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Promotion battles in the Championship

Five games to go, and the picture changes once again! The twists and turns at the top of the Championship make it exciting viewing for neutral observers, an agonising experience for committed fans.

Last night’s results now leave Cardiff in pole position for that second automatic promotion spot, behind runaway leaders QPR, for the moment at least. Beating a side struggling desperately for survival, on their own pitch, is exactly what genuine promotion contenders need to do. Many of the Bluebirds’ rivals have failed to manage that in recent weeks, so the big, big win at Sheffield United, following on the similar success at Doncaster, is bound to encourage everyone associated with the club.

Cardiff now know that if they win their last five matches, nobody can catch them, but the chances of them achieving that, in a famously topsy-turvy division, must be very much on the slim side of probable. Still, all of the teams below would gladly swap places with Dave Jones and his side.

As for Swansea, they were unlucky to run into a famously combative Hull team just a couple of days after their superb display against Norwich. With the Tigers playing a very different style to the footballing Canaries, many of us did feel they would pose a greater challenge.  The Swans, though, remain just two points off the top two, only one win away, with everything to play for.

Especially when you look at the fixtures this weekend. Friday sees Norwich v Nottingham Forest – come on Forest, the cry from all of South Wales. Then on Saturday, it’s Reading v Leicester – the Royals on a major charge, which we could do with seeing halted – and Leeds v Watford, as well as Swansea’s trip to Burnley and Cardiff’s home game against Portsmouth. The top six – or rather the next-to-top five below QPR – could look a lot different come Saturday evening. If the Bluebirds were to be beaten by Pompey, for instance, other results could see them slip from second and fall to fifth, with Swans passing them on the way up…

Fasten your seatbelts!

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