The final round of Championship fixtures takes place on Sunday and there is only one major issue left to be decided – who will join Leeds United, Aston Villa and West Brom in the play-off battle.
Norwich and Sheffield United have claimed the automatic promotion spots and the Canaries need just a point, or the Blades not to win, to claim the title.
Ipswich, Bolton and Rotherham have already been relegated and only Derby, Bristol City and Middlesbrough really have something left to play for as they bid to claim the last remaining place in the top six.
Derby currently hold sixth place on 71 points, Boro are next with 70 and Bristol City have 69.
The Rams could have all-but put the issue to bed on Wednesday night with a win at Swansea but they were held to a draw, and now all Derby have to do is equal or better their play-off rivals’ results to earn a chance at fighting it out for promotion.
Frank Lampard’s men host West Brom, Boro face a trip to Rotherham and the Robins are at Hull City.
Derby to win @ 10/11
The Rams know a win will guarantee their top six place and after missing their chance in Wales on Wednesday they won’t let the opportunity slip when they entertain Albion this weekend.
The Baggies could potentially leapfrog Leeds with a win but I expect their focus to have already shifted to the play-offs regardless.
Derby have the greater need for the win and have been strong at home all season with just three defeats in 22 games. Lampard’s side have won their last three at Pride Park – scoring 12 goals and conceding just one in the process – and they should be able to claim the three points they need when West Brom visit.
Rotherham v Middlesbrough draw with goals @ 7/2
Boro were battling for automatic promotion earlier in the campaign but their season has fizzled out and it may well end with a whimper this weekend.
Tony Pulis’ side have lost three of their last four away games and goals have been an issue all season – as with just 47 scored they have the worst attacking record in the top 15.
The Millers’ fate has already been sealed but we may see a reaction on Sunday regardless. Manager Paul Warne won’t accept anything less than maximum effort and Rotherham might be able to put at least one more point on the board.
A score draw looks a strong option and a 1-1 exact score bet appeals at 17/4. If news filters through that results are going against Boro their heads may well drop, and a double chance of Rotherham or draw at 11/10 could be the way to go if you’re looking for a safer option.
Bristol City @ 13/10
Bristol City need a win and both Derby and Boro to slip up if they are to gatecrash the top six. That may work in their favour in terms of getting the three points, and they can approach this game almost as a shot to nothing as big outsiders to claim a play-off spot.
Hull’s form has nosedived since their own promotion hopes were extinguished with just one point from the last 12 available. The Tigers have been good at home this year but they downed tools completely in a 3-0 loss to Sheffield United in their last outing at the KCOM Stadium.
The Robins have won eight of their last 13 away games and can grab the win they need to give themselves a chance to play-off football, even if that isn’t enough on the day.
Blackburn @ 27/20
Blackburn have enjoyed a solid season as they will finish comfortably in mid-table and they can round off the campaign with a win over Swansea in front of their own fans.
There is nothing at stake in this game, but Swansea played on Wednesday night so fatigue may be an issue for them after a long campaign.
Rovers lost at Norwich last time out but were in good form prior to that with four straight wins and they can finish on a high with three points on Sunday.
Reading win and both teams to score @ 15/4
Reading struggled against the drop for much of the season but improved when Jose Gomes took charge and ended up retaining their Championship status with room to spare.
The Royals entertain Birmingham in the final round and can claim a win in what could be an entertaining dead-rubber.
The Blues have struggled on the road with just three wins in their last 11 but goals haven’t necessarily been the issue as they have only failed to score in three of those games.
Both teams have scored in all four of Reading’s most recent home wins and we may well see another home win with goals at both ends in this end-of-season clash at the Madejski Stadium.
Brentford -1 @ 47/20
Brentford had the weekend off in the last round of fixtures as their game with Bolton Wanderers was called off and they can put on a show in front of their own fans when they take on Preston in their last home game.
As it stands, the Bees will have to play Wanderers in a re-arranged game at some point in the not too distant future but to all intents and purposes they will treat this as their last game.
North End have endured a miserable end to the season with five defeats in their last seven games. In three of those losses they’ve been beaten by at least a two-goal margin and Brentford can win with a one-goal handicap when these two sides meet at Griffin Park.
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