Most teams in the Championship just have six games left to either grab their place in the Premier League, PlayOffs or avoid relegation – and the Easter double header of games cleared up pretty much nothing, although some teams made life much easier – or harder – for themselves.
Lets take a look at the main points from what was a Good Friday for some – but not for others!
BIRMINGHAM GIVE RELEGATION RIVALS THE BLUES
Will the real Birmingham City please stand up? One loss in seven over the New Year was followed by seven successive defeats – but then they win three on the bounce, scoring five, conceding none, and they establish a five point gap over the bottom three. Easter Monday’s win over Bolton drags the Lancashire side back into the battle, but the Blues wouldn’t be denied the three points despite playing the last quarter of the game with just ten men. It is fight like this that have given the Blues are real chance of survival, just when everything seemed lost. A home game against Burton is followed by a brutal schedule however – so the Blues are not safe yet.
BOTTOM THREE NOW LOOK IN REAL TROUBLE
There is now a clear gap at the bottom, with Barnsley five points adrift of the afore mentioned Birmingham, Bolton and Reading, with Sunderland and Burton Albion a further three points back. Despite Sunderland’s excellent 1-4 win at Derby on Good Friday, their Monday loss at home to Sheffield Wednesday was much more like their recent form, and will feel pretty much doomed alongside Burton, who despite a brave fight and beating the odds last season, are surely coming to the end of their fairy tale stay in the Championship. The countdown clock is ticking fast on all three clubs now.
WOLVES AND CARDIFF NEARLY THERE…BUT FULHAM NOT GIVING UP
Twelve wins and three draws from fifteen games is fantastic form at any point of the season – but Fulham have hit purple when it has really mattered and this sublime charge is keeping the sweat pouring out of the fans foreheads at Cardiff and, to a bit lesser extent, Wolves, both of home will be desperate to get over the line and secure their automatic place in the Premier League as soon as possible. Fulham are still five points behind the Bluebirds and eight behind Wolves, but are churning out the wins and know that Cardiff are up next to play Wolves – and they have a much easier schedule remaining than both the current top two. It could yet be a real three horse race for the top two Championship places – and you fear for whomever misses out.
PLAYOFF BATTLE HEATING UP AS LIONS CONTINUE TO ROAR
How often does one team come with a wet sail and sneak into the Championship PlayOffs from nowhere on the back of some exceptional form? Well this season’s surging ship seems to be Millwall who, from absolute mid table obscurity, have won 7 of their last ten, drawing the other three, and now find themselves right in the pack chasing sixth placed Middlesbrough hard – who hold the last Play Off place very tenuously. Along with Millwall are Bristol City, Sheffield United and Preston North End – with Brentford clinging on to the race though five points back. Millwall face Bristol City this weekend whilst the others will all fancy their chances of grabbing three vital points, playing teams below them in the table.
CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM OF THE YEAR ANNOUNCED
The Championship team of the year was announced this week, celebrating those players who have been standout in arguably Europe’s most competitive domestic Division. Manager Neil Warnock of Cardiff was honoured by being named manager of the team which was announced as :
GK : John Ruddy (Cardiff)
DFS : Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham), Conor Coady (Wolves), John Terry (Aston Villa), Ryan Fredericks (Fulham)
MFS : Tom Cairney (Fulham), Ruben Neves (Wolves), James Madison (Norwich)
FWS : Albert Adomah (Aston Villa), Matej Vydra (Derby County), Bobby Reid (Bristol City)
Congratulations to all those selected – its not a bad looking line up at all, is it!?!
Join us next week for our next review of all things Championship!