After studying recent matches in the Championship, Peter Beagrie has given his forecasts as to who will go up automatically and who will challenge from the play-off spots.

The former Sunderland and Middlesbrough winger states that at the start of the season he went for Brighton & Newcastle and with the pair of them at the top of the table he says ‘I don’t see a reason to change that’.

Peter Beagrie describes Saturday’s win over Derby as ‘a massive result’ and thinks that this gives Newcastle United ‘the edge in the title race’, especially with Brighton dropping further points against Brentford, following on from the defeat at Huddersfield.

Talking about the difference between the top two and the rest, Beagrie says that whenever ‘they have a setback Newcastle and Brighton have proved they can win their next game and then go on a run’.

The Sky Sports pundit goes so far as to say the top two are ‘signed and sealed’, due to the quality of their managers and players, as well as the points advantages the top two currently have.

Although Peter Beagrie does keep his options open by giving a word of caution ‘It is the Championship, so we shouldn’t be surprised by anything’.

Let’s hope in the next three months, Newcastle fans don’t have too many nasty surprises.

Peter Beagrie talking to Sky Sports:

“I think recent results show how intense the Championship is because both Newcastle and Brighton have been beaten several times this season.

“But after Brighton’s last two results, Newcastle have the edge in the title race.

“Beating Derby was a massive result, especially after dropping points at home to QPR, and Benitez’s side are the favourites for me.

“Can anyone challenge the top two?

“At the start of the season I went for Newcastle and Brighton to get the automatic promotion spots and I don’t see a reason to change that.

“Reading have been amazing. For Jaap Stam to change the dynamic, the shape of the team, the way that they are playing – out from the back, despite the natives being restless – was very brave.

“They needed a centre-forward and they got one in Yann Kermorgant but I just think the top two have so much quality, so much strength in depth and they’ve proved they can bounce back from disappointments.

“Every time they have a set-back Newcastle and Brighton have proved they can win their next game and then go on a run.

“I think with the points deficit that’s already there, the squads and the experience of the managers, they are signed and sealed – but it is the Championship, so we shouldn’t be surprised by anything.”