The Championship could be tagged as the most unpredictable league in Europe and that excitement will return this weekend, as England’s second tier resumes.
The race to reach the promised land of the Premier League is the main focus, with Leeds (
5/14 Winners*) and West Brom (
9/4) in the box-seat with nine games left for all 24 teams.
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds hold a one-point lead at the top, with the Baggies currently occupying the second automatic promotion spot with 70 points after 37 games.
There is then a six-point gap to third-place Fulham, while Brentford, Nottingham Forest and Preston fill the other play-off positions.
Battling to Avoid Relegation
At the bottom end of the table, it looks like an eight-team battle to avoid the three relegation places, which are currently occupied by Barnsley, Luton and Charlton (Relegation Odds – Barnsley
The season resumes on Saturday lunchtime, when London rivals and promotion hopefuls Fulham and Brentford go head-to-head – Match Odds – Fulham
It was the Bees that won the reverse fixture 1-0, back in December, and a win at Craven Cottage would move them to within a point of their opponents.
Of the 3pm kick offs, there are standout fixtures at both the top and bottom. The Hawthorns is the venue for a Midlands derby, as West Brom and Birmingham collide – Match Odds: West Brom
Slaven Bilic’s men failed to win their last two matches before the enforced break and didn’t score in either game – very unusual for the Championship’s joint top-scorers, having bagged 64 goals so far this term.
Birmingham have drawn six of their last 11 in the league, but their away record makes impressive reading – with Blues unbeaten in their last seven on the road. It was recently revealed that boss Pep Clotet will leave St Andrew’s at the season and that may have an impact on the squad.
Dogfight Between Hull and Charlton
The other key game takes place a the KCOM Stadium, where fourth-from-bottom Hull play host to third-from-bottom Charlton (Match Odds – Hull
17/10 to be relegated) haven’t won in 11 games, coinciding with the sales of Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki, which has seen them plummet towards the relegation zone.
Charlton may have won just three of their last eight league matches, but Lee Bowyer’s team will know a win would take them above the Tigers and 9/4 looks a tempting price for an away victory.
Cardiff Host Leeds on Sunday
There is just the one Championship match on Sunday, but it promises to be a cracker – as play-off hopefuls Cardiff play host to the league leaders, Leeds (Match Odds: Cardiff
Having blown their chance of automatic promotion last term, many thought Leeds would fall apart again when losing four of their five games in January and early February.
But since then, Bielsa’s men have drawn one and won five of their next six matches and they seem intent on sealing that long-awaited return to the top flight.
There is no love lost between the two sides and Cardiff will definitely make it tough for the visitors, especially as the Bluebirds still have their sights on a play-off spot.
*All odds correct at time of writing