Championship Golden Boot race: 15 stars to keep an eye on in the 2019/20 season, including Leeds and Fulham strikers

30 Jul

As the final champagne bottle was popped at Wembley after Aston Villa’s dramatic play-off final win over Derby County, the attention of fans across the country turned to the return of the Championship.

After what feels like an eternity, Luton Town and Middlesbrough will finally kick off the new EFL season on Friday.

The Championship returns on August 2 with Luton against Middlesbrough
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After Norwich City, Sheffield United and Villa secured safe passage to the promised land of the Premier League, the scrap for promotion begins once again.

24 teams will slog it out over the course of nine months to earn their right to play in the top flight, with every club believing they stand a chance.

However, in order to get there, history and statistic suggest teams will need to have the top scorer in the division to do so.

Last season, Teemu Pikki scored 29 goals for Norwich as they ran away with the title, with Tammy Abraham notching 26 and Billy Sharp getting 23 for the Blades.

But who could win the Golden Boot this season? has picked out 15 potential candidates to finish as top scorer this season.

Scroll down to see the entire list, in no particular order.

Lewis Grabban – Nottingham Forest

Lewis Grabban of Nottingham Forest
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Forest endured a tough season last time out, with Roy Keane and Martin O’Neill departing this summer after a ninth placed finish.

For Grabban, he still managed to score 16 goals and has shown he is clinical at this level. Provided Sabri Lamouchi can replace Sheffield United-bound Ben Osborn, the 31-year-old could thrive.

Callum Paterson – Cardiff City

Paterson is aiming to fire the Bluebirds back to the Premier League
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The Scotland international struggled for goals in the Premier League last time around, but he managed to bag 10 in the Championship in the Bluebirds’ promotion winning season.

Neil Warnock has just allowed Kenneth Zohore to join rivals West Browmich Albion, meaning even more responsibility will be entrusted to Paterson.

Lyle Taylor – Charlton Athletic

Lyle Taylor helped the Addicks out of the third tier
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The 29-year-old from Greenwich helped get the Addicks out of League One in his debut season and will be desperate to show he can take his clinical form up to the Championship.

Taylor is  is AFC Wimbledon’s record Football League goal scorer with 44 goals, and the Dons’ highest scorer during their Football League era with 55 goals in all competitions – but he could well thrive for Lee Bowyer’s men this time around.

Benik Afobe – Stoke City

The former Arsenal striker is looking to get back amongst the goals
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The DR Congo international may not have enjoyed the success his early career promised, but a run of games and confidence will do Afobe the world of good.

The Potters may have struggled in their first season out of the Premier League since in a decade, but Nathan Jones will surely be entrusting the 26-year-old with firing Stoke back to the promised land.

Jack Marriott – Derby County

Marriott scored in the Play-Off final for the Rams
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Despite being restricted to plenty of substitute appearances from the bench, Marriott managed to find the back of the net on 10 crucial occasions for the Rams.

Phillip Cocu is all too aware of how agonisingly close Derby have come to the Premier League in recent seasons and if he can get Marriott scoring on a regular basis, the Dutch boss could be the man to finally end their play-off nightmare.

Jarrod Bowen – Hull City

The youngster was linked with a move to Tottenham
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Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United have both been linked with moves for the 22-year-old forward, who was named in the Championship Team of the Season last time out.

He scored 22 goals in all competitions last season and, given his current trajectory, it would not be surprising if Bowen beats that record and moves on in the next 12 months.

Kenneth Zohore – West Bromwich Albion

Zohore will be hoping to recapture his form from the 2017-18 season
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The youngest player to play in the Danish Superliga at 16, Zohore is a real handful for defenders. His three seasons at Cardiff City in the Championship saw him net 23 times.

Slaven Bilic moved quickly to sign the 25-year-old as soon as he arrived at the Hawthorns, perhaps in the knowledge he can finally fulfil his early potential. Didier Drogba approached the former Copenhagen striker after a Champions League game about joining Chelsea – while he was still 17.

Kemar Roofe – Leeds United

Kemar Roofe in action on pre-season
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The only reason Roofe may struggle to get bundles of goals this season is due to the incessant number of injuries he picks up. The 26-year-old is out for four weeks with an ankle injury, but still has time to catch the early season scoring contenders when he gets back.

Marcelo Bielsa stayed on for another season thankfully at Elland Road and the Argentine clearly sees tremendous potential in the former Oxford United striker.

Ollie McBurnie – Swansea City

McBurnie will be tasked with keeping the Swans in the top flight
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Sheffield United are reportedly interested in the Swansea City striker, and it is clear to see why the Blades want to bring the 23-year-old to Bramall Lane.

The former Leeds United academy star scored 33 goals in the Championship last season and is a clinical poacher who can find the back of the net from anywhere.

Britt Assombalonga – Middlesbrough

The DR Congo international is a handful for defenders
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Jonathon Woodgate will know all about playing about powerful strikers, with the new Boro boss all too aware of Assombalonga’s talents as well.

The 26-year-old has suffered a career-threatening knee injury and come back stronger, meaning Championship defenders will need to be on their guard against the frontman

Patrick Bamford – Leeds United

Bamford has been shaky in pre-season thus far
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Bamford is in danger of falling into the category of players who are ‘Too good for the Championship, not good enough for the Premier League’. Cameron Jerome and Anthony Knockeart are two such players.

The 25-year-old from Nottingham will be desperate to get Leeds into the Championship and show his doubters he is good enough for the top flight.

Karlan Grant – Huddersfield Town

Grant scored a screamer against West Ham United last season
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When Grant moved from Charlton to Huddersfield in the January window, fans were surprised. The Terriers were seemingly on their way down and the Addicks were on the way up.

Now that this situation has actually transpired, Grant will be keen to prove the form he displayed in League One and briefly in the Premier League was not a fluke and his move to the John Smith’s Stadium was justified.

Neal Maupay – Brentford

The Frenchman has been linked with a host of Premier League sides
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Last season, Maupay hit 25 goals in the Championship. But Brentford laboured to an 11th placed finish and the rumours of a move away have understandably intensified.

The 22-year-old is a France youth international and Aston Villa are keen on making a reunion with Dean Smith happen. If that happens, expect Maupay to bag even more goals.

Aleksandar Mitrovic – Fulham

The burly Serbian signed a new deal to keep him at Craven Cottage for the foreseeable future
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Despite rumours of a move to the Chinese Super League brewing, Fulham somehow managed to sign the Serbia international to a new deal this summer.

With Tom Cairney and Anthony Knockaert providing for him, Mitrovic could run riot in the second tier – he scored 12 in 20 appearances to help the Whites reach the Premier League in 2017/18.

Bradley Dack – Blackburn Rovers

Dack has made the transition to life in the Championship with consummate ease
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In a way not too dissimilar to Jack Marriott, Dack has risen from lower league football to become a prominent marksman. He scored 15 goals in his debut Championship season and looked like a natural.

The 25-year-old has plenty of time to develop his game and, as the main man at Edwood Park, do not be surprised to see him add to his tally from last season.