The Championship is renowned for being the league where anything can happen… And where it usually does! The competitive nature of the division was demonstrated last season, when outsiders AFC Bournemouth were crowned champions after only managing to secure the title and promotion on the final day of the campaign.
With only a third of the season remaining there are still no clear title contenders, no runaway winners and no standout performers. There are only 18 points between the teams at the top and the teams sitting mid-table, whilst a gap of just seven points separates first placed Middlesbrough and sixth placed Sheffield Wednesday.
Every season, there are a large number of teams likely to be in contention for promotion to the Premier League, and this year is no different. However, there has to be one winner and here are five of the most likely contenders for automatic promotion from the Championship come May…
Derby (Current Position: 5th)
Since relegation from the Premier League back in 2007/08, Derby have spent nine consecutive seasons in the Championship, finishing in the play-off positions on just one occasion. Currently sitting fifth in the table on 51 points, the side from Pride Park had made a strong start to the season.
However, despite several good starts and competing at the top of the table for the majority of their second-tier spell, the Rams seem to have a habit of ending the season with a run of bad form. This year seems to be different for Derby and they had been securely positioned in and around the top three. But with no win in seven and no manager, surely their second-half of the season syndrome can’t be happening again?