The Championship play-off race

by Jamie Walker

Monday, April 22nd, 2013
 

The battle for the top six in the Championship is really hotting up with six teams fighting for the four play-off spots at the top of the second division of English football.

After the results at the weekend the play-off spots are currently filled by Watford, Brighton, Crystal Palace and Bolton, with Leicester and Nottingham Forest lurking just outside the top six.

Watford have already cemented themselves in the top six and will most likely stay there as their push for second seems to be all but over. However none of the other three sides that currently hold play-off places should consider themselves there yet.

Brighton are in fourth place on 69 points and are the form team, out of the sides battling for the top six, having gone seven matches unbeaten they are the next favourites to secure a play-off spot and could potentially do it with a win against Leeds on Saturday. They will have to rely on other results going their way but even if a top six spot isn’t secured for the Seagulls this weekend it seems likely that they will finish in the play-offs this season. A remarkable achievement for the club who have thrived under the leadership of Gus Poyet.

Crystal Palace lay fifth, two points behind their rivals Brighton, and only a point clear of seventh and without a win in seven Championship matches. Ian Holloway has said that the side need belief if they are to keep hold of their current league position but if they cannot find a win in their two remaining games then they may end up finishing outside the play-offs, despite being there, or thereabouts, for a large portion of the season.

Bolton hold the final play-off spot but they are only inside the top six on goal difference, as they are level on points with seventh place Leicester. Under Dougie Freedman Bolton have charged up the table after being closer to the bottom of the table for much of the season. No matter what Bolton can be sure they will be the highest finishing team of the three that came down from the Premier League last season and considering where they were earlier this season a top six finish would be an incredible accomplishment.

Leicester and Nottingham Forest are just outside the play-offs on 66 and 64 points respectively. Both sides are really in contrasting form; Leicester were close to the top of the table just a few short weeks ago but a poor run of form has seen them slide down the table dramatically. Meanwhile Nottingham Forest have been in impressive form under Billy Davies but a recent slip could see them fall at the final hurdle.

The battle is sure to be fierce with only two matches left of the season and there is still no telling who will finish in those play-off spots. As for me I’m saying it will be Watford, Brighton, Bolton and Palace in that order.

What about you? Who do you think will finish in the top six? And who will win a place in the Premier League at Wembley?

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  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Mystical Mike

    I have a feeling Palace will blow it at Blackburn, they are on a terrible run.

    Bolton, on the hand are on a superb run. How ironic, that Doogie Boogie could be taking them up in the place of his old club

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