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Championship tips and predictions: Hull make top six, surprise play-off winner

Join Planet Sport as we predict who will make the top six and who will win the play-offs in the Championship.

Six-and-a-half weeks of action are left in the Championship season with Leeds, Leicester, Ipswich and Southampton still in with a chance of automatic promotion.

There will be countless twists and turns on the pitch but that doesn’t stop fans of each club going into meltdown off of it.

A requirement of supporting Leeds is to have a sense of impending doom at all times, while Leicester fans have gone from shouting about points records to checking they’re safe.

Southampton deserve some sympathy for going 21 matches unbeaten and finding themselves nine points off the pace, but this Saints fan did see a three-horse race coming…

We can’t think of anything mean to say about the Tractor Boys, but if they keep up this level of success, they’ll have plenty of jealous hate coming their way.

Equally fascinating is the scrap for the top six with two teams sure to be a part of the playoffs and any two others from seven still in with a reasonable chance.

 

The Contenders

West Brom are eight points clear of seventh-placed Hull and are one of the form teams with four wins and two draws in their last six.

Their straight-forward fixture list may mean Norwich, Hull, Coventry, Preston, Middlesbrough and Cardiff are left to scrap it out for sixth.

The Welsh side have won four of five and will surely struggle, but Hull were among our pre-season tips and could make the cut.

It’s worth noting that City, Cov, and the Lilywhites have a game in hand.

Middlesbrough were falling apart for a while but look to have rediscovered their previous winning form under Michael Carrick.

 

Key fixtures

Every point matters, but winning a six-pointer at this stage of the season could be like landing a knockout blow.

West Brom face five teams from the bottom half, including two in the relegation zone, and should be able to capitalise.

Norwich face Preston with four games to go but must tangle with Leicester and rivals Ipswich first.

Hull have drawn the short straw with Leeds, Leicester, Cardiff, Middlesbrough and Coventry in their final nine games.

Notably, the Sky Blues face those first three sides along with Hull and a distracting date at Wembley with Manchester United.

We’ve included Preston because they’re only five points behind, but they wouldn’t be our first choice and they face four of the top six in their final five.

Boro face five of the promotion-chasing pack plus they host a Sheffield Wednesday side battling relegation. They need to find an extra point per game than four teams above them.

Last but not least, Cardiff are well off the pace but they’ve won four of five, beating two rivals and upsetting Ipswich, and they face a trio of six-pointers where they could make up ground.

 

Suggested bets

West Brom to be promoted

 

West Brom are unbeaten in nine of 13 against the current top six plus Hull and Coventry. As things stand they could meet Southampton, and although they’ve lost twice, the Saints record against the top half is poor.

 

Hull City top six finish

 

We picked Hull at the start of the season and we’re sticking with them. Norwich vs Ipswich and Hull vs Leeds are fascinating play-off possibilities, but we think the Tigers can take advantage of their strong away form and face a host of teams who may have nothing to play for.

 

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