Hard to beat Brighton the ones to back for Championship play-offs
Last night saw Cardiff seal their return to the top division for the first time since 1961/62 with a goalless draw against Charlton Athletic and Hull – despite stuttering to a 1-0 loss against Wolves are are six points clear of third-placed Watford and 1/20 to join them in the Premier League next season. Below them Brighton, Crystal Palace, Leicester, Bolton and Nottingham Forest are all vying for play off places with just three points between them and it’s Gus Poyet’s consistent grinders that have what it takes to go to Wembley and win promotion, for which they can be backed at 10/3.
Being on good run of form is absolutely vital where play off success is concerned as Crystal Palace and Blackpool – promoted via the end of season knockouts after sneaking into the top six on late runs in 2004 and 2010 – have proven.
Bolton are that side, flying into contention on a run of eight wins in their last 11 league games, but whilst the Whites – 11/2 for promotion with Coral – are just a point outside the play-offs, their wings are in the process of being clipped by injuries.
David N’Gog was stretchered off in their 3-2 loss at Leicester, joining Jay Spearing, Keith Andrews and Mark Davies in the Trotters’ sick bay.
8/1 promotion hopefuls Nottingham Forest six-game winning streak was a premature peak and they’ve since gone five games without a win. Furthermore they’ve twice been led into the play-offs by Billy Davies in recent seasons without grasping the promotional nettle.
Watford are another side whose run of conviction seems to have faltered just when they need it most, yielding a single win to show for their last seven outings, whilst Crystal Palace are in the same boat with no win in six and just one away success since November.
While all who had been above them seeing points slip through their fingers like sand of late, the Eagles’ arch-rivals Brighton have been quietly clambering the slippery slope towards the division’s summit. The Seagulls have lost just nine league games this term – less than any of their Championship rivals bar Cardiff – and their hard to beat style could be ideal for the play-offs.