Promotion to the Premier League is one of most sought after prizes in football. As we head into the second-half of the season, the race is hotting up for the two automatic promotion places and a dream ticket to the Premier League.
Given the choice of automatic promotion or going through the lottery of the play-offs and a trip to Wembley. I’m sure many supporters may pick a day out at Wembley if there team was guaranteed of winning promotion. While I’m sure every manager would rather finish in the top two and have the extra time to prepare for the coming season in the Premier League.
Every team inside the top half of the Championship table will believe they have a chance of winning promotion via the top two if they can put together a run of positive results. We are going to look at the four main contenders for those two automatic promotion places.
Middlesbrough suffered relegation from the Premier League at the end of the 2008/09 season after eleven seasons in England’s top flight. Since that relegation Middlesbrough have struggled to challenge for a return to the Premier League until last season when they finished fourth and reached the play-off final. Where they lost 2-0 to Norwich City.
The North-East side bounced back from that disappointment and have been in the top six of the Championship table for the majority of the season. They currently sit on top of league, four points clear of Derby, who they beat 2-0 over the weekend. Middlesbrough are currently on an eight game unbeaten run, having not been defeated since early November and a 3-0 reverse against Hull City. Their campaign is being built on a strong defence and they haven’t conceded in the league since that defeat to Hull.
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