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06.05.2018 15:40
rs. The Nationals will start Stephen Stra Antworten

Who is going to win promotion from the Championship? We look at the contenders and get expert analysis from Danny Higginbotham. With just over a month of the season to go, theres still little to separate the sides competing for the top six places, and the race hots up with a full schedule of matches on Tuesday night.Former Stoke, Southampton and Sunderland defender Higginbotham looks over the sides gunning for automatic promotion and gives his take on the play-off race... Its tight at the top with the end of the season on the horizon BurnleySean Dyches side have soared to the top of the table on the back of an unbeaten run in the league that stretches back to Boxing Day. They may have a potentially decisive home clash with Middlesbrough on April 19. Burnley currently lead the way in the Championship Remaining fixtures: Cardiff (h), Leeds (h), Birmingham (a), Middlesbrough (h), Preston (a), QPR (h), Charlton (a).Last six results (most recent first): DDWWWWHIGGINBOTHAMS VERDICT: I think they are the best equipped side, they can mix it more than any of the other teams. I did their game against Brentford a couple of months ago and they were incredible in the first half.Some people would say they were fortunate against Brighton at the weekend but they got a last-minute equaliser and that shows they dont know when they are beaten. That is so important for teams at the top of the league. Burnley were denied a goal in their top-of-the-table clash against Brighton They have Andre Gray, the highest goalscorer in the league, and they are on a phenomenal run. Sean Dyche has been there and done it and they have 15 players who have been promoted from the Championship so they have plenty of know-how too.MiddlesbroughBoro have recovered from defeats at relegation-threatened Rotherham and Charlton with victories over Hull and QPR to boost their automatic promotion hopes. They could be level on points with leaders Burnley if they win their game in hand. Middlesbrough have a game in hand on most of their rivals Remaining fixtures: Huddersfield (h), Preston (h), Reading (h), Bolton (a), Burnley (a), Ipswich (h), Birmingham (a), Brighton (h).Last six results: WWLLWLHIGGINBOTHAMS VERDICT: Their biggest problem has been against the teams that are lower down the table like Rotherham and Charlton. Aitor Karanka wants to be defensively strong but you look at the players they have going forward like Downing, Stuani, Rhodes and Nugent, they are so impressive.I think he should allow them to play with a bit more freedom. We saw that against QPR when they got three goals and there was a point in the second half where they looked untouchable and absolutely fantastic. Middlesbrough boosted their promotion hopes with a 3-2 win at QPR on Friday It will be interesting to see how they go because they havent got much experience of getting promoted. We saw what happened last season (when they lost in the play-off final), but no doubt if they can keep things going like they did against QPR they will be up there because of the players they have in the team.BrightonThe Seagulls have lost the fewest games in the Championship - five - but have drawn 15 times, a record only matched by QPR. They finish the season with games against Derby and Middlesbrough. Brighton are challenging for automatic promotion Remaining fixtures: Birmingham (a), Nottingham Forest (a), Fulham (h), QPR (h), Charlton (a), Derby (h), Middlesbrough (a).Last six results: DWWDDWHIGGINBOTHAMS VERDICT: Everybody keeps writing them off, but you cant go on the runs they have had without thinking they can go the distance. Their problem last season was too many loans, but they have a lot more permanent players now so there is more togetherness and Chris Hughton has tweaked the system which has been very important. Watch highlights of the clash between Brighton and Burnley They would prefer to have more wins under their belt, but I dont think they will go anywhere. There is the least pressure on them in the top six, they havent spent much money and there wont be big expectations around Brighton.HullA 4-0 victory over Bristol City at the weekend was welcome relief for Hull after a five-match winless run in the league. They have a game in hand on most of their promotion rivals and six of their last eight matches are against teams in the bottom half. Steve Bruce has won promotion from the Championship before Remaining fixtures: Derby (a), Huddersfield (a), Wolves (h), Reading (a), Leeds (h), Brentford (h), Bolton (a), Rotherham (h).Last six results: WLDDLDHIGGINBOTHAMS VERDICT: Steve Bruce has a lot of experience in the team and I think they could get automatic promotion. They have players who can score and defensively they are very experienced. Hull returned to winning ways with a convincing victory over Bristol City Steve has done it before, but the pressure is on them. Having come down from the Premier League there is huge pressure on them to be successful. They do have goals in the side but havent scored much recently - before Saturday they had only scored two or more in one of their previous 10 games, so Steve will want that to improve.Getting out of leagues is all about scoring goals, defences keep you in the league, to get out you want goalscorers.Who else will make play-offs and wholl miss out? While Sheffield Wednesday and Derby currently occupy the final play-off places, they have Cardiff and Ipswich hot on their heels, with Birmingham and Preston a bit further back. Derby have won just two of their last six matches while Sheffield Wednesday have won their last three to enhance their play-off hopes. Higginbotham thinks