deals. Winger Raphael Borges Rodrigues is their first summer signing from Australian A-League club Macarthur FC and they will likely continue searching for those kinds of hidden gems this summer.

Sheffield United

Sheffield United will start the season on minus two points after defaulting on transfer payments to other clubs during the 2022-23 season when they won promotion. The Blades are also currently awaiting approval on a takeover from an American consortium.

That could mean a lot of change at Bramall Lane and leaves Chris Wilder's future in doubt having previously been expected to continue in the hotseat. The wait for approval ultimately leads to uncertainty and delays the Blades' squad planning for next season as many leave and need replacing.

Norwich City

The third unsuccessful play-off finishers this season, Norwich are the only one of the trio who have decided to change manager. Gone is David Wagner, replaced by relatively inexperienced Danish coach Johannes Hoff Thorup.

The focus for the new head coach sounds like it is on trying to work largely with the players already at the club's disposal. They have signed 23-year-old Panama international defender Jose Cordoba but are said to now be targeting free transfers and loans.

Stoke City

After a disappointing season in which they had to battle relegation, Stoke are hoping to be far more more ambitious this time around. Steven Schumacher turned things around at the end of last season to steer them to safety and is now working with sporting director Jonathan Walters and new head of recruitment Lee Darnbrough, who has joined from Hull to strengthen their squad.

Walters has admitted that current financial fair play rules, set to be under review this summer, will limit how much they can spend, however. Goalkeeper Viktor Johansson is their first summer signing, and ex-Boro man Ben Gibson is expected to soon join him. They've lost five key players already this summer, however, and need to cut their squad, with Walters admitting they still have around 30 players.

Hull City

An interesting summer lies ahead for Hull after sacking Liam Rosenior. That came after a big push last season to make top six, which ultimately ended in disappointment. German head coach Tim Walter is the new man.

Despite that, owner has suggested the targets might have to change at the MKM Stadium thanks to FFP rules. He told our sister site Hull Live: "There are FFP limits and there is a big pressure on all Championship clubs They will only let me send £14m from my pocket and I will spend that to the limit, but after that, we cannot spend any more. We have five loan options too.

"I will not promise where we finish, but I promise we will give everything and Tim will give everything too. You cannot predict football, but over 10th, every place is successful for us. Success for us is top 10, but our aim is top six, we will aim for that."

They have sellable assets such as Jacob Greaves and Jaden Philogene but are said to be keen not to sell unless they have to. They find themselves in a similar position to Boro 12 months ago, having lost a number of key loan players.


Having appointed Tom Cleverley as their 11th permanent head coach since September 2019, Watford are hoping to build on a decent end to the season (loss at Boro on the final day aside) with a far better campaign next term.

No longer backed by parachute payments, they will have to make huge improvements on their recent recruitment record, however. Cleverley is said to be targeting Premier League loans to add quality at a lower price.