EFL pundit Dean Ashton has suggested that one of either Cardiff City or Swansea City will go on to earn promotion back to the Premier League this season after the two sides met in the derby on Saturday.
The Bluebirds managed to pick up a priceless win with Aiden Flint scoring the only goal of the game to hand Mick McCarthy his first success against Swansea in the derby. It was a win that sees Cardiff establish themselves right back in the mix for the play-off places, with them now just four points adrift of Reading in sixth place with eight matches remaining.
For Swansea, the defeat was a bitter blow to their hopes of chasing down a place in the top two in the Championship. Steve Cooper’s side remain in third place, but after Watford continued their impressive form with a 3-0 win against Birmingham City the Swans are now six points adrift. However, they do still have a game in hand which could get them right back into it again.
Speaking on EFL on Quest, Asthon delivered a bold assessment when asked if he feels that Cardiff and Swansea will meet each other again in the league next term. He believes that one of the two clubs will be playing in the Premier League come the start of next season.
He said: “I think one of the two teams will be going up, these games are always competitive but this was vital for Cardiff to keep them right in the hunt for the play-offs.”
This is a very bold prediction from Ashton considering how long is left in the campaign and how many things could happen to both clubs between now and the end of the season. However, both Cardiff and Swansea are now firmly in the mix for a return to the top-flight with the Bluebirds’ hopes resting on the top-six, while the Swans still have eyes on the top two.
For Cardiff, it would have been difficult to see them having a chance of the play-offs had they not secured all three points as they did on Saturday. Now the win against their fierce rivals will provide a major boost of confidence heading into the final eight matches. McCarthy has already taken them on one long winning run, another one might well be enough at this stage.
Swansea’s hopes for the top two are looking a little less bright than they were a week or two ago, with Cooper’s side now no longer having the advantage of it being in their own hands. Watford’s form is going to make it very challenging for them to be caught and the Swans can not really avoid too many more slip-ups.