The Championship run-in: a very brief overview

At this stage of the Championship season, most teams have stabilised at a position that reflects their overall quality. There are some anomalies, of course, with Portsmouth perhaps the most pressing of these – Pompey have won their last five – but, generally speaking, you can measure the task ahead by a team’s league position.

So let’s do precisely that. Listed below is the current Championship table including the average league position of each team’s opponents for the run-in. Click on the image for a larger version.

League position of opponents

The old adage that anyone can beat anyone in the second tier is becoming rather outdated. The clubs at the top can usually be relied upon to beat the clubs at the bottom at present and this suggests that we can learn something from these statistics.

Some noteworthy fixture lists for individual clubs:

Reading – in their remaining six fixtures at the Madejski Stadium, the Royals face four of the current bottom six, but none of the top six.

Norwich City – Paul Lambert’s Canaries also have a relatively easy run-in at Carrow Road, hosting only Nottingham Forest from the top two-thirds of the division.

Ipswich Town – in their remaining six away games, Paul Jewell’s side only play one side outside of the current top eight – Bristol City. They must travel to Cardiff, Leeds, Burnley, Swansea and Leicester before the season concludes.

Millwall – on paper, Millwall have the trickiest end to the campaign as far as home games are concerned. The Lions will give a warm welcome to four of the current top six as well as Bristol City and bottom club Preston North End.

Cardiff City – the promotion-chasing Bluebirds have already played most of the top clubs away from home. The average league position of the sides they are yet to travel to is 17th.

Derby County – Nigel Clough’s struggling Rams have the hardest run-in in the entire division on paper. The average league position of their remaining opponents lies exactly halfway between 10th and 11th.

Sheffield United – the Blades are a very close second in this respect, meaning the form of both these sides is even more concerning than if they had an easier end to the campaign ahead.

The Seventy Two
The Seventy Two published an outstanding series of articles about the Football League between 2010-12 and was the brainchild of Leicester City fan, David Bevan. As well as collaborating with The Two Unfortunates on the Football League Blog Network and a mammoth 2011-12 season preview, the site featured a host of leading bloggers and David was rewarded with a nomination in the 2011 Football Supporters’ Federation awards. Latterly, he was joined as co-editor by Joe Harrison and TTU is happy to present this archive of the site’s output.


  1. ChrisHol
    March 4, 2011

    An interesting round-up.

    I’d also say that Forest’s run of 6 fixtures from 19th March is pretty noteworthy. Swansea (A), Leeds (A), Reading (H), Burnley (H), Norwich (A), Leicester (H). It’s fair to say that these will have a huge impact on the playoff picture come the end of the season.

    • theseventytwo
      March 4, 2011

      Definitely, extremely good point. I didn’t go through each set of fixtures individually to produce this so I missed that kind of thing. Certainly a key run for Forest which will affect the makeup of the top six.

  2. Bill Turianski
    March 4, 2011

    I don’t understand why you think that Portsmouth’s current postion (12th) is an anomaly. Because their 5 game winning streak has come against clubs that they are above in the standings. So the streak is less a fluke of sudden great performances, and more a fluke of scheduling. Granted, I know that they stole those 3 points away to Ipswich Town, and that in general, a lot of their good results this season have come from good second half comebacks. Nevertheless, it is 5 straight wins with 5 clean sheets for Pompey And in a league where, recently, first place (QPR) can’t even beat last place (Preston), that 5 game unbeaten-and-not not-scored-upon run speaks for itself. Plus, this season, Portsmouth have beaten, on the road, current top 6 clubs Norwich City and Swansea City, and that was before they got Richie de Laet and David Cotterill on loan, and before DF Ricardo Rocha found his current solid form. That being said, Pompey could very well go on another bad run like they had in January. But I really can’t see them getting pulled in to the relegation battle, or even ending up in the 15th to 19th place range.

  3. pengedragon
    March 4, 2011

    have to be pleased with the remaining fixtures from a cardiff point of view. i wonder how we’ll screw it up this time

  4. Lanterne Rouge
    March 5, 2011

    Good piece of analysis – Reading did need to take a deep breath recently as they faced clubs high up the table for a few matches in the row – the fixture list is slightly easier from here, albeit with Leeds and Forest still to face.

    As for Sheffield United…o dear. Without wishing to annoy my pal and some time Seventy Two contributor Ian Rands, they were wretched when I saw them recently.


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