We have just passed the quarter mark on the season and it’s time to take a look at how the clubs are faring. This is the first of three installments covering each of the 24 clubs in the nPower Championship. I hope you will feel free to add your comments to each club.
First up? Queens Park Rangers. Neil Warnock has led QPR to the top of the table with 29 points and a goal difference of 21. Last weekend’s come-from-behind draw at Bristol City showed great spirit and the club has to be considered a favorite for promotion.
Even with QPR on points but behind in goal difference is Cardiff City. The high flying Welsh team is looking to roar into the Premier League next season led by recent loan signee and hometown product Craig Bellamy. Manager Dave Jones has his team looking strong after an impressive 4-0 win away to Leeds United.
Sitting third in the table is the other Welsh side playing in the league, Swansea City. With 23 points, but only a +5 goal difference, Swansea City has been inconsistent so far. They have put consecutive league wins together only once this season.
Also sitting in the playoff position at fourth is last year’s League One Champions Norwich City. Having spent only one year outside of the top two flights of English football in the last 50 years, Norwich City made wholesale changes to club management which saw them bounce right back and have them right in the mix for promotion to the Premier League. They are even with Swansea City on points with 23 and only one behind in goal difference.
At fifth is Watford on 21 points and +7 goal difference. A club with pedigree going back almost 130 years, and even playing in the UEFA Cup in 1983, Watford has struggled to stay at the highest level, having been promoted to the Premier League and bounced right back the following season twice in the last ten years. Watford’s fine run of form came to an end at home in a 2-0 loss to Scunthorpe United. Watford will look to get back on track away to Derby County this weekend.
Coventry City is currently holding the final promotion playoff spot even with Watford on points but with only a +4 goal difference. A 3-0 defeat of visitors Barnsley this past Saturday saw Coventry City climb into the sixth spot, although it took the entire 90 minutes to put away a struggling Barnsley side.
Burnley is just one point off of a playoff spot, relinquishing that spot due to a 4-0 defeat at home to Reading. With a trip this weekend to top of the table QPR, Burnley must be looking for at least a point, as there are several teams right behind them in the table.
The team immediately behind them in the table, and our final club for this first article is Reading. They are the first of four clubs with 19 points and lead that pack due to their +7 goal difference. The aforementioned 4-0 win on the road at Burnley propelled them to shouting distance of a playoff spot. Hosting Doncaster this weekend, another of the clubs on 19 points, could help clear up the logjam a little.
Your comments are welcome and encouraged. I read about these clubs, watch highlights when I can, and occasionally get to see the actual matches, but your opinions count at least as much as mine. What do you think about these eight clubs?