Hull City Looking Good For Return To The Elite
There is a fascinating battle going on at the top of the Championship table at present with 6 clubs still having plausible reasons for thinking they can go up automatically at the end of the season. Hull City fired themselves to the top on Saturday when they put in a great performance at Ewood Park and comfortably beat a limp Blackburn Rovers team (who have now gone 9 league games without a win) 2-0. Hull were resolute at the back, strong in midfield and were full of stealth and pace up front and could easily have scored more in a dominant second half performance.
Middlesbrough are in action at Leeds United this evening and a win will leapfrog them above Hull to the top. But both these teams will be looking nervously over their shoulders at two teams coming through strongly from behind. Burnley are just 3 points behind Hull and although they only drew 0-0 at Reading this weekend they are on a long unbeaten run and are becoming more and more miserly in defence as the season progresses. A second promotion in 3 years does look a distinct possibility.
The other team looking in sparkling form are Sheffield Wednesday who at present 3 points behind Burnley but who are looking dark horses for the title after coming from nowhere to challenge. They smashed a good Brentford side 4-0 at home and they look a dangerous outfit. Nestled between Burnley and Sheff Wednesday are Brighton who seem to have thrown off their mid season wobble and they just edged a 5 goal thriller at home to Bolton Wanderers, who although are bottom of the Championship are showing signs of life and should not be written off just yet as there plenty of games yet to be played.
The 6th placed team are Derby County who are having a horrendous run and have of course sacked their manager Paul Clement. This has not had the desired effect so far as they went down to a miserable 1-0 home defeat to lowly MK Dons. But they are 3 points clear of Birmingham and although their form is awful at present they have a formidable squad and it is hard to not see them finish in the top 6, and indeed as they are only 8 points off Hull in 1st they could still harbour ambitions to finish triumphant come May.
I find it hard not to look past the top 6 staying as the top 6 teams come the end of the season but trying to predict who will finish in the automatic promotion slots is not so easy. If pushed I would go for Hull and Burnley to finish first and second respectively. Here is the latest table below: