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Championship: The fate of all 24 clubs part 1

Tuesday 28th February 2017
With just over two months remaining until the last game of the season takes place in the Championship, competition for automatic promotion, play-off places and survival is intensifying. How will each side finish the campaign? We take a look at every club and offer our thoughts.

Aston Villa



One of the pre-season favourites for automatic promotion, Aston Villa have suffered a terrible campaign. After scoring just 31 times in 33 games and recently losing seven out of eight league matches, Villa are in 17th position. With Jonathan Kodjia and Scott Hogan leading the line, bigger things are definitely expected next season. For now, mid-table is the best Steve Bruce's side can achieve .

Barnsley



Barnsley had a positive start to their first season back in the Championship. Although they lost influential players in January - Conor Hourihane and Sam Winnall, the club has exceeded expectations and sit tenth in the table. However, the Tykes current form has dropped off, winning just once in their previous five games, which is likely to witness the side finish the season in the bottom half.

Birmingham City



Strange events have occurred at St Andrew's as Gary Rowett, who was extracting the most from his team, was axed in favour of Italian, Gianfranco Zola. Birmingham have since struggled to replicate their early season form, losing three out of the last four, and have slipped down the table to 14th place. With their campaign effectively over, Zola's side will finish outside the top half.

Blackburn Rovers



Blackburn Rovers had a good run in the FA Cup, but their league form has been disappointing. With the imminent threat of relegation, manager Owen Coyle was replaced. The club is now three points from safety and 23rd in the table. New boss, Tony Mowbray, has the experience to ensure his new side remain in the division and with games in hand on their rivals -   Blackburn will stay up.

Brentford



Brentford have been the ideal definition of an average Championship side this season: never in danger of being involved in a relegation scrap but not ready to challenge towards the top end. The Bees currently sit 13th, with 12 wins and 14 losses. Although they have 13 games remaining, the club should be aiming to improve for the future,as mid-table is almost guaranteed this season.

Brighton & Hove Albion



There are exciting times ahead for Brighton fans as the south coast club are in a great position to reach the Premier League. Chris Hughton is doing a superb job, his side sit one point clear at the top of the table and possess the best defensive record in the division. Lewis Dunk and Anthony Knockaert have both played major roles. The Seagulls will, deservedly, gain automatic promotion.

Bristol City



Bristol City looked to have improved at this level, but eight successive defeats saw them plummet down the table and put them in real danger of relegation. The Robins are now in 21st, just two points above the relegation zone. Tammy Abraham has hit 18 goals this season, but despite his best efforts, Bristol will pay a heavy price for their slump in form by finishing in the bottom three.

Burton Albion



Up to now, it's been a brilliant first season in the Championship for Burton Albion. The club sits in a respectable 19th position, with a five-point gap to the relegation places. Nigel Clough is a talented manager, and although his side lack a cutting edge up top, they possess a fighting spirit that has served them well. Clough and his players will avoid the drop, but it will be a close call.

Cardiff City



Cardiff have aspirations to return to the Premier League, but after a dismal start to the campaign, they had to revise their plans and concentrate on survival. Neil Warnock took charge of the club, he's produced a significant improvement with four wins in the last five games, and taken them into the top half. The Bluebirds revival is still in progress; expect a mid-table finish this season.

Derby County



Nigel Pearson failed to produce the desired effect as Derby manager, which saw Steve McClaren return to Pride Park; the former England boss made an instant impact and took the team within touching distance of the play-off places. However, after indifferent results, McClaren's side are now ten points adrift of their intended target and a top ten finish looks the most likely outcome.

Fulham



Fulham still have hopes of finishing in the top six as the London club sits just five points adrift. It's been a decent season for Slavisa Jokanovic's side, and they are the fourth highest scorers in the division, with 56 goals. But although they will fight to the end, with Scott Parker the instrumental leader,it will be difficult to climb any higher and they will just miss out on the play-off places.

Huddersfield Town

Without doubt, the surprise package in this season's Championship is Huddersfield Town. Under David Wagner, the Yorkshire club are third in the table and still maintain a realistic chance of automatic promotion. Wagner was voted Manager of the Month in August and his side continues to defy the odds. The Terriers may have to settle for a play-off spot but will be a genuine threat.

Read part 2 here
Danny Glendenning

Passions include reading, sport, and nights out with friends. A football fanatic whose writing career began in May 2016. Now 30 years old, lives in South Yorkshire - local team is Doncaster Rovers, although heart lies with Arsenal. Contributing editor for It's Round And It's White. Current claim to fame is an interview with Ron Atkinson. Always looking for work, either editing or writing. Contact via email: Dannysg1988@outlook.com. Or Twitter: @DannySG1988.

 

 


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