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Championship run-in: Crucial Easter weekend fixtures that could make or break Premier League hopes for Fulham, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough and Blackburn


Easter weekend is a time when football fans indulge in so much more than traditional chocolate eggs.

With the Premier League and FA Cup in full force, the EFL sees two matchdays in a four-day period that will make or break the season for so many.

The hunt for Premier League promotion is beautifully prepared

With between five and seven matches remaining, the image at the top of the table is absolutely insane.

Fulham and Bournemouth comfortably occupy the first and second positions in the Championship, knowing that six points from six will go a long way to confirming their place in the Premier League next year.

The Cottagers could even secure their place on Friday if Nottingham Forest lose to Luton and beat Derby County – live on talkSPORT 2.

For the seven clubs below the top two, it could be win or miss this weekend.

Huddersfield and the Tricky Trees look solid in third and fourth place but can certainly be caught by the chasing pack.

For those in between fifth and ninth, there are only four points separating the five teams, which means we are truly at the end of the season.

Championship matches on talkSPORT

Good Friday

Luton v Nottingham Forest – talkSPORT 2 (12.30pm)

Bournemouth v Middlesbrough – talkSPORT 2 (3pm)

Huddersfield v QPR – talkSPORT 2 (5.30pm)

Derby v Fulham – talkSPORT 2 (8 p.m.)

Easter Monday

Middlesbrough v Huddersfield – talkSPORT 2 (12.30pm)

Bristol City v Sheffield United – talkSPORT 2 (5.30pm)

Nottingham Forest v West Brom – talkSPORT 2 (8pm


One bad result would be a blow, two could be fatal as clubs seek to maintain their momentum to reach the promised land of the Premier League, but what is the lay of the pitch ahead of the four-day Easter football fest?

talkSPORT.com takes a look at the runners and runners in the promotion race ahead of the Easter weekend.

1. Fulham, 83 points

Derby (A), Friday April 15

Preston (H), Tuesday April 19

With six games to go, Fulham sit comfortably at the top of the tree.

With a 10-point lead over Bournemouth and a 14-point gap over third-placed Huddersfield, it’s a question of when, not if, they reclaim their Premier League place.

And if things go according to plan, we could see The Cottagers have their spot confirmed in the coming days.

Championship run-in: Crucial Easter weekend fixtures that could make or break Premier League hopes for Fulham, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough and Blackburn
Fulham are firmly on track to secure an immediate return to the Premier League
Getty

2. Bournemouth, 73 points

Middlesbrough (H), Friday April 15

Coventry (A), Monday April 18

After missing out on the play-offs last season, Bournemouth will be delighted with how their first season has gone under Scott Parker.

A four-point gap on the play-off places is a great advantage, while having two games in hand over third-placed Huddersfield means they have valuable leeway in their hunt for an automatic position.

A clash with Middlesbrough on Good Friday will be a big test of their credentials.

Championship run-in: Crucial Easter weekend fixtures that could make or break Premier League hopes for Fulham, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough and Blackburn
Scott Parker’s first season on the South Coast couldn’t have gone much better so far
Getty

3. Huddersfield, 69 points

QPR (H), Friday April 15

Middlesbrough (A), Monday April 18

It’s been a hell of a season for Huddersfield who started the campaign with aspirations of avoiding a relegation dogfight.

Carlos Corberan’s side have five games left to play and look reasonably comfortable with their play-off aspirations this season, particularly with back-to-back wins in their last two fixtures.

However, with some tricky games against QPR and Middlesbrough to come, we’ll likely see if they can close one of the four spots.

Championship run-in: Crucial Easter weekend fixtures that could make or break Premier League hopes for Fulham, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough and Blackburn
Huddersfield was one of the Championship’s surprise forfeits

4. Nottingham Forest, 67 points

Luton (A), Friday April 15

West Brom (H), Monday April 18

One of the stories of the season was that Forest had a wonderful time in both the Championship and the FA Cup.

Steve Cooper’s side are arguably the hottest team in the league right now and, frankly, they look unstoppable.

A clash with play-off rivals Luton will be a big test, while West Brom will also ensure Forest are on their game if they are to emerge from the Easter weekend with their play-off position still within reach.

Championship run-in: Crucial Easter weekend fixtures that could make or break Premier League hopes for Fulham, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough and Blackburn
Nottingham Forest was one of the stories of the season
Getty

5. Luton, 65 points

Nottingham Forest (H), Friday April 15

Cardiff City (A), Monday April 18

Another team that will pinch themselves to be involved in the play-off push.

Luton have exceeded expectations all season, but a three-match winless streak means fans are going to start to worry a bit.

Forest at home and a trip to Cardiff are tough for Nathan Jones’ side but if they are to be in the game they will need to beat the best.

Nathan Jones works miracles with Luton Town
Nathan Jones works miracles with Luton Town
Getty Images

6. Sheffield United, 65 points

Reading (H), Friday April 15

Bristol City (A), Monday April 18

It’s not the kind of season Bramall Lane supporters would have wanted after suffering relegation last season, but the Blades will be happy to be in the game for the play-offs.

Competition is fierce for a place in the top six, and with Reading and Bristol City coming up this weekend, they have arguably one of the easiest fixtures among the play-off candidates.

Nothing less than a top six finish will be enough for Sheffield United, and two good results are essential to achieve that.

Championship run-in: Crucial Easter weekend fixtures that could make or break Premier League hopes for Fulham, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough and Blackburn
The Blades have shown great solidarity to bounce back from a poor start to the season
Getty Images

7.Blackburn, 63 points

Peterborough (A), Friday April 15

Stoke City (H), Monday April 18

Tony Mowbray’s side have exceeded all expectations this term after overcoming the mid-table battle and pushing for promotion.

Blackburn are licking their lips at the prospect of returning to the Premier League, but three games without a win have taken them out of the top six.

With respect, the clashes with Peterborough and Stoke are quite generous and the Lancashire side will therefore hope to finish the weekend in the four play-off places.

Championship run-in: Crucial Easter weekend fixtures that could make or break Premier League hopes for Fulham, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough and Blackburn
Ben Brereton Diaz has been a massive player for Tony Mowbray’s side this term
Getty Images

8. Middlesbrough, 62 points

Bournemouth (A), Friday April 15

Huddersfield (D), Monday April 18

The appointment of Chris Wilder last year saw Middlesbrough go from mid-table to one of the most impressive sides in the play-off table.

Everything seemed to fall into place with free and easy results in recent weeks, but back-to-back defeats to Fulham and Hull City last season may have given fans a dose of reality.

There is serious work to be done for Middlesbrough if they are to earn a surprise play-off place, and with division rivals Bournemouth and Huddersfield it looks like they will have to do it the hard way if they are to avoid a fall. a way.

Championship run-in: Crucial Easter weekend fixtures that could make or break Premier League hopes for Fulham, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough and Blackburn
Middlesbrough will be hoping they can put in more performances in the big games this weekend

9. Millwall, 61 points

Preston (A), Friday April 15

Hull City (H), Monday April 18

Undoubtedly underdogs for the top six, but Millwall will be hoping to make a late charge for the play-offs.

Gary Rowett’s side are currently four points behind the top six, meaning there’s little room for error if they have to push late.

With matches against Preston and Hull to come, they will be hoping two strong results can propel them straight into the mix.

Championship run-in: Crucial Easter weekend fixtures that could make or break Premier League hopes for Fulham, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough and Blackburn
They are underdogs, but Millwall boss Gary Rowett hopes his side can stay in the play-off mix
Getty Images

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