Football

Championship promotion race: Who is going up?

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With just over a month of action remaining in the Football League, we are into the business end of the season. 

Many team's futures depend on how they fare in these last seven games, with it all to play for at both ends. At the top of the table, the two automatic promotion spots look to be sewn up.

Leicester City have created a huge gap between themselves and third-placed Queens Park Rangers - 16 points to be exact. The Foxes have been in the top two for almost the entire season and are currently in the midst of a 20-match unbeaten run in the league.

Top scorers in the Championship thanks to the likes of Jamie Vardy and David Nugent, they have also conceded less than a goal a game as well as having an incredibly impressive midfield. With 21 points left to play for, the Foxes could seal their future very soon indeed.

In second place, lie Burnley. The Clarets were unfancied at the start of the season and much was talked about how they would no doubt fall out of the reckoning as the season went on.

But that simply hasn't happened. The incredible partnership of Danny Ings and Sam Vokes has produced 40 goals and the team lie nine points ahead of Rangers. But the two hitmen are out injured at the momen and they have no real quality strikers left fit.

Tough trips to Watford and Reading - as well as home ties against Ipswich and Wigan - could prove to be real challenges, but they should still have enough to get over the line.

QPR are the great underachievers of the season, which seems remarkable considering they are third. Harry Redknapp's side is littered with Premier League players and the side they have should, on paper, have no problem gaining promotion.

But with just 48 goals in 39 games, they have flattered to deceive and look like missing out. The team's hunger has to be questioned and don't bet on them winning the play-offs.

Just a point behind QPR are Derby County. The Rams looked like being on their way to another season of mediocrity after a 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest in late September, but the decision to replace Nigel Clough with Steve McClaren rejuvenated the side and the ex-England boss has seen the Rams rise 10 places.

They recently dispatched bitter rivals Forest 5-0 in their biggest result in years. Are they ready for the Premier League? Perhaps not, but if McClaren can get them playing in the play-offs, they could well make it.

The last two play-off spots are currently taken by Wigan and Reading. The two relegated sides of last season have had indifferent campaigns, but still look likely to challenge for a return.

Wigan's decision to bring in Uwe Rosler in December has paid dividends, whilst Reading are always a danger. The Latics are six points clear of seventh-placed Forest and Ipswich Town. 

Forest are to be managed by Stuart Pearce come the summer, but for now have no manager and no real chance of a return to the league they've not seen since 1999. Ipswich are outsiders and always cause problems, but again they are unlikely to win the play-offs, although don't rule them out of robbing Reading's spot in the top six.

Brighton and Bournemouth are both also pushing for a top-six finish. Brighton's strong defence have got them where they are at present, but against the big clubs they struggle.

Eddie Howe's Bournemouth have had a very impressive first season in the Championship and lie five points outside of the play-off positions, but achieving any more than that looks an unlikely task for this season at least.

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Topics:
Derby County
Leicester City
Football
Championship

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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