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Championship promotion battle is hotting up nicely

Cardiff, Aston Villa, Fulham and Derby in the mix

While it’s a near-guarantee that Wolverhampton Wanderers will win the Championship this season, the race for second is reaching a thrilling climax.

Just six points separate Cardiff City in second with Fulham in fifth.

But with 14 games still to go and 42 points up for grabs, anyone in the top half could put a run together and make a move.

Cardiff

Neil Warnock’s Cardiff have spent 18 gameweeks in the top two. The Bluebirds have been largely solid this season, barring a four-game losing streak over Christmas.

But their chances will largely rest on a crucial eight-day period in April.

They’ll travel to Sheffield United on the second, host Wolves on the seventh before a potentially huge game away at Aston Villa on the 10th.

Coral make Cardiff 11/10 third-favourites to go up.

Aston Villa

Third in the table, two points behind Cardiff but ahead of them in the betting, are Aston Villa.

A slow start to the season had many bemoaning boss Steve Bruce. They’ve spent just one gameweek in the automatic promotion spots.

But 16 wins from their last 25 games has thrust the Villans into the mix. They’re evens in the betting to go up.

Derby County

Derby County have been knocking on the promotion door for a few years now.

The Rams have spent six gameweeks in second, but one win in five has allowed Cardiff and Villa to move above them.

Gary Rowett’s men play Fulham and Cardiff in March, before crucial clashes against Wolves and Villa in April. Their recent blip has seen Coral drift their odds to 6/4.

Fulham

All eyes though, will be on the Fulham.

The Cottagers won just four of their opening 17 matches, but 11 victories from their last 15 games – including a superv 20- win over Villa – has moved them into contention.

Championship history is littered with sides who make a late push for promotion. Slavisa Jokanovic’s side only moved into the top-six on gameweek 29.

They play Wolves, Derby, Sheffield United and Preston in the next few weeks. Come through that in good form and they won’t be 12/5 for promotion for much longer.

Coral’s odds make that quartet the likely bunch to join Wolves in the Premier League next term. Behind them, Bristol City are 11/2 and Middlesbrough 7/1 for an instant return to the top.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing