Championship Promotion Race

Written by Adam Tomlinson

 After coming to the end of a bust January transfer window the Championship table has started to show who the real promotion contenders are and who will have the gift of playing with the likes of Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal next season.

King Power Stadium. Photo: Paul Conneally (via Flickr)

The automatic places in the Championship is starting to look like a four horse race, with run-a-way leaders Leicester eight points clear of QPR in second. The Foxes have just broken a new club record, winning eight consecutive league games which started with wins over challengers QPR, Burnley and Derby.

The prolific partnership of David Nugent and Jamie Vardy is partly due to the their success. However, with the current player contract saga and the downfall that occurred at this point last season, Leicester could face a slump in form.

Harry Redknapp’s side QPR are currently sitting in second place behind Leicester and are also on an impressive run with four consecutive wins and are unbeaten in five games. Signings of Niko Kranjcar, Yossi Benyaoun, Charlie Austin, Matt Phillips and many more are testament to Redknapp’s aim of getting QPR back in the Premier League.

Even with all these knew signings goals have still been hard to come by for the Hoops as they’ve only scored 33 goals this season, 15 of which have come from Charlie Austin. If they don’t get another goal scorer in this window they could miss out on automatic promotion.

Burnley and Derby are close behind the top two respectively in second and third in the Championship table. Burnley have been in and around the top of the Championship table, due to the fantastic strike force of Danny Ings and Sam Vokes. However, if Burnley were to lose Ings in this transfer window it would certainly hurt their promotion hopes. The Clarets have slipped off from leaders Leicester of late only winning two in their last six league games.

Derby County in fourth went on a run of nine games unbeaten, at the start of Steve McClaren’s reign at Pride Park. McClaren’s young side hit a blip after losing successively to Wigan and Leicester, but have come back strong and are now three games unbeaten. This is partly down to the Rams young stars Will Hughes and Chelsea’s loanee Patrick Bamford. However, losing Hughes to a top Premier League side would be a massive loss for Derby.

The remaining teams in the league are fighting over the remaining two spots in the table, currently occupied by Nottingham Forest and Reading. Both of which are currently in good form and have a strong side after last season. With the experience of manager Billy Davies and Nigel Adkins both sides will be expecting a strong finish to the season.

Just outside the playoffs currently are Ipswich, Brighton and Blackburn. Brighton will be looking to do the same as last season, while surprise packages Ipswich and Blackburn will try and keep in touch with Reading in sixth.

Wigan could also gain a playoff place, even though they currently sit in eleventh place. Uwe Rosler has seemed to transform the Wigan side with only one defeat in their last eight. Also with the new signing of Nicky Maynard upfront and the wealth of Premier League talent they have in their side, it wouldn’t be a shock for them to be in and around the playoff places.

Predicted top 6:

  1. Leicester
  2. QPR
  3. Burnley
  4. Nottingham Forest
  5. Reading
  6. Derby

By Adam Tomlinson

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