With promotion, play-off and relegation places up for grabs, Wednesday night’s action in the Championship provides a number of fascinating encounters as the curtain comes down on a dramatic season.
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United secured promotion to the Premier League as champions last weekend, and this week we’ll find out who will join his side in the top flight next season.
So, here’s the state of play heading into the final round of fixtures:
Slavan Bilic knows his side have their fate in their own hands as, if West Brom beat Queens Park Rangers, the Baggies will return to the Premier League; but if they don’t, it leaves the door open for Brentford and Fulham.
If Albion fail to beat Rangers at The Hawthornes, Brentford can claim automatic promotion if they beat Barnsley.
To make things more fascinating, Fulham could sneak that final automatic promotion spot if they see off Wigan Athletic and both Brentford and West Brom fail to win.
That’s not the end of the promotion story though with the final Play-Off place also being up for grabs with three teams battling it out for a shot at glory.
Nottingham Forest currently sit in fifth and, having failed to secure their spot after a 93rd-minute loss to relegation candidates Barnsley on Sunday afternoon, a point should be enough for Sabri Lamouchi’s men at home to Stoke City.
Cardiff City, in sixth, are in pole position for securing play-off football, but must ensure that they do the business against bottom of the table Hull City.
That’s because Swansea are just three points behind their Welsh rivals; knowing that a win at Reading and defeat for the Bluebirds would see them leapfrog into that final spot.
At the bottom of the table, there is still a possibility that several teams could face the dreaded drop with some seven sides fighting to avoid the three relegation places.
Hull City currently find themselves rooted to the foot of the table and would need not only a win against play-off contenders Cardiff, but also a 16-goal swing and teams above them to lose to ensure their spot in the Championship for another season.
Barnsley sit in 23rd spot and helped their fight for survival with a win over Forest on Sunday and know that three points against high-flying Brentford, along with losses for Luton Town and Charlton Athletic, would see the Tykes keep their place in the Championship.
That’s because the Hatters and the Addicks are on 48 points each with the former occupying the final relegation spot with Nathan Jones’s men hosting Blackburn on Wednesday while Lee Bowyer will be hoping for a helping hand from his former club when they visit Elland Road in their final game.
Any result for these two will have Birmingham City and Middlesbrough looking anxiously over their shoulder who both sit outside of the drop zone by two points and know that wins over Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday respectively would see them safe.
Danny Cowley’s last act as Huddersfield Town manager was three points against West Brom on Friday night, to all but secure the Terriers’ place in the Championship for another season, though a point against Millwall would see them mathematically safe.
Leave a comment
Follow Matthewjcrist on Twitter