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Thursday 26 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
# Permutations
Thrilling finale in store for Irish players in the race for the Premier League
One of West Bromwich Albion, Brentford or Fulham will be promoted to the English top flight this evening.

LAST UPDATE | Jul 22nd 2020, 8:34 AM

l34My136 PA Images Callum Robinson, Harry Arter, Dara O'Shea and Cyrus Christie are in the promotion race. PA Images

LEEDS UNITED MAY have sealed their place in the Premier League with two games to spare, but the race to fill the Championship’s other automatic promotion spot has gone right down to the wire.

Several clubs are still in contention to get out of English football’s second tier, while the battle to stay in it is set to be equally gripping when the 2019-20 campaign concludes this evening.

As is customary for the final round of fixtures, all 12 games will kick-off at the same time – 7.30pm. Sky Sports Football will broadcast live coverage of the meeting of West Bromwich Albion and Queens Park Rangers, while Brentford’s clash with Barnsley will be available to watch on Sky Sports Mix.

The second automatic promotion place will be filled by either West Brom, Brentford or Fulham. Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City are well-positioned to claim the two remaining play-off berths, but Swansea City aren’t out of the running just yet.

At the other end of the table, the situation is slightly more complicated. Seven teams, including crisis-hit Wigan Athletic, are at risk of finishing in the bottom three.

The Promotion Race

TOP Sky Bet Championship Sky Bet Championship

WEST BROMWICH ALBION (2nd place, 82 points)

What they need: Slaven Bilic’s side, who host Queens Park Rangers, will go up if they match or better Brentford’s result against Barnsley. Nevertheless, Bilic will be delivering a simple message to his players: win, and you’re a Premier League team.

Irish involvement: Senior international Callum Robinson (on loan from Sheffield United) and U21 international Dara O’Shea.

BRENTFORD (3rd place, 81 points)

What they need: For automatic promotion, Brentford need to win at home to Barnsley and hope that West Brom fail to beat QPR. A draw would also suffice if West Brom are defeated. Otherwise they’ll have to negotiate the play-offs in their bid to reach the top tier of English football for the first time since 1947.

Irish involvement: None in the squad, although their assistant first-team coach is former U21 international Kevin O’Connor.

FULHAM (4th place, 80 points)

What they need: A win away to Wigan Athletic is essential if Fulham are to achieve automatic promotion instead of having to settle for the play-offs. Even at that, they’ll also require West Brom losing to QPR and Brentford failing to overcome Barnsley.

Irish involvement: Senior internationals Harry Arter (on loan from Bournemouth) and Cyrus Christie.

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NOTTINGHAM FOREST (5th place, 70 points)

What they need: A point at home to Stoke City will see Nottingham Forest safely through to the play-offs, regardless of what happens elsewhere. Should they lose, however, and if Swansea City win at Reading, Forest could be in trouble depending on the impact the scorelines have on goal difference.

Irish involvement: Moroccan-born attacking midfielder Yassine En-Neyah, who was raised in Dublin, has yet to feature in the Championship but made his first-team debut against Chelsea in the FA Cup back in January.

CARDIFF CITY (6th place, 70 points)

What they need: The same permutations apply to Cardiff City, who are slightly more susceptible to being overtaken by their Welsh rivals. Three points separate the teams at present, but Cardiff’s goal difference is only one better than Swansea’s. Cardiff entertain struggling Hull City.

Irish involvement: Senior international Greg Cunningham is recovering from a cruciate knee ligament injury sustained while on loan at Blackburn Rovers, and U19 international Aaron Bolger is progressing with the club’s U23 side.

SWANSEA CITY (7th place, 67 points)

What they need: Nothing less than a win will keep Swansea City in play-off contention. Victory in Reading, coupled with favourable results in Nottingham and/or Cardiff, could push them into the top six.

Irish involvement: None.

The Relegation Battle

Bottom Sky Bet Championship Sky Bet Championship

There’s also plenty to play for at the bottom, where Irish senior internationals like James Collins (Luton Town), Josh Cullen, Aiden McGeady (both on loan at Charlton Athletic), Scott Hogan (on loan at Birmingham City) and Anthony Pilkington (Wigan Athletic) are all in danger of experiencing relegation.

The current standings might suggest that Wigan could still finish the season in the top half of the table, but having recently gone into administration, the Latics may also find themselves playing in League One next season.

With a 12-point deduction due to come into effect once tonight’s games have been played, Paul Cook’s side must defeat Fulham and hope that either Charlton Athletic or Luton Town fail to win in their respective games against Leeds United and Blackburn Rovers.

Otherwise, the 2013 FA Cup winners will be relying on the outcome of an appeal if they’re to avoid being one of the three sides condemned to the drop.

Tonight’s Championship fixtures (7.30pm)

  • Birmingham City v Derby County 
  • Brentford v Barnsley
  • Bristol City v Preston North End 
  • Cardiff City v Hull City 
  • Leeds United v Charlton Athletic 
  • Luton Town v Blackburn Rovers 
  • Millwall v Huddersfield Town 
  • Nottingham Forest v Stoke City 
  • Reading v Swansea City 
  • Sheffield Wednesday v Middlesbrough 
  • West Bromwich Albion v Queens Park Rangers
  • Wigan Athletic v Fulham

Play-off semi-finals

  • First leg: 6th vs 3rd – Sunday 26 July, 6.30pm
  • Second leg: 3rd vs 6th – Wednesday 29 July, 7.45pm
  • First leg: 5th vs 4th – Monday 27 July, 7.45pm
  • Second leg: 4th vs 5th – Thursday 30 July, 7.45pm

Play-off final

  • Wembley: Tuesday 4 August, 7.45pm

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