England Championship

Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Sheffield Wednesday one win away from Premier League

1 Comment

The Owls of Sheffield Wednesday completed their upset of Brighton & Hove Albion, and now are a Wembley win away from England’s top flight.

After winning the home leg 2-0 last week, the Owls drew 1-1 on the road for a convincing defeat of the Championship’s third-ranked team.

The clubs staged a pair of scoreless draws during the season, but there’d be no such occurances in the playoff.

MORE: All 2015-16 PL season reviews ]

Brighton pulled a goal back to start the second leg, but Ross Wallace equalized with a road goal before halftime.

Wednesday hasn’t been in the Premier League since being relegated in 2000, beginning an odyssey which sent them twice down to League One before rejoining the Championship in 2012.

Sheffield Wednesday will play either Hull City or Derby County, likely the former, on May 28 for the right to join the Premier League. Hull leads Derby 3-0 after one leg, all three of those road goals, and Tuesday’s second leg kicks off at 2:45 p.m. ET.

Championship focus: Automatic promotion looks to go down to final day

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty images
Leave a comment

Brighton’s hope heading into Tuesday’s batch of Championship matches was that Burnley and Middlesbrough would split points and open up the automatic promotion race.

[ MORE: Newcastle-Man City recap ]

The Seagulls got just that in a day that saw six of 12 matches end as draws, and it sure looks like the final day of the season will end up dictating which two teams go up automatically, and which remaining squad will be the top seed in the playoffs.

Burnley 1-1 Middlesbrough

Jordan Rhodes’ red-hot form continues, as the big January buy scored in 70th minute and looked set to give Boro a 4-point lead atop the table. But Michael Keane equalized in stoppage time, giving the hosts a dramatic draw and a hold on second place.

Brighton & Hove Albion 4-0 QPR

Former Leicester City man Anthony Knockaert scored twice to key the Seagulls’ rout of Queens Park Rangers, giving Brighton wins in six of seven and consecutive blowout wins (The Seagulls clobbered Fulham 5-0 over the weekend).

The rest of the way in…
Middlesbrough: vs. Ipswich, at Birmingham, vs. Brighton
Burnley: at Preston, vs. QPR, at Charlton
Brighton: at Charlton, vs. Derby County, at Middlesbrough

Yes, it looks almost certain that the Seagulls and Boro will be within touching distance table-wise when they lock horns on the final day of the season, while Burnley will face already-relegated Charlton on the road.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Derby County and Hull City picked up wins, while Sheffield Wednesday drew to almost assure it will be the fourth seed in the promotion playoffs, and earn a date with the disappointed team that fails to clinch automatic promotion.

Championship Focus: Top Three win as Tuesday’s Burnley-Boro battle looms

Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Championship playoffs begin in less than four weeks, and the teams contending for automatic Premier League promotion continue to jostle for position.

All but one of the contenders for promotion or the playoffs, Hull City, have four matches remaining on the season.

[ MORE: Klinsmann salutes Fafa Picault | Jordan Morris scores ]

A huge match looms Tuesday, one that could easily affect the Top Two race on all fronts. Second-place Burnley hosts Middlesbrough, and at least one contender will lose a point while Brighton and Hove Albion hosts QPR.

Bolton 1-2 Middlesbrough

Big money January buy Jordan Rhodes struck twice for Boro in leading the visitors back from a 1-0 deficit with a half-hour to play. Boro remains atop the table, refusing to give way to Burnley.

Birmingham City 1-2 Burnley

Andre Gray’s 77th minute goal was his 24th of the season and gave Burnley all three points. The Clarets keep pace with Boro.

BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 16: Andre Gray of Burnley during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Burnley at St Andrews Stadium on April 16, 2016 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM – APRIL 16: Andre Gray of Burnley (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Brighton & Hove Albion 5-0 Fulham

The Gulls are within two points of longtime leaders Burnley in the race for the second automatic promotion slot.

Hull City 2-1 Wolverhampton

Steve Bruce‘s side is still in the driver’s seat for the playoff’s second seed after sealing three points at home.

Charlton Athletic 0-1 Derby County

The Rams’ road win keeps them level on points with Hull, who has that match-in-hand. If the playoffs started today, the Tigers would be slot ahead of Derby on goal differential.

Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Ipswich Town

The Owls look set to hold off both Cardiff City and Saturday’s visitors for the sixth playoff spot after the draw.

Championship Focus: Top Six all but certain, but who will clinch auto promotion?

Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images
Leave a comment

There are 5-6 matches left in the English Championship season, and the Top Six is looking pretty darn certain.

Who makes it to the automatic promotion spots and who contends the four-team promotion playoff is another story altogether.

[ MORE: Leicester clinches Champions League slot ]

Before we get to the table ramifications, here are the matches that shaped things.

Burnley 1-0 Leeds United

Scott Arfield scored in the first minute, and that’s all the Clarets needed to stay atop the table.

Middlesbrough 1-0 Preston North End

Boro continues to control its own destiny thanks to a first-half goal from Albert Adomah.

Fulham 2-1 Cardiff City

American 20-year-old Emerson Hyndman’s first senior goal put a serious crimp in Cardiff’s hope of making the playoff.

Huddersfield Town 2-2 Hull City

The Tigers needed to come back twice in order to snare a point. In the process, they likely sacrificed their chance at the Top Two.

Derby County 4-1 Bolton

Johnny Russell starred, picking up a brace as the Rams cruised while condemning Bolton to the drop.

Bolton is headed down. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Burnley, Middlesbrough and Brighton still have legit shouts at claiming instant promotion to the Premier League. The Clarets lead the table with 80 points but the aforementioned chasers have played one less match.

Boro could pass Burnley if it wins its match in hand. Brighton visits Nottingham Forest on Monday to make up its match in hand.

Hull City, Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday look set for a spot between 4-6, especially after Fulham shocked Cardiff.

Championship Focus: Still jammed up; Leaders Burnley face tough run-in

Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images
2 Comments

Nothing’s close to decided in the promotion race with between 8-9 matches left for the teams of England’s second tier.

While three clubs can feel comfortable knowing they’ll at least be in the promotion playoff, the automatic promotion spots have three favorites for two spots. And nine teams are still realistically alive for a playoff spot.

[ MORE: Hart & Sterling out for England; Heaton called up ]

Before we go any further, how about a hand for Rotherham United, who have claimed 13 of their 39 points — one-third — in six matches to pull out of the relegation (with plenty of work to be done). It looks like they’re in the middle of a five or six team fight to stay in the Championship.

But what about those teams that could go up to the Premier League?

Championship table
http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/championship/table

The same nine teams were in the mix when we last put the Championship in focus, and the top team remains Sean Dyche‘s Burnley. The Clarets have a four-point lead on second-place Brighton and are five points ahead of Middlesbrough, which has played one less game.

Boro are flying thanks to a win over fourth-place Hull on the weekend. The Tigers also have a match-in-hand, and blew the chance to pass Boro with a win.

Birmingham is in danger of dropping out of the picture if it fails to win its match-in-hand, while Ipswich is now more than one win from the final playoff spot.

[ MORE: Conte quizzed on Chelsea ]

Boro and Birmingham will make up their matches in hand on April 1-2, a two-day span that also sees a huge meeting between the table’s top two sides. If Burnley can get a win at Brighton, the Clarets would seem to have an almost insurmountable lead.

Here’s the thing, though: it wouldn’t be, thanks to a brutal run of scheduling that will see the Clarets play only two bottom-half sides over the rest of the season.