Championship Clubs' Chances of Promotion to the Premier League - Ranked

The Championship is a notoriously tough division to escape from and this season has been no exception.

Heading into the restart, the two automatic promotion spots look to be locked up, but there are no less than 11 teams still battling for the four playoff spots, including eight sides separated by just six points.

The run-in promises to be full of more of the same excitement we are lucky enough to be treated to every season, so here's a breakdown of the sides with the best chance of making it to the Premier League.

13. Derby County (51 points)

Derby have some tricky fixtures ahead

Toughest Fixtures: Millwall (a), West Brom (a)
Key Player: Chris Martin

Derby are already facing an uphill battle to get into the playoffs, and judging by their remaining fixtures, they might be waiting until next year to seal promotion.

Seven of their remaining nine fixtures will come against teams above them in the table, including five of the current top six sides. It's not looking good.

12. Swansea City (53 points)

Swansea have a tough end to the season

Toughest Fixtures: Millwall (a), Nottingham Forest (a)
Key Player: Andre Ayew

Currently sitting 11th and three points behind the playoffs are Swansea City, who will have some good chances to climb a little higher in the coming weeks as they come up against Middlesbrough and Luton Town.

They will meet two other sides in the bottom ten, but the Swans will endure a tricky final few games as they face three of the top seven. The gap looks like it'll be too big this year.

11. Cardiff City (54 points)

Cardiff must overcome some challenging fixtures in the first few weeks of the restart

Toughest Fixtures: Leeds (h), Bristol City (a)
Key Player: Sean Morrison

Two tough fixtures against Leeds and Preston will make for a nervy start for Cardiff, but they should still have enough about them to at least stay in the race for a playoff spot.

It could all come down to whether they can avoid defeat against the big boys - Leeds, Preston, Fulham and Bristol City - but that's easier said than done.

10. Blackburn Rovers (53 points)

Blackburn need to bounce back from a poor run of form before the break

Toughest Fixtures: Leeds (h), Cardiff (a)
Key Player: Adam Armstrong

have some fixtures which look like guaranteed victories and others which look like near certain losses. When you're already behind in the promotion race, that's not ideal.

Rovers were on a tricky run of form - three draws and a defeat - before football was postponed, so they'll have that slump to overcome as well.

9. Queens Park Rangers (50 points)

QPR have a favourable run of fixtures

Toughest Fixtures: Fulham (h), Millwall (h)
Key Player: Eberechi Eze

One of the most intriguing storylines of the Championship could involve QPR. They might be down in 13th, but they have perhaps the kindest run of fixtures remaining.

They will face six of the current bottom ten, with only Fulham, West Brom and Millwall likely to cause much concern as the season wraps up.

QPR will be feeling good, but there may yet be too much ground to make up.

8. Bristol City (55 points)

Bristol City must be consistent if they are to get promoted

Toughest Fixtures: Nottingham Forest (a), Swansea (a)
Key Player: Niclas Eliasson

Like many others on this list, the rest of seventh-placed Bristol City's fixtures are a real mixed bag.

Nottingham Forest, Cardiff, Swansea and Preston will all be out to cause major problems, but Sheffield Wednesday, Hull, Middlesbrough and Stoke probably won't be.

Consistency (often a rare thing in the Championship) will be the key.

7. Millwall (54 points)

Millwall will be confident of winning a lot of points in their upcoming games

Toughest Fixtures: Charlton (a), QPR (a)
Key Player: Jed Wallace

Don't take your eyes off Millwall. They're currently eighth but could be far higher when the season comes to a close.

Gary Rowett's men are currently ahead of all of their upcoming opponents in the table, although not all of their games are guaranteed wins. There are potential six-pointers against Derby, Swansea, QPR and Blackburn which could go a long way towards deciding things.

6. Preston North End (56 points)

Preston North End must battle to hold on to sixth

Toughest Fixtures: Nottingham Forest (h), Bristol City (a)
Key Player: Daniel Johnson

Can Preston - who have not been in the top flight since 1961 - hold on to sixth spot for a playoff berth?

They have some comfortable-looking games against some of the league's bottom half, but meetings with Nottingham Forest, Bristol City and Brentford could decide the Lilywhites' fate.

5. Nottingham Forest (60 points)

Nottingham Forest already have a comfortable cushion in the play-off race

Toughest Fixtures: Derby (a), Swansea (a)
Key Player: Lewis Grabban

Blessed with a four-point cushion and a relatively comfortable fixture list, Nottingham Forest (currently fifth) will already have one eye on the play-offs.

A lot of their fixtures will come against mid-table sides or those in a relegation battle, and despite tough tests against Fulham, Bristol City and Preston, Forest should be alright.

4. Brentford (60 points)

Brentford must get past West Brom & Fulham

Toughest Fixtures: Fulham (a), West Brom (h)
Key Player: Ollie Watkins

Nobody has a tougher start to their remaining fixtures than Brentford, who must get past West Brom and Fulham before they can focus on racking up points.

Fortunately, after that, the Bees have some comfortable games, including three of the bottom five, so they should have enough about them to make it through to the playoffs at least.

3. Fulham (64 points)

Fulham will hope to have done enough already

Toughest Fixtures: Leeds (a), West Brom (a)
Key Player: Aleksandar Mitrovic

Even with a tricky run of fixtures coming up, to see Fulham drop from a comfortable third to seventh would be a major shock.

The Cottagers might not get third, especially since they have to face Leeds, West Brom and Brentford, but they've probably done enough hard work to book a spot in the playoffs already - where they have recent experience.

2. West Bromwich Albion (70 points)

West Brom are well in the race for the league title

Toughest Fixtures: Brentford (a), Fulham (h)
Key Player: Matheus Pereira

Automatic promotion shouldn't be a problem for West Brom. They're comfortably in second and will be confident of avoiding defeat in any of their remaining fixtures.

In terms of their title hopes, Brentford and Fulham might have something to say about that, and there are a few other sides who will be going all-in in search of victory.

It's nothing too problematic, but still a challenge which cannot be overlooked.

1. Leeds United (71 points)

Leeds are the favourites to win the title

Toughest Fixtures: Fulham (h), Blackburn (a)
Key Player: Kalvin Phillips

Sitting pretty in the top spot are Leeds, who will know that automatic promotion is a near-certainty and the league title should follow suit.

On paper, their only real test looks to be Fulham, and with all of the bottom three left to face, Marcelo Bielsa's men can probably start preparing for life in the Premier League.

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Source : 90min