Birmingham City striker Troy Deeney has claimed that Fulham and West Bromwich Albion are the only two teams in the Championship that “know they can get one of the two automatic [promotion] places”.
The boyhood Blues fan left Watford to link up with Lee Bowyer’s squad in the summer and has scored twice in his first eight games for the second-tier club.
After a bright start to the season, Birmingham have struggled over the past few months and now sit 18th in the Championship.
The weekend’s 2-1 win against Swansea City could help them kick-start their season, however, and with just five points between the Blues and the top six, Deeney remains confident a play-off finish is achievable.
Speaking in an interview with Four Four Two, he said: “I’ve not signed for a jolly-up. I may be over 30 now but I’m not an OAP who wants to wind down and have a good time.
“I’m under quite a lot of pressure; I want to win. I think we can deliver the play-offs this season, but there are 15 other teams who believe that, too.
“It’s only Fulham and West Brom who know they can get one of the two automatic places, while all the others want to be the best of the rest.”
Fulham sit five points back from league leaders Bournemouth, with West Brom one point further back in third.
Bowyer’s side’s next chance to close their gap on the top six comes on Saturday when they travel to the Riverside to host in-form Middlesbrough.
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This is a bold claim from Deeney with such a long way to in the 2021/22 campaign.
It’s true that the Championship top three are beginning to open up a gap on the rest of the clubs chasing promotion – with that now at four points after the weekend.
He seems to have crowned Bournemouth as promoted to the Premier League already while he’s certain either the Baggies or Fulham will join them.
That may unsettle some Blues fans given Albion are their local rivals but in equal measure, they’ll be excited by his confidence about a potential play-off push from the St Andrew’s outfit.
It’s not been the easiest start to the season but if Bowyer’s side can build on their win against the Swans they may find themselves closing the gap on the top six quickly.