GUEST POST - The Championship - Who will gain promotion?
by George Didcote - Follow George https://twitter.com/GeorgeDidcote19
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We're moving further into the Championship season, learning more about the competitive teams that the league has to offer this season.
As fans we've been graced with some fantastic performances and worried by some shaky ones. As we're deep into February it is coming to the time where speculation starts rising as to which side will gain promotion to the Premier League, and which sides will be unfortunately relegated from England's second division. So let’s take a look at which sides look most likely to join some of England's finest teams in the Premier League.
There have been a few teams emphasising their wishes to reach the Premier League through their performances this season. Some have been expected, but some not so.
Returning to the Premier League at the first time of asking has always been the goal for Rafael Benitez' Newcastle side. Their squad depth and persistent pestering in and around the top of the table expresses that they have the capability to do so. For Newcastle the main thing to look out for is opponents in a sticky situation. Any side near the bottom of the table will simply be looking to do everything they can to keep Newcastle out, even sacrificing their own chances at goal. They may be more likely to do this based on the evidence that it works. Newcastle have notably been beaten by Blackburn at home and Nottingham Forrest also did well to frustrate Newcastle, also taking a victory against them. If they can overcome their own frustrations there is no reason why St James' Park can't see Premier League football next season.
Brighton and Hove Albion
It may be obvious just to state the top two clubs in the table currently are looking the most likely for promotion, but it's also true. Chris Hughton's side have been phenomenal this season. For the last few seasons they have been competing towards the top of the table, but always lacked that final push come April and May time. This season however they've been stronger than before, going on great runs with a fantastic chance to win the Championship as things currently stand. The Seagulls have only lost 2 of their last 25 championship games. That formidable form can't go unnoticed and credit to Chris Hughton for getting Brighton in that position in such a tough league.
The somewhat unexpected highflyers this season. The determination of this side is what makes them stand out. They started the season magnificently in taking a win away at title contenders Newcastle, and were top of the table for some considerable time through August and September. As the months went on Huddersfield fell a slightly of the bandwagon picking up only 4 wins out of 8 throughout October and November, still not poor form, but form which saw them slip further down the table. Since the turn of the New Year however they've won 7 of their last 8 including a crucial victory against playoff hopefuls Reading on Tuesday night. Their determination to come back and current form puts them in contention to go up via the play offs for me, but it’s very tough in that top 6.
Reading, Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday aren't out of it by any means either. All have been promising this season and they can't be ruled out as they aim to upset the bigger spending clubs like Newcastle, and for the amount they've spent they have exceeded expectation this season.
Notably Gary Monks' appointment at Leeds was a fantastic one, and could be a crucial one come May if Leeds earn promotion back to the Premier League for the first time since 2003-04.