Tales from not-the Top Flight

As if this season could not get more depressing on a personal level, with Middlesbrough facing relegation from the Premier League, Newcastle have secured promotion back to the top flight at the first time of asking. The skunks/barcodes/toon were the favourites to win the whole division but sit five points behind Brighton with two to go. The seagulls were clearly still a bit hungover from their promotion celebrations as they lost 2-0 to Norwich on Friday Night. David Stockdale in particular needed to lay off the booze as both goals were credited to him when Alex Pritchard’s shots cannoned off him twice into his own net.

The play off race is getting very tense as well. 6th placed Fulham thrashed Huddersfield 4-1 at Craven Cottage to boost their play off hopes. Fulham are the form team in the Championship at the moment so this result will be key for their confidence and right now I’d make them favourites for the play offs. 7th placed Leeds need to get their act together however as they lost again to Burton leaving them 3 points behind Fulham. 4th placed Sheffield Wednesday picked up a home victory against Derby County while 3rd placed Reading lost away to struggling Nottingham Forest.

Forest’s 3-2 win puts them 3 points clear of the relegation zone and a return to League One looks less and less likely. QPR, Burton Albion and Bristol City could all mathematically still be relegated but that is incredibly unlikely. Rotherham of course are already down after collecting just 21 points this season and following a 0-0 draw with Cardiff, Wigan are basically down as they are 6 points adrift with two games to go.

Blackburn Rovers are 22nd with 45 points following a 0-0 draw with Wolves. They are breathing down the neck of Birmingham City, who are two points above them in 21st place. This is of course Harry Redknapp’s Birmingham City who lost 1-0 to Aston Villa in the second city derby over the weekend. The goal in that game was scored by Gabby Agbonlahor, who hasn’t scored a goal since 2009. ‘Arry’s lot are in real trouble with their last two fixtures at home to Huddersfield and away to Bristol City. It will go down to the wire as to whether the Blues can stay up.

Down in League One Champions Sheffield United are on the verge of re-signing former player Ched Evans. For legal reasons I will not go any further into that one. The second automatic spot has come down to the wire as Bolton find themselves two points ahead of Fleetwood. Both teams have winnable home fixtures next weekend, which is the last round of League One games by the way so keep an eye on those. The play off race will also come down to the final day. With one of Bolton/Fleetwood definitely joined by Scunthorpe and Bradford, Millwall’s place could be taken by either Southend or Rochdale.

Down the bottom Coventry and Chesterfield are long gone but Tim Sherwood’s Swindon Town got relegated this week despite the fact Swindon didn’t mention this in their match report. Port Vale are also in real trouble and if they don’t win their game in hand against Walsall tonight they are relegated.

In League Two there are still two rounds of fixtures left and the play off race is wide open. The automatic promotion race isn’t however as Doncaster, Plymouth and Portsmouth are all heading up. In the relegation battle it is a sad end to a 100+ year stay in the Football League for Leyton Orient who have been relegated mainly due to horrendous mismanagement. The other relegation spot is occupied by Hartlepool who sacked their manager Dave Jones following a plea by Sky Sports pundit and Hartlepool fan Jeff Stelling. Unbelievable indeed. Pools are two points from safety an have two games to turn things around.

That’s all for this week and if you have any other Football League stories we’ve missed out on then let us know.