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The eight Championship runners and riders for promotion


Watford and Bournemouth lead the chasing pack heading into the final furlong

Twenty-four teams lined up at the start of the Championship season and a third remain in the hunt for a promotion spot, with Watford sitting pretty with just two games remaining.

Here is our verdict on what’s going to happen:

Two wins from their remaining matches will see them finish as champions and we’re expecting that to happen. The Hornets have won their last four matches and a trip to Brighton will be followed by a home match against Sheffield Wednesday.

Promotion odds: 1/5 with SkyBet
Verdict: First

Are the Cherries going to creak at precisely the wrong time? The division’s top scorers are only eight shy of 100 for the season although Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Sheffield Wednesday leaves them in the automatic spots only on goal difference.

Bolton could be tricky opponents in their next home match and a trip to The Valley in the final match could see Bournemouth fall just short.

Promotion odds: 2/7
Verdict: Third

A victory at Norwich has kept automatic promotion hopes alive, with Aitor Karanka’s team having now won their last three. A trip to Fulham is likely to yield another maximum and it could be a promotion party at the Riverside when Brighton make the long trip north.

Promotion odds: 8/11
Verdict: Second

Norwich City
The Canaries have seemingly blown their chances of an automatic spot by losing at home to Boro, although Alex Neil’s side should get a maximum haul from remaining games against Rotherham and Fulham. However, they are two points behind Bournemouth with a worse goal difference.

Promotion odds: 11/8
Verdict: Fourth

Derby County
The Rams are keeping things interesting after a 4-4 draw at Huddersfield, although they should bank fifth and line up a likely play-off date with Norwich City. Steve McClaren’s team have worryingly only won two of their last nine matches though.

Promotion odds: 3/1
Verdict: Fifth

Ipswich Town
Mick McCarthy has made his Tractor Boys “a horrible lot” to play against although they do have the leading striker in Daryl Murphy. They also have a three-point cushion and a slightly better goal difference than Wolves and Brentford. Win against Forest this weekend and that final spot is surely in the bag.

Promotion odds: 6/1
Verdict: Sixth

The wheels have come off the Bees’ promotion bandwagon in the past few games, with three points coming in the past four games and Saturday’s trip to Reading could end hopes once and for all.

Promotion odds: 33/1
Verdict: Eighth

A 1-1 draw with Ipswich means that Wanderers have the proverbial mountain to climb and Kenny Jackett has accepted that Wolves will need a minor miracle to get into the play-offs. The Midlands side may leapfrog Brentford but they’re set for an unlucky seventh spot.

Promotion odds: 40/1
Verdict: Seventh

Watford – Middlesbrough straight forecast @ 11/2 with Sky Bet
Norwich City to win play-offs @ 3/1 with Sky Bet

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