Good morning and happy thursday hoddlers. It’s hard to believe but this month is nearly over.
April was a dramatic month in the EFL Championship, and only a couple of things are certain. First: Fulham secured promotion (but not the title!). And Derby County, Posh and Barnsley will all play footie in League One next season.
Now, let’s get to the action.
As of this writing there are two teams battling it out for that second automatic promotion spot. Bournemouth had some tough competition this month and only secured eight points out of a possible 21. Scott Parker’s side seemed almost guaranteed for a Premier League place next season, but that’s all up in the air now.
But that’s also to the credit of Nottingham Forest who are just three points back of the Cherries after a 1-0 victory against Fulham. Forest have lost just two games this calendar year and won three straight. Brennan Johnson remains one of the club’s star players with 15 goals and 10 assists on the season.
Forest and Bournemouth - each with 43 matches played - will play against each other on May 3.
That still leaves the rest of the playoff race. Six other clubs are competing for the two other spots that won’t be occupied by Bournemouth/Forest (Huddersfield are guaranteed a playoff spot). And no club is in that good of form. Only six points separate fifth-place Luton Town from ninth-place Millwall.
Meanwhile Queens Park Rangers, your hoddler-in-chief’s dark horse to secure promotion, crashed out of the race after a loss to Stoke last week.
And Blackburn Rovers don’t seem up for a fight anymore. Not after losses to Stoke and Peterborough. A 4-1 win against lowly Preston is nice, but adds little to the Rovers’ playoff chances.
Fitzie’s predictions: Fulham will secure the title one way or another, and Huddersfield and Luton both seem relatively comfortable enough in the table to move on to the playoffs. That leaves the final spot. It’s between Sheffield and Boro. But I’ll give the edge to Sheffield. Stoke City seem to be playing much freer now that the season is ending, and I think they’ll claim another big name against Boro, effectively ending the playoff race.
As for the promotion battle between Bournemouth and Forest? That’s a hard one, but Forest seem unstoppable right now.
Only two weekends remain in the EFL Championship season and there’s still a lot to play for. It’s sure to get chaotic.
EFL Championship Top Nine:
- Fulham, 87 Points (Remaining matches: Luton Town; at Sheffield)
- Bournemouth, 79 Points (at Blackburn; Forest; Millwall)
- Nottingham Forest, 76 Points (Swansea; at Bournemouth; at Hull)
- Huddersfield, 76 Points (at Coventry; Bristol)
- Luton Town, 72 Points (at Fulham; Reading)
- Sheffield United, 69 Points (at QPR; Fulham)
- Middlesbrough, 67 Points (Stoke, at Preston)
- Blackburn, 66 Points (Bournemouth, at Birmingham)
- Millwall, 66 Points (Posh, at Bournemouth)
Fitzie’s track of the day: Oh!, by The Linda Lindas
And now for your links
Dan KP: Daniel Levy facing summer dilemma as Antonio Conte plots transfer overhaul
Jose Mourinho says Tottenham sacking was a ‘unique experience’
Premier League launches scheme to identify players of South Asian heritage
How Exeter City’s fan-owned model secured League Two promotion
Carli Lloyd rejoins Gotham FC as minority owner