I guess we'll have another Ashes subforum for 2010/11, but we had a "road to" thread in about 2007/08 for the 2009 one, so 8 months before the start certainly isn't too early.
I guess the big question is how badly is England's side going to be disrupted by injuries this time? Last time England had a relatively uninterrupted tour of Australia was 1986/87, when Australia instead were disrupted by Rebel-tour bans. So it has to be regarded as unlikely that England won't suffer, but if they do, it's surprisingly easy to make a confident-ish prediction of what nine of out eleven names will be:
Prior (W) - I'm daring to believe there, but I'm still not absolutely confident yet
The most interesting thing is that England, essentially, have a single proper Test series between now and The Ashes, and that against the Pakistanis who might well resemble a rabble due to their catching ineptitude and infighting. There isn't much scope for players to lose form. It has to be regarded as likely, too, that Broad and Onions will fill the last two slots, as they have in Broad's case and should have in Onions' case for the last home and away season (Onions has missed 3 Tests, all of which he had a strong case to play, and Broad has played the last 15 in a row).
Australia, too, have just 4 Tests remaining, 2 of which come in England and also against Pakistan (again). Both sides will have seen rather too much of Pakistan recently when they come to Ashes action. Let's hope the catching doesn't rub-off.
RIP Fardin Qayyumi (AKA "cricket player"; "Bob"), 1/11/1990-15/4/2006