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Automatic Promotion - Who Wants A Slice Of The Premier Pie?

The most expensive game of the football season is the Championship play-off final. It's the one game with the greatest prize money in football. And yet, it is a game that some teams desperately want to avoid playing in. For those teams hunting automatic promotion, the play-offs represent a lottery they would prefer not to be involved in. For most of this season two teams have stood out as the most likely to fill the two automatic promotion places on offer. Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion have dominated the Championship league table for nearly six months now. No other team has occupied either of the two automatic promotion places since mid October.

For the majority of the season, very few would have bet against Newcastle and Brighton taking the austomatic promotion place. They are still the favourites to do so. Check any betting site, such as, and you will see that all of the bookies are still reckoning on a Newcastle and Brighton top two finish. However, it is far from straight forward. Recent form suggests that nerves are setting in and form is being affected. Those looking to chance their arm on an outsider may well be in with a chance of cashing in on a surprise finish. So who will finish in the top two places? Will Newcastle and Brighton hold on, or will one of them be pipped by Huddersfield - or even Leeds United?

At this stage of the season it has less to do with who you are playing against than it does with how you are playing. Form matters. Newcastle currently top the table with eight games to go. One point ahead of Brighton, they have lost only one of their last 12 games. However, look at the form tables and they are not even in the top half. Over their last six games they have picked up only 2 wins - ironically away to two of their rivals, Brighton and Huddersfield. Newcastle also appear to have an advantage in that five of their remaining eight games are at home. That could be a poisoned chalice though. Newcastle's home form has been surprisingly poor. The expectant nature, and nerves, of the home support is proving to be an extra burden on the Magpies.  

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