Cardiff could challenge for a top-six finish HIGGINBOTHAMS VERDICT: I still think Burnley and Hull will get automatic promotion but Cardiff are on a fantastic run and they could challenge for a top-six place. Birmingham will still believe with a game in hand and Derby could be the ones that really suffer because of that. I fancy Boro to go one better than last year and get to the play-off final and put the heartache behind them. If they do end up in the play-offs I think they could be successful this time. English football permutations What could happen this week across the leagues? Betting Burnley and Middlesbrough are unsurprisingly Sky Bets favourites for the title at 5/6 and 6/4 respectively, while the duo are odds-on for promotion at just 1/7 and 2/9. Hull are considered the biggest threat to top spot at 8/1 despite needing to win their game in hand to catch third-placed Brighton, who are 14/1 to lift the trophy, while the rest of the league are all but dismissed.The Tigers are also shorter odds to go up at 5/6 to the Seagulls price of 6/4, while Derby (3/1) and Sheffield Wednesday (4/1) follow in the betting. As for those looking to break into the play-off places, Cardiff are the favourites to do so at 5/2 with the Football League sponsor and 16/1 for promotion, with Ipswich (15/2), Birmingham (18/1) and Preston (33/1) all up against longer odds for a top-six finish. We take a look at the on-loan players from Premier League clubs who impressed in the Football League last month. Who are you tipping for promotion to the Premier League? Leave a comment if youre reading on or tweet us @SkyFootball...Watch all the Championship goals as they go in Soccer Special from 7.30pm on Tuesday evening or follow our live blog on and via the Sky Sports apps. Also See: English football permutations WATCH: Football League goals Bruce frustrated after draw Blackburn 3-0 Fulham .C. - The Carolina Hurricanes have placed backup goalie Anton Khudobin on injured reserve with an unspecified lower-body injury. . The home side created most of the chances but struggled to break down Braunschweigs resilient defence, resulting in the Bundesligas 1,000th scoreless draw. . -- Bobby Ryan helped the U. . "Trying to breathe," he said with a grin. Bernier stopped 42 of 43 shots on Monday night, including all 22 in a hectic middle frame, his heroic performance propelling the Leafs toward an undue point in their final game before the Christmas break. . At a news conference Tuesday where it was thought that the fiery Schallibaum may be shown the door after a dismal finish to the Major League Soccer season, team president Joey Saputo said no decision has been made on whether the Swiss Volcano will be back in 2014. CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals will conclude their brief two-game series on Wednesday afternoon at Progressive Field. Both teams are struggling of late.Even with their dramatic 7-6 victory thanks to a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning in the first game of the series Tuesday, the Indians are just 5-5 in their last 10 games. The Nationals, meanwhile, have lost six of their last eight.Both teams have had slumping bullpens of late, and Washingtons bullpen turned a potential victory into a loss Tuesday as closer Jonathan Papelbon turned a 6-4 Nationals lead into a 7-6 Nationals loss.In his last two appearances, which have come in the Nationals last two games, both of them ninth inning losses, Papelbon has imploded. In those two games he has an 80.60 ERA, having allowed six earned runs, six hits and three walks in 2/3 of an inning.Papelbon has been so shaky that manager Dusty Baker was asked following the loss on Tuesday about whether he was contemplating making a change in the closers role going forward.Its too soon to say after the game, Baker said. Thats his job. Thats what hes getting paid for. We just have to go back to the drawing board.Papelbon said the last two games havent shaken his confidence.A couple of bad outings. Chalk it up to that, he said. Ive had them before in my career. In this game only the strong survive. Youve got to keep going. Thats how it works.Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see who Baker summons from the bullpen Wednesday if the Nationals have the leadd going into the ninth inning.ddddddddddddClevelands bullpen has also struggled over the last few weeks, to the point that the Indians and Nationals are both teams expected to be actively seeking relief help prior to Mondays trade deadline.The Indians would also like to get all-star outfielder Michael Brantley back in their lineup. Brantley hasnt played in a major league game since May 9, due to lingering issues from offseason surgery on his right shoulder. But Brantley is still out, and there is no timetable for his return.He wants desperately to play. So much so that hes almost apologizing for being out, manager Terry Francona said. But his shoulder hurts. Its not his fault.Wednesdays pitching matchup features two starters who are both having excellent years. The Nationals will start Stephen Strasburg, who is 13-1 with a 2.83 ERA this year. In two career starts vs. the Indians he is 1-1 with a 1.74 ERA.Strasburg is coming off his only loss of the season, a 6-3 loss to the Dodgers on July 21. In that game he gave up six runs and seven hits in six innings, although he did strikeout 10 and only walked one.Carlos Carrasco will start for the Indians. He will be making his 15th start of the season. He is 7-3 with a 2.31 ERA. In his last six starts, Carrasco is 5-1 with a 1.16 ERA and he has held opposing teams to a .149 batting average. Wednesday will be his first career appearance against Washington. 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