Friday, April 12, 2013

10-year form chart, English Championship promotion contenders

Perhaps this year they can do it.

Maybe, just maybe, this is the year that Cardiff City can break their five-year playoff hoodoo and finally earn promotion to the Premier League.  Few would argue that they're deserving - the Bluebirds Dragons have finished thereabouts in English football's second tier for half a decade as well appearing at Wembley in FA and League Cup Finals - yet seem always to develop a flopsweat of Nixonian proportions during the season's most crucial weeks.

Cardiff and their rivals for automatic promotion - at this stage, mainly a rejuvenated Hull City and Gianfranco Zola's time-shared Watford squad - are without question the best three teams the Championship have to offer.  As an added bonus and in contrast to some other upstarts ascendent, all three should also have the resources to make a splash should they rise into the the Premiership, albeit through vastly different methods.

The peloton features PYTs of management, Gus Poyet and Dougie Freedman (whose current and ex-clubs find themselves in the chase).  It should come as no surprise that a surging Nottingham Forest - with their demonstrable playoff chops - find themselves firmly ensconced in fifth position.

Each team has its own narrative: Cardiff's collection of close misses, the Return of the King at Forest and even an Egyptian connection at Hull City made especially poignant by that country's recent football history.  The Premier League will be a richer - and more curious - league for their impending presence.

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