After months of clean football and positive results the Championship season boils down to the remaining two matches. For some clubs it’s a difference between second and top tier football next season whilst those who aren’t drifting in mid tabled obscurity are fighting for their lives away from relegation at the other end.
Bristol City have fallen fowl of the relegation trap door and will play League One football next season regardless of what results they grind out of the two remaining but for those local to South Yorkshire there is a real battle going on involving Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday.
I am sure that there is a large pocket of Sheffield United fans who wish there dear rivals nothing but heartache and misery on 4 May but I personally couldn’t care less as long as the Blades to what they need to do. The Owls could secure their own safety if they win the teatime fixture at Peterborough United on Saturday but Barnsley could be left sweating after Blackburn Rovers in expectantly won at Millwall last night.
The Tykes are currently 23rd in the table and they face Hull City who may or may not need vital points to see them in the Premier League next term; promotion for them will be sealed if Watford fail to beat Leicester City on Friday night.
Since they were promoted to the Championship in 2006 the Oakwell club have virtually every season been cannon fodder and the ones who escape relegation at last breath, effectively they are the Wigan of the Championship. Last season there blushes were saved, but only by the 10 point deduction endured on Portsmouth and it was Pompey and not the Reds who were relegated.
There is of course the possibly that both the Tykes and the Owls cement there place in the second tier with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Peterborough and Huddersfield Town could slide into the bottom three and join Bristol whose fate is already sealed. Even Ipswich Town, 13th in the table could potentially fall due to their terrible goal difference but others around them who command a better GD should be safe.
On the final day of the season – should Barnsley still require points, they face Huddersfield Town in West Yorkshire; however they will have already played Bristol City this Saturday and assuming victory is there’s then the Reds will have needed to have beaten Hull. Wednesday are at home to Middlesbrough on the last day whilst Wolves have tough fixtures against Burnley and Brighton to follow.
Whatever happens this weekend it will no doubt prove to be more exciting the week after, but with Barnsley’s ‘plucky’ record in the survival stakes anything can happen but this year just might be there turn.