The run in: Assessing the promotion chances of the Championship’s top 12
The Championship season is now approaching its end and it has been another remarkable season filled with drama, entertainment and top quality football in English football’s second tier. The race for automatic promotion to the Premier League is still alive, whilst the battle to secure a place in the playoffs is also still being hotly contested by several teams. There are seven games left of the regular season and below, we’ve assessed the promotion chances of the current top 12 sides, all of whom will still have hopes of playing Premier League football next season.
Villa currently occupy the final playoff position and they are certainly in great form, winning all five of their matches in March. They face three of the top five teams before the season ends, with their last two games being against the current top two – Norwich and Leeds. Predicted finish: 8th.
Bristol City are currently in fifth place, one point above Villa. However, they have a game in hand to try to tighten their grip on a playoff position. City have a hugely testing run of fixtures as they face five of their playoff rivals before the end of the season. Predicted finish: 9th.
Derby are another side who have a game in hand and they are currently one point outside the playoff places. The Rams have a kinder run in compared to their playoff rivals, but their trip to Bristol City at the end of this month could be crucial in their playoff hopes. Predicted finish: 5th – playoffs.
Hull are currently in 12th place and are six points away from sixth position. They have a tough set of fixtures coming up as they will face four of the top eight before the season comes to an end. They’ll give it everything they’ve got but we expect them to miss out on a playoff place this season. Predicted finish: 12th.
Leeds are currently in second place in the table with 76 points. Marcelo Bielsa’s men have a very favourable run in and will only face one of the top eight before the end of the campaign. They finish the season at home against the bottom side Ipswich. Predicted finish: 2nd – automatic promotion.
Boro are in a terrible run of form at the wrong time of the season. They have slid down the table in recent weeks and are currently in eighth place, two points behind sixth-placed Villa. Tony Pulis’ side have not won in the league since 23rd February, but they have a kind set of fixtures coming up. Predicted finish: 6th – playoffs.
Norwich are currently at the top of the table and have a five-point lead over second-placed Leeds. The leaders have won seven league matches in a row and are poised for a return to the Premier League. They also have a favourable set of fixtures remaining, so they’re firm favourites to be lifting the league trophy in May. Predicted finish: 1st – – automatic promotion.
Forest are ninth and are three points away from sixth-placed Villa. They’ll be confident of making the playoffs as they only come up against three of the top 12 in their remaining seven fixtures. Predicted finish: 7th.
Preston North End
Preston are currently in tenth place but are only three points away from the playoff places. Their 12-match unbeaten run was ended by Reading last time out and they have three incredibly testing fixtures coming up against three of the top four sides. How they fare in the next few weeks could decide their season. Predicted finish: 11th.
Sheffield United are currently in third place, two points behind Leeds. They will be confident of pushing for automatic promotion until the last day of the season as they have some favourable fixtures on paper. Predicted finish: 3rd – playoffs.
11th placed Sheffield Wednesday arguably have the toughest run in from all the top 12 sides. They’re currently four points away from a playoff place but face six of the top ten before the end of the season. Surely, making the playoff is too much of an ask for them. Predicted finish: 10th.
West Bromwich Albion
West Brom are fourth and are nine points ahead of fifth-placed Bristol City, who have one game in hand. The Baggies have a reasonably good set of fixtures coming up, but they will face four playoff-chasing teams before the end of the season. Predicted finish: 4th – playoffs.