It’s looking increasingly obvious who the two automatically promoted sides from this season’s Championship will be with both Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United enjoying a six-point lead over third-placed Huddersfield Town. Indeed these two teams have battled it out for top spot since early in the campaign and it looks as though the title battle could do right down to the wire.
Much clearly depends on their form over the next few weeks and with just nine games left to play, both the Seagulls and the Magpies will be eager to put some space between themselves and their main rivals. With Brighton facing a tricky away-day at Leeds, Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle United will be the more confident of the two given that they will be up against struggling Birmingham City on Saturday afternoon.
Gianfranco Zola’s men have been sliding down the Championship table following some dismal recent results and whilst they are some eight points above the relegation zone, they look in serious danger of being dragged into a battle against the drop given their recent performances. The West Midlands side managed a useful point at Cardiff City in their last outing but prior to this they lost two home games on the bounce. Indeed Birmingham’s last three outings at St Andrews have yielded no points whatsoever and this doesn’t bode well at all ahead of a home clash with the joint league leaders.
Nevertheless the Blues have been finding few problems finding the net of late and whilst we have no hesitation whatsoever in predicting a Newcastle United victory, we expect Zola’s men to at least score what will almost certainly be a purely consolatory goal along the way.