Middlesbrough could be the dark horse in the race for promotion from the Championship this season.
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Boro may not be the first choice of many punters to gain promotion, but solely on the basis that they finished seventh in the last campaign could be good enough reason to back this outcome at 6/1 with Ladbrokes
Finishing one place outside of the Championship play-off positions and thus narrowly missing out on a shot at promotion to the Premier League could be regarded as the worst place to finish aside from in the relegation places.
However, many teams manage to use this as the perfect spur for better things in the following season.
Looking back at the last eight seasons from 2005, four teams to have finished seventh in the Championship have been successful in securing promotion to the Premier League in the following campaign.
This is a far better average than the teams that do make the play-offs as only twice in the last seven seasons has a team gone up in the season directly after they were beaten in the play-offs.
It was Middlesbrough that took seventh spot last season, five points outside of the play-offs and this actually bodes well for them in the upcoming campaign.
Meanwhile, manager Tony Mowbray has experience of gaining promotion from the Championship and with this being the start of his second full season in charge at the Riverside, he has had enough time to build his own squad and mould them into playing in his chosen style.
The signing of Jonathan Woodgate could prove inspired if he is able to stay fit and although a few players have departed, only really Barry Robson threatens to be a big loss.
Grant Leadbitter has arrived to perform a similar role in midfield and if Mowbray can find some added midfield creativity before the start of the season, Middlesbrough have a squad that can challenge.
Middlesbrough are 20/1 in the Championship odds to win the title and this has been achieved after finishing seventh by Wolves in 2009 and Reading in 2006.