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Who is going to get the sixth spot in the Championship?

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The top five spots in the top tier of the Football League are more or less settled, but the battle for the final play-off route to join Leicester and Burnley in the Premier League is fiercer than ever.

Derby and QPR have basically secured their play-off slots, as seventh-placed Reading not are able to surpasse the R’s on anything else than goal-difference, and Wigan are able to come on level terms if they win their game in hand against Birmingham. In other words, there are seven sides battling to get into the semi-finals, Middlesbrough excluded as the distance of seven points with three games to go is presumably a too heavy task. Nonetheless, here is Football League World’s take on the Championship play-off run-in, with focus on making that sixth spot on the table:

6th – Brighton & Hove Albion, 65 points

Oscar Garcia’s side have been in dodgy form recently with only two wins from their last eight games. However their top goalscorer José Ulloa (13 goals) has shown signs of picking up some form, with three goals in his past three games following a presecessing period of one goal in eight. On the other half of the pitch, the Seagulls have been very solid, as Tomasz Kuszczak has been a significant reason behind their 19 clean sheets, which is most in the league. That has made them fight in the upper half of the table despite scoring less than Birmingham  who are battling the relegation ghost.

Remaning fixutres: Blackpool (H), Yeovil (H), Nottingham Forest (A)

7th – Reading, 64 points

Just like Brighton, the Royals have only won twice in their past eight games. 1-1 against league champions Leicester in mid-week was a fair outcome, but all arrows pointed in the wrong direction when Wigan got away with a 3-0 result at the week-end. Adam LeFondre and Pavel Pogrebniak have 24 goals between them, but behind the striking co-operation, they suffer from a lack of goals from the midfield department. That’s backed by the 30 games this season where Nigel Adkins’ side have scored only once or not at all.

Remaining fixures: Middlesbrough (H), Doncaster (A), Burnley (H)

8th – Ipswich, 64 points

It’s a dead heat between Reading and the Tractor boys, with the former currently edging it by a four-goal better goal difference. But despite their 3-1 loss against Watford, with former Liverpool man Albert Riera on the scoresheet, they managed back-to-back wins in the two games prior. The major concern for Ipswich is their top goalscorer David McGoldrick, who suffered a knee ligament injury back in February and subsequently ruled out for the rest of the season. Fortunately Daryl Murphy has been in decent form recently and is only one goal short of McGoldrick. Nonetheless, Mick McCarthy’s side have shipped exactly two goals or more on thirteen occasions this season, which in the end might deny them them play-offs.

Remaining fixtures: Bournemouth (H), Burnley (A), Sheffield Wednesday (H)

9th – Nottingham Forest, 62 points

A streak of thirteen(!) games on the trot without a win came to an end when Birmingham were beaten 1-0 on Saturday, thanks to Matt Derbyshire’s contribution in the second minute. Nonetheless, 17 draws, which is most in the league, over a season could cost them in the end of the day. Having Andy Reid on nine goals as your top goalscorer is probably not a sign of strength for caretaker Alan Brazil either. (Mind it could change quickly as they have three players on eight goals.) The penultimate game of the season against Brighton might turn out significant for the Reds, if they manage to get a result against table neighbours Bournemouth.

Remaining fixtures: Leeds (A), Bournemouth (A), Brighton (H)

10th – Bournemouth, 62 points

Eddie Howie has navigated his newly promoted Cherries ship far off the relegation coast, and even at this point of the season there is hope of more. This is partly down to their five-game winning streak before their two most recent games. The Dean Court faithful are used to games going down to the wire, as such an experience might come in handy on this stage: 28 of their games have finished with a one-goal win/loss or a draw, so handicap objects are probably not the solution if you like to make money on betting. Former Leeds defender Ian Harte has boosted his career at the club, playing 36 games this season, and striker Lewis Grabban’s 20 goals have obviously maintained wind in the sails as well.

Remaining fixtures: Ipswich (A), Nottingham Forest (H), Millwall (A)

11th – Blackburn, 61 points

Rovers have a nine-game streak going on that includes no losses at all. If they could maintain this streak, pick up some wins and other results go in their favour, they might push for that sixth spot as well. The club has been carried by veterans Paul Robinson and David Dunn this season, as well as former Huddersfield star man Jordan Rhodes and his 24 goals this term. Rovers have a favourable fixutre list as well, particularly if Wigan have landed fifth by the final day of the season.

Remaining fixtures: Birmingham (H), Charlton (A), Wigan (H)

12th – Watford, 60 points, one game in hand

A six games unbeaten run is currently habiting at Vicarage Road and added to the loan deal involving Albert Riera and a game in hand against Charlton that makes them utter outsiders for finishing sixth. Their goal difference is quite baffling, as +18 is better than the likes of QPR and Wigan way above them on the table. The former Walsall striker Troy Deeney has played more games (40) and scored more goals (21) than any other Hornet this term, despite leaving the pitch goalless in his past two appearances. Watford have won seven games by three goals or more this season, which is more than anyone else in the Sky Bet Championship.

Remaining fixtures: QPR (A), Derby (A), Charlton (A), Huddersfield (H)


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Article title: Who is going to get the sixth spot in the Championship?

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