The Championship table becomes ever clearer.
Tuesday night’s results have shaken it up once more and of course five of the top seven now have one game less.
Newcastle United and Huddersfield play on Wednesday night at home to Burton and Norwich respectively – but a lot easier now to see what needs to be done.
Tuesday’s results involving the top seven:
Brentford 2 Leeds 0
Brighton 3 Birmingham 1
Derby 4 Fulham 2
Reading 3 Blackburn 1
Rotherham 0 Sheffield Wednesday 2
Wednesday’s (Tonight’s) fixtures
Huddersfield v Norwich
Newcastle v Burton
So this is how the table now looks:
Looking at the table, a point or better would guarantee Newcastle at least a place in the play-offs, even a draw would put NUFC 18 points clear of Fulham and the rest, with the massive goal difference advantage meaning they couldn’t realistically overtake the Magpies.
Consecutive defeats to Reading and then Brentford last night, have effectively put Leeds out of the automatic promotion race, 12 points behind Newcastle even before tonight’s Burton game.
Sheffield Wednesday may have won last night at Rotherham but only one win in their previous seven games had meant they were only ever fighting for a play-off place.
Which then leaves us with two remaining irritants.
Reading sum up the topsy turvy nature of much of the Championship, last night’s victory over Blackburn means they have won three in a row including beating top six Leeds and Sheff Wed. However, before that they had a run of only two wins in eight which looked to have effectively killed off any faint hopes of finishing top two.
If they’s managed a couple of more wins then Reading would have been putting significant pressure on Newcastle before tonight’s match but a win over Burton would put Rafa’s team 11 points clear of Jaap Stam’s outfit with only six games remaining, surely far too much to peg back.
Which leaves us with Huddersfield.
They can still potentially reach 95 points with eight games left but a 4-0 hammering at Bristol City and shock home defeat to lowly Burton have blown a massive hole in their ambitions. Even their fans appear resigned to simply making sure of a play-off place.
A win for Newcastle and a draw or worse for Huddersfield tonight, would leave David Wagner’s team at least 12 points trailing NUFC and the Magpies with that massive goal difference advantage as well.
Tonight will see the one millionth fan passing through the gates of St James Park for a league match this season and it could prove to be a pivotal night, hopefully.
A match/night where automatic promotion could become so much closer will ironically be watched by what looks very likely to be the lowest home Championship crowd of the season, with Burton set to bring less than 500 fans, plus it being a relatively unattractive game in midweek, with another home match only four days earlier.
The only important thing at this stage though is getting the job finished and a win tonight will help make that happen.
Oh yes, Brighton’s win over Birmingham took them above Newcastle, at least on a temporary basis…