Burnley Move Ominously Into 3rd In Championship As Rivals Stumble
Burnley made a big statement of intent last night when they thrashed one of their main rivals for promotion, Derby County, 4-1 at their Turf Moor fortress. Since having a little wobble during the latter months of last year they have really found their form at the right time, and after 3 successive wins on the road (including a cup win up in Middlesbrough and a 5-0 beating of MK Dons) they were in prime form to brush Derby aside. They are now just 4 points below the top 2 and are looking the team most likely at this moment in time.
Middlesbrough seem to be stumbling and are again, like last season, finding it hard to find the back of the net at present. They lost 1-0 at home to Nottingham Forest who will still feel they can gatecrash the promotion party and get in the play offs as they are now just 8 points away from 6th spot.
Hull City have moved to top spot after a hard fought 1-0 win at Fulham who are having an awful season considering the resources and players at their disposal. Hull have never looked truly convincing but maybe that is a sign of a Championship winning side that they can win games without being at their best. Steve Bruce certainly knows how to set up a side to get out of this league and you wouldn`t bet against him doing it again.
Brighton have had an awful run of late as they went 6 games without scoring before winning 1-0 at Blackburn Rovers, and they have followed that up this weekend with a 2-1 win at home to Huddersfield Town. This has been enough to move them into 4th and just 5 points away from the top 2.
The other two teams in the play off positions are Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday who drew at Reading at the weekend and have been on a good run of form and certainly look like one of the teams to watch in the second half of the season. They have spent some money too and are making a concerted effort to reach the promised land of the Premiership.
At the bottom of the table crisis club Bolton Wanderers have given themselves some hope by securing a fine 3-1 win over MK Dons. They are only 5 points from safety so a couple more wins in the next few games will give the rest of the teams down there the jitters. The other teams in the relegation zone are Charlton and Bristol City. Charlton have been in horrendous form but at least secured a point at the weekend with a 1-1 draw at home to Blackburn. But Bristol City slipped to a 1-0 loss at Leeds United.
The Championship is as ever a wide open division with lots of teams still in the mix at both ends of the table, so it promises to be an entertaining ride right through to the end of the season.