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.
The old adage that anyone can beat anyone in the second tier is becoming rather outdated.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.