The Four Championship Fixtures That Will Determine The Promotion Candidates
The Championship season is nearing its end but a lot of key promotions battles are coming down to the final day of the Season, giving us a very exciting conclusion.
The places up for grabs on the final day are the second automatic promotion, which Cardiff and Fulham are fighting for, and the sixth place for the playoffs, which is currently occupied by Derby but could be taken by Preston on Sunday if results go their way.
Here we look at the three most important fixtures:
Preston North End vs Burton Albion
Preston have done excellently this season to get close to the playoff positions. For the last few years, they have been there or thereabouts but after Simon Grayson left it, really could’ve gone either way for the North-West club.
Alex Neil has come in and done an excellent job, managing to get the best out of his players for most of the season. They must beat Burton on Sunday to give themselves the best possible chance of ending up in that 6th place spot.
Derby County vs Barnsley
Derby County are the Groundhog Day team. Every season, they seem to get tantalisingly close to Premier League football, only to fall at the final hurdle.
They have done well to stay in the playoff places for most of the campaign but must ensure that they beat Barnsley on the final day to guarantee their place. Will be interesting to see whether they pull it off or stay true to form and drop out of contention.
Birmingham vs Fulham
Fulham are certainly the most in-form side in the Championship and on quality alone, it seems like they deserve to be in the Premier League next season. They still haven’t lost a game since the 16th of December but they do have a tendency to trip up against the sides lower down the league, with their last loss coming against Sunderland.
They must beat Birmingham and hope that Cardiff lose or draw in order for them to take second place in the league and guarantee Premier League football next season.
Cardiff City vs Reading
Cardiff have had an absolutely incredible campaign and Neil Warnock really has worked wonders with what he has at his disposal. They would have been home and dry by now had they not suffered a blip against the top sides recently, losing to Wolves, Villa and Derby in the last month but their destiny still remains in their own hands.
Beat Reading on Sunday and Premier League football is theirs. Surely, if this happens, then Warnock must be looking at the Manager of the Season award. Taking this Cardiff team to the Prem is a bigger miracle than Moses parting the red sea.