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The Skybet Championship playoffs: who to back for promotion

Sunday 7th May 2017
The Skybet Championship has seen many large teams battle it out to secure promotion in recent years. The unforgiving division has played host to the likes of Bournemouth, West Brom, Swansea and even Leicester all within the past decade.

With the playoff places confirmed, we look at who's your best bet for the award that is rumoured to be the richest prize in English football. All odds are taken from Bet365 as of Sunday 7th May.

3rd- Reading FC- 5/1



The bookies seem to be looking at the history books, noticing that third place always seems to do the worst in the playoffs. They've predicted that Reading are the least likely to reach the Premier League with a competitive price of 5/1. In his first ever managerial post, Jaap Stam has revitalised the club as he only just missed out on the top two automatic promotion places. Reading

Reading have always been in and around the Championship playoffs as they continue to yo-yo between their current division and the Barclays Premier League. Lewis Grabban is a key player with Premier League experience, bursting with desire to get back to compete against some of Europe's biggest clubs next season. Top goalscorer, Yann Kermorgant (18) has impressed for The Royals as he enters the playoffs, knowing he has scored more goals this season that any other player battling it out

Top goalscorer, Yann Kermorgant (18) has impressed for The Royals as he enters the playoffs knowing he has scored more goals this season that any other player battling it out on the road to Wembley. Personally, considering Reading's experience within the playoffs, with Gareth McCleary and Chris Gunter experiencing Championship promotion before, I believe a price of 5/1 is a good choice. They have as good of a shot at the trophy as any other side in this year's competition.

4th - Sheffield Wednesday - 5/2.



Aiming to out-do their local rivals by playing in the top division next season, Sheffield Wednesday have had yet another great season. Clearly, they've managed to get over their playoff disappointment from last campaign, as they've mounted an extremely strong promotion push this season.

Manager Carlos Carvalhal is enjoying his time in Yorkshire as he has fulfilled all expectations set out at the start of the season, so far. Despite the Portuguese manager's contract set to expire at the end of the season, he'll be doing his utmost to guide The Owls to the Premier League for the first time since the millennium. A major problem with Wednesday is that they seem to lack consistency. After beating title winners, Newcastle United, 2-1 a few weeks ago, they slumped to a 2-1 defeat to fellow playoff hopefuls, Fulham, on the last day of the season. A price of 5/2 is optimistic from the bookmakers, lacking any real value in my opinion. While the promotion push is as open as ever this season, they're certainly not my favourite to make the grade.

5th - Huddersfield Town - 11/4.



The Terriers are aiming to make history this season, attempting to secure Premier League status for the first time in their history. Their long term plan, developing a strong squad since promotion from League One back in 2012, has certainly paid dividends. Perhaps they're this

Perhaps they're this season's Championship playoff surprise team, as this is the first time in their past 4 consecutive Championship campaigns that they've finished inside the top ten. Dodging relegation last season, eventually finishing up in 19th position, looks to have shook the squad into action.

Add an intelligent manager to the mix and you get a success story. Should Huddersfield reach the Premier League, it would be fantastic. Elias Kachunga, Nakhi Wells and Aaron Mooy will all be on show, aiming to play the best three games of their life in order to play in one of the world's greatest leagues. A respectable price of 11/4 is offered here, whether Huddersfield can do it is a huge ask, can they make it yet another English miracle?

6th - Fulham - 7/4.



An extremely strong second half of the season performance has made Fulham favourites to make it back to the Premier League. The squad have hit good form right at the correct stage of the season, securing seven wins in their final eleven games, including a 3-1 away win against free-scoring Newcastle United.

On loan striker, Chris Martin, has been cleared to play in the playoffs by his parent club, Derby County, which is a big advantage to Slavisa Jokanovic and his men. Teenage hot prospect, Ryan Sessegnon, will also aim to offer his maximal services during his playoff campaign. The pacey right back provides cross after cross, accelerating down the right-hand side, causing havoc for any opposition. Fulham are an excellent choice to back for this season's playoff campaign, it's a shame that the bookies think the same. However, with it being as difficult as ever to name a winner, it wouldn't be a bad idea to back the likes of Reading either. The club

Fulham are an excellent choice to back for this season's playoff campaign, it's a shame that the bookies think the same. However, with it being as difficult as ever to name a winner, it wouldn't be a bad idea to back the likes of Reading, either. The club are great odds of 5-1 with plenty of Premier League experience, with a true winner as a manager.

The ties are due to begin on Saturday 13th May with Fulham v Reading, followed a day later by Huddersfield v Sheffield Wednesday. The fortunate victors of these two-legged ties will battle it out at Wembley on 29th May; for the opportunity to compete in the Barclays Premier League next season.
Jack Drury
19 years of age. Sport and Exercise Science Student at Loughborough University. Peterborough United.

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