Who will make the Championship play-offs?

Who will make the Championship play-offs?

With just two weeks to go in The Championship, the race for promotion is really hotting up with three play-off places still up for grabs.

samstraw
Sam Straw

It has been another intriguing season in The Championship with so much still to be decided between now and the 7th May. 

Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United have been the stand-out performers in the division throughout and have both recently secured automatic promotion to the Premier League

Huddersfield Town continued their superb campaign under the management of David Wagner and secured a play-off place with a 1-0 win against Wolves at Molineux on Tuesday night. 

This leaves three places in the play-offs still to be decided with Reading, Sheffield Wednesday, Fulham and Leeds United all in contention. 

Royals' position all but secured

Despite their 3-2 defeat to relegation threatened Nottingham Forest at The City Ground last time out, Jaap Stam's men have all but secured their place in the play-offs. 

Leeds sit six points behind Reading with just two games to go, so it would take an extraordinary set of results for the Royals to fall out of the play-off places.

Lewis Grabban scored in Reading's 3-1 win at Villa Park. (picture: Getty Images / Matthew Lewis)
Lewis Grabban scored in Reading's 3-1 win at Villa Park. (picture: Getty Images / Matthew Lewis)

Their fixtures also seem to be a good chance for them to build some momentum ahead of the play-offs. They will return to the Madejski Stadium on Saturday to take on Wigan Athletic who are all but relegated to League One. Despite the fact the Latics are likely to show some fight, the away side should have too much quality for them and claim all three points. 

On the final day they will then travel to the Pirelli Stadium to take on Burton Albion in what is likely to be a party-like atmosphere with Burton on the brink of securing safety and the Royals likely to have secured their place in the play-offs by this fixture.

The Owls are back in-form

After picking up just two wins in eight games throughout the end of February and March, many feared the worst for Carlos Carvahal's men as they looked like giving up their place in the top six. 

However, they have bounced back in tremendous fashion by winning five games in a row against Rotherham United, Newcastle United, Cardiff City, Queens Park Rangers and most recently Derby County

Fernando Forestieri has been a key figure for Wednesday this season. (picture: Getty Images / Kurt Fairhurst)
Fernando Forestieri has been a key figure for Wednesday this season. (picture: Getty Images / Kurt Fairhurst)

They are also on the brink of securing their place in the play-offs as they find themselves five points clear of their Yorkshire rivals Leeds with just two to play. However, they still have two tough looking fixtures to get through. 

They will travel to Portman Road on Saturday to play Ipswich Town who have been in fine form of late. The Owls will need to be at their best to pick up anything from this game. They then face play-off rivals Fulham in front of a sell-out Hillsborough crowd on the final day in what could be a huge game for both sides. 

Cottagers lethal in front of goal

Fulham have had a thoroughly entertaining and successful season under Slavisa Jokanovic. Their attacking play has been scintillating at times this campaign, as they have pushed themselves into play-off contention. 

They have scored a whopping 82 goals so far this season which is more than anybody else in the division. Five wins out of their last six games in April has seen them move above Leeds into the final play-off place as it stands. 

16-year-old Ryan Sessegnon has been a revelation for the Cottagers this season. (picture: Getty Images / Ian Horrocks)
16-year-old Ryan Sessegnon has been a revelation for the Cottagers this season. (picture: Getty Images / Ian Horrocks)

They will want to achieve maximum points in their final two games of the season to ensure the Yorkshire club have no chance of catching them. They face a London derby at Craven Cottage on Saturday as they take on rivals Brentford who will want nothing more than to spoil the party. They then travel to Hillsborough on the final day, in a game which they are likely to need something from. 

Leeds buckling under pressure

Wherever Leeds United finish this season, it has been a successful one. Gary Monk has finally installed what is a talented team capable of being competitive in the division. Massimo Cellino's off-the-field antics have somewhat calmed down allowing Monk to get on with his job. 

Chris Wood is the Championship's top-scorer with 25 goals. (picture: Getty Images / Laurence Griffiths)
Chris Wood is the Championship's top-scorer with 25 goals. (picture: Getty Images / Laurence Griffiths)

However, United fans will be disappointed with how results have gone in recent weeks. Just one win in their last six games has seen them go from being fourth in the league, to falling out of the play-offs entirely. The 2-1 defeat to relegation threatened Burton Albion last time out was a huge blow and sees them now three points off the play-offs. 

However, there is still hope for Monk's men but realistically they need maximum points from their remaining fixtures to stand a chance. They face Norwich City at Elland Road on Saturday who have found some form of late. They then travel to the DW Stadium on the final day to face a Wigan Athletic team who are likely to have been already relegated. 

A place in the promised land at stake

All of these teams are competing for a lottery ticket which could see them achieve promotion to the Premier League. The money involved with this is huge and a place at Wembley at the end of May would be a fantastic day for all involved. 

As shown in the play-offs throughout recent years, form is irrelevant going into them. Whichever team turns up and performs on the day will be the one which is successful. 

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