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Who will Make the Championship Play-Offs?

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Steve Cooper, Nottingham Forest

Who will make the Championship Play-Offs?

As the end of season fast approaches, the race for play-off places intensifies, with numerous clubs still vying for a top-six finish when matchday 46 draws to a close.

League leaders Fulham and second-placed Bournemouth look out of sight, leaving the remaining promotion place for this season's Championship contingent left to the play-off winner. In our opinion, seven teams are still realistically in the hunt for the four places, so here’s our preview of each side's chance of a top-six finish.

Huddersfield Town

After a now three-year stint in the Championship, Huddersfield looks on course to achieve a top-six finish come the end of the season

Sitting third at present, the Terriers are arguably in pole position for a play-off place, as despite some rivals having games in hand it’s always better to have points on the board. Huddersfield has been okay lately; winning two, drawing one, and losing two of their past five, and with 66 points are four points clear of 7th placed Middlesborough.

The next three games are paramount for Carlos Corberan’s side, as they welcome play-off rivals Luton and QPR, before facing a trip to Middlesbrough. If the Terriers take points from their next three, they look a certainty for the top six as their remaining three fixtures in Barnsley, Coventry City, and Bristol are all winnable.

Given their current position, Huddersfield look odds on for a play-off position, likely exceeding any pre-season expectations considering last season's relegation scare. With some tough fixtures still to play, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Terriers slip down a few positions, but do expect Corberan’s side to hold strong for a top-six finish.

Championship Promotion Odds

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Huddersfield Town @ 6/1

Luton Town

Despite being a League 1 side as late as the 2018/19 season, Luton Town has defied all odds this campaign, and with just six matches remaining are real contenders to end the season in the top six.

With 59 goals, Luton are the division's third top scorers with striker Elijah Adebayo netting 15 times in his debut Championship season. The Hatters sit fourth and are unbeaten in their last four outings with two wins and two draws, although will be disappointed in conceding late to Peterborough thus dropping two valuable points.

Tasked with facing Huddersfield and Nottingham Forest in their next two, the Hatters have two six-pointers ahead, although with two of their last three games seeing them welcome Blackpool and Reading to Kenilworth Road, boss Nathan Jones will fancy his chances to end the season strongly.

In truth, Luton has surpassed all pre-season expectations, but at this point, Jones will have set his sight on a top-six finish. Although their run-in could be tricky, we back the Hatters to see out their fairy-tale season and end the campaign on a high, and maybe even return to the top-flight for the first time in over 30 years.

Championship Promotion Odds

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Luton Town @ 9/1

Nottingham Forest

Currently sitting fifth, considering their recent form and games in hand, Nottingham Forest looks like a safe bet for a play-off finish come the end of the season.

Although it’s generally better to have points on the board, with just 38 games played, Forest has two games in hand over most of their play-off rivals, which if won could see them move to third. Recently, the Reds have been the division's form side, with four wins from five last tasting league defeat to Cardiff City in late January.

Since taking over in September, manager Steve Cooper has transformed the club’s season, as after losing six of their first seven games, to be in with a real chance of promotion is nothing short of a miracle.

Forward Brennan Johnson has been a standout player for Forest all season, with the 20-year-old scoring 13 times and assisting a further seven playing in every game this season.

Forest fans will fancy themselves to finish at least sixth, as despite trips to Fulham, Bournemouth, and Luton Town on the horizon, the Reds avoid facing their fellow play-off adversaries in their other five remaining fixtures, with “winnable” games against the likes of Hull City, Birmingham, and Peterborough United.

Championship Promotion Odds

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Nottingham Forest @ 9/4

Sheffield United

Following a bottom place finish in the Premier League last season, Sheffield United are on the hunt for an instant return to England’s top flight.

The Blades sit fifth and are in okay form with two wins, a draw, and two losses in their past five, however, have no games in hand on their fellow challengers.

Forward Billy Sharp has made history for Paul Heckingbottom’s side this season, as his 14 league goals this campaign has seen him surpass David Nugent to become the Championship's all-time top scorer with 128 goals and counting.

Heckingbottom will be hopeful it’s Sharp by name and Sharp by nature for their remaining games, as the Blades have still to face Bournemouth, Reading, Bristol City, Cardiff City, and QPR, before ending the season by welcoming champions-elect Fulham.

