Three-team race for football’s biggest promotion


When the Championship set a restart date for the final nine games of the season very few predicted that it would turn out to be a three-horse race for the automatic promotion spots, and even fewer would have predicted who that third team would be.

Rewind to the 39-game mark, Leeds and West Brom were clear at the top of the Championship, with both fighting it out to win the league. Both have dropped points since the restart, and in games that, with their form before the pause in the league, were games both would have been expected to win.

The other party at play here is Brentford, who have won all six of their matches, and are the in-form team of the Championship. So let’s have a look at the candidates for promotion to the top-flight.


Out of the three teams, Leeds would have to hit a bad run to miss out on an automatic place. Their last-minute goal against Swansea has taken them six points clear of Brentford, who lie in third, with three games remaining. All of their remaining games are against teams that have something to fight for, Barnsley and Charlton are fighting to keep their Championship status alive, and Derby will still be fighting for a play-off spot.

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That being said, they only need one more win to end their wait for a return to the Premier League, and I cannot see them missing out this year.

My verdict? I can see them tallying up seven more points from their last three matches, I think Derby will hold them to a draw, meaning they will go up as champions. 

West Brom

Prior to lockdown, West Brom had hit a slight blip with a loss to Wigan which was followed by a draw to Swansea. This saw them slip to second place, but still six points clear of Fulham who were in third. Since the restart, they have had games where their strong attack just cannot finish a game off. They have taken 11 points from a possible 18, which isn’t bad, but there have been games they should have won.

In their last match against Blackburn, they were cruising at 1-0, but they were squandering chances that would have put the game to bed. The game at Ewood Park would finish 1-1, and with Brentford winning, their second place lead was reduced to three points.

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Their next game looks to be the toughest of their three remaining, as they host Fulham, who sit in fourth. Lose that, and I seriously worry that they will slip into a play-off spot. After Fulham, they have games against a Huddersfield side who are struggling for wins, and QPR who look set for a mid-table finish.

My verdict? I can see them matching Leeds’ seven-point return. I think the Baggies will draw with Fulham, followed by two wins against lesser opposition. This will see them promoted, but it will no doubt be a close run thing.


Brentford have been the team to watch since the restart. They have won all six matches, and have shaken up the promotion race, where people did not think it was possible too. Their fightback against Charlton, and resounding win against Derby shows their determination to get promoted. They have also beaten West Brom since the restart, and will go into any game feeling like they can win, and win in style.

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Their next match against Preston is huge. Preston haven’t quite been at the races recently, but they are only two points outside of the play-offs, and will be fighting to get in.

After Preston, the Bees face Stoke, who are all but safe, and Barnsley, who could still be fighting to stay in the Championship.

My verdict? I cannot see this Brentford team dropping points, they have just been too good. However, I think that they will narrowly miss out on the automatic spots by one point.

It is extremely difficult to predict how the next three matches will go. Will Leeds ‘do a Leeds’? Will West Brom recapture their goal scoring prowess? Will Brentford run out of steam? Who knows. All that is left to say is grab the popcorn, because we are in for a great last three games.

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