Promotion to the Premier League and the riches it brings has never looked more appealing.
Clubs are desperately trying to balance the books amid the coronavirus pandemic, and with just a few months of the Championship season to go there’s a while host of teams still in with a shot at the big time.
Even the sides languishing in midtable still hold faint hopes of a late dash towards the top six, but we’re not interested the teams who’ll be forced to endure the agony of the play-offs. We want to know who’s bagging themselves an automatic promotion place.
Such is the unpredictability of the Championship that even Norwich still aren’t guaranteed a place in next season’s Premier League, and with the Canaries still to face a host of sides in and around the top six Daniel Farke’s men won’t be celebrating anything until it’s rubber stamped.
Here’s a look at those in with a shout of automatic promotion from the second tier, and we’ve even been nice enough to list their remaining fixtures and predict how the final table is going to look…
It seems absolutely ridiculous that Norwich haven’t already got that illusive letter ‘P’ next to their name on the Championship table.
After a rocky start to the campaign, Farke’s men have pretty much steamrolled their way through the division, picking up 23 wins from their previous 32 games.
While they’re not mathematically guaranteed promotion it would take a monumental collapse for them to bottle it now, and if there’s one thing Norwich know how to do it’s secure their path back to the Premier League – it’s the staying there that’s the problem.
See you back in the Championship in a couple of years, lads.
Nottingham Forest (A)
Final points prediction: 99
It’s been a weird old season for Watford. On the plus side they’ve only sacked one manager so far, but their on-field performances haven’t really been at the level you’d expect considering the wealth of talent in their squad.
Players like Troy Deeney, Will Hughes and Ismaila Sarr have all performed well without really proving they’re a step above the Championship, and subsequently the Hornets have plenty of work to do if they’re to bounce back at the first time of asking.
Xisco’s side have started to strut their stuff a little more in recent weeks – picking up seven wins from their previous eight outings – though their last couple of games could have a big say in what league they’re playing in next season…
Sheffield Wednesday (H)
Final points prediction: 89
Steve Cooper’s Swansea might not be the most glamorous side in the Championship, but they’re very consistent and they’ve developed an uncanny knack of edging their opponents out by the odd goal.
Since Cooper took charge of the club in June 2019 the Swans have only once lost back-to-back league games, and they’ll need to keep that run up if they’re to secure a place in the top two.
While the January addition of Conor Hourihane has added some much needed goals from midfield, Swansea have still struggled to find the back of the net at times and they’ll need frontmen Andre Ayew and Jamal Lowe to be at their best with tough trips to Reading and Watford to come in the final few games.
Final points prediction: 86
It’s all feeling a bit Groundhog Day for Brentford right now.
Having looked nailed on for promotion last season, the Bees bottled it in the final few games before their abject display at Wembley against Fulham in the play-off final saw them resigned to another season in the Championship.
Yet again Thomas Frank’s side looked well placed to secure Premier League football this season, but three wins from their last eight outings look to have derailed their promotion push.
Nottingham Forest (H)
Bristol City (A)
Final points prediction: 84
You might be asking why we’ve included Reading in this list considering the fact they’re 11 points off the pace, but in truth, Veljko Paunovic’s side are that unpredictable we just can’t rule out the fact they might win every game from now until the end of the season.
The Royals have got some unbelievable talent within their squad with the likes of Lucas Joao, Ovie Ejaria and Michael Olise excelling at times this season, but consistency has been their biggest issue.
With fixtures against three of the four sides above them still to come, Paunovic’s men could actually spring a late surprise if their key players can produce the goods.
Final points prediction: 78