This is by no means an easy run-in, meaning the Blade's play-off hopes may rest in their rivals’ dropping points above all else, however at this point, a play-off position is still in their hands.

Despite valiant efforts this season, we think Sheffield might just run out of steam, as we expect the Blade's season to draw to a close come the end of Matchday 46.

Championship Promotion Odds

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Sheffield United @ 5/2


This season, amidst a solid Championship campaign, Middlesborough are perhaps most well known for being FA Cup giant-killers, knocking out Premier League heavyweights Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in successive rounds.

Having shown they can mix with the big boys, Chris Wilder will be eager to return Boro to the pinnacle of English football and considering their current position, he has a real shot at doing so.

At present, Middlesborough sits seventh, however, have a game in hand over most of their rivals which if won could see them move into the top six. Wilder’s side has two wins in their last five, losing last time out to league-leaders Fulham, and are still to play high-flyers Bournemouth and Huddersfield, alongside mid-table sides in Stoke, Swansea, and Preston making potentially unpleasant reading for fans.

Since joining in January, Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun has been somewhat underwhelming, although with two goals in his last three is showing signs of adjustment to the Championship at the right time. Considering their game in hand and experience at this stage, we expect Wilder’s side to end the season in the top six for the first time since 2017/18.

Championship Promotion Odds

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Middlesbrough @ 3/1

Blackburn Rovers

Since relegation in the 2011-12 season, a once Premier League winning Blackburn Rovers outfit has been absent from England’s top division, even suffering a season in League 1 in 2017/18.

At present, Rovers sit eighth, level on points with Middlesborough but having played an extra game. Entering the last six fixtures, Tony Mowbray’s side is in somewhat poor form, with one win, two draws, and two losses in their past five, although may fancy their chances with a relatively kind run-in.

Blackburn’s remaining games include trips to Peterborough, Preston, and Birmingham, whilst they welcome Bournemouth, Stoke, and Blackpool to Ewood Park. Although not easy, compared to some of their rivals, Mowbray will see an opportunity to put points on the board, with this season the Rovers’ best chance in years to secure a top-six finish.

The breakout story at Ewood Park this season has seen Chilean forward Ben Breton-Diaz reach 20 league goals before the end of 2021, despite being given 1000/1 odds of reaching the milestone across the season prior to the campaign. After a stellar first half of the season, the forward has been hampered by injuries, still yet to score his 21st league goal.

Mowbray is hopeful Breton-Diaz will return for the remaining games, with the talisman finding his shooting boots potentially instrumental if the Rovers are to earn a play-off spot this season.

Championship Promotion Odds

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Blackburn Rovers @ 11/1


In our opinion, QPR is the final side who can feasibly make the play-offs, as although there are several sides still within touching distance in terms of points, the need for rivals to drop points sees the London club deemed the final serious competitor.

QPR sit five points off sixth in ninth, with recent form seeing Mark Warburton's side slide down the table with four losses and just one win in their last five. In losing their last four to league-leaders Fulham, relegation-bound Peterborough, and play-off rivals Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United, the R’s have simultaneously seen their own performances and points suffer, whilst bolstering the chances of two direct competitors in what looked must-win games.

With no games in hand, the London club has just six matches remaining, with four of these being away trips to Preston, Huddersfield, Stoke, and Swansea which could all be troublesome.

Despite looking a dead certain for a top-six finish until recently, the form from Warburton’s side has been inexcusable of late, and although they are still in with a chance, the R’s will need a near-perfect finish to have a shot at returning to the Premier League next season.

Championship Promotion Odds

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QPR @ 150/1

Header logoChampionship

Team logoFulham
Team logoBournemouth
Team logoHuddersfield
Team logoNottm Forest
Team logoSheff Utd
Team logoLuton
Team logoMiddlesbrough
Team logoBlackburn
Team logoMillwall
Team logoWest Bromwich
Team logoQPR
Team logoCoventry
Team logoPreston
Team logoStoke
Team logoSwansea
Team logoBlackpool
Team logoBristol City
Team logoCardiff
Team logoHull
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Team logoReading
Team logoPeterborough
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Last updated 29/09/2023