The Championship Ups and Downs
6th May 2016
The Championship season is almost at a close with only one league game and the play offs remaining. The season has been one of surprises and unexpected table positions throughout the season. At the start of the season pundits were expecting both Middlesborough & Derby County to take the top spots in the league.
Top goal scorer in the Championship is currently Andre Gray of Burnley who has netted 24 goals this season and helped achieve automatic promotion for Sean Dyche’s team.
At the start of the season out of the current top six, the least likely for promotion according to bookies were Brighton with 33-1, and now it’s between them and Middlesborough to fight for the other remaining automatic promotion place to accompany Burnley into the Premiership.
One of the favourites, Derby County, have seen manager Paul Clement come and go, a spending spree of £25 million couldn’t prevent them suffering a big dip during Jan & Feb. They managed to pull it back together in April after the arrival of consultant Harry Redknapp. DCFC have now secured a play off position.
Cardiff City have narrowly missed out on play offs this season to Sheffield Wednesday. Cardiff were subject to an embargo in January 2016, however they were able to bring some players in on loan, notably Kenneth Zohore who has scored twice in their last three games and is a strong promising young player.
Newly promoted Preston North End have had a solid first season in the Championship currently in 11th and only 1 point behind Birmingham who are 9th. Their top goal scorer is midfielder Daniel Johnson who has scored 9 goals and had 2 assists followed by striker Joe Garner scoring 6 with 5 assists.
The teams who will leave the Championship and play in League One next season are Bolton Wanderers, Charlton Athletic & Milton Keynes Dons. Bolton Wanderers finished 18th last season after 4 seasons in the Championship and 11 seasons in the Premiership. Charlton Athletic also narrowly escaped relegation last season despite finishing 9th the season before after being promoted in 2012 and Milton Keynes are dropping straight back to league one.
With one game to go it will be decided who joins Burnley in automatics, Hull and Derby could switch places and we could see a lot of movement still in the rest of the table though it won’t impact anything other than club pride now.
Next season Aston Villa will drop down to the Championship and Wigan will return from League One.
As always, the last games of the season will be the deciding game for some of the clubs that will be moving into the Championship next season before the excitement and nerves of the play offs is then upon us.