By Craig Jones, May 17, 2020
The Championship season is currently at a standstill. Clubs are waiting to find if they are able to finish the season with the likes of Leeds and West Brom are still hoping for promotion to the Premier League while those at the bottom are desperately trying to survive.
How the future will turn out is of course unknown, but what has happened so far is has shaped where we are today.
Here are five key moments so far season.
Fulham began the season as favourites for promotion back up to the Premier League, where they had just been relegated from.
They travelled to face Barnsley, a team promoted from League One, and a chance to get off to the perfect start.
However, this match epitomises what has happened to Fulham so far this season. They’ve looked ok without being spectacular and fallen short most of the way.
Luke Thomas’s powerful 13th minute strike ensured Fulham were beaten here and anyone who saw the game would say that the performance on the field that day shows why Fulham may well fall just short of promotion this season.
Currently top of the table, Leeds United were another team with a huge amount of focus on them at the start of this season. After coming so close to promotion last season and failing, could they bounce back?
The first game is always an important one for teams like Leeds, who have a hangover from the season before. But the Whites found it easy, going away to Bristol City and won 3-1.
Pablo Hernandez, Patrick Bamford and Jack Harrison all found the back of the net on opening day and the Elland Road side reminded everyone who needed it, what a quality outfit they really are. If you needed to know, yes, Leeds United were genuine promotion contenders again.
The first glimpse that Championship fans got of Wayne Rooney in the league was when Derby hosted Barnsley in January. The game was on TV, and many were impressed by Rooney’s ability to control play from midfield.
This was right in the middle of a good run for Derby, which resulted in five wins and two draws from eight games.
The former England international clearly had a big impact on the club and pushed them up the table. The playoffs are still a possibility for Derby, who are currently in 12th position but only 5 points off 6th place.
Should they get there then a huge reason for that would be the influence that Rooney has had on the team. While he has put in a number of quality performances the ex-Man United super star is clearly an inspiration to others in the dressing room, bringing belief to The Rams at a time they needed it.
Brentford are a small club in comparison to some of their Championship rivals but are in the midst of a great season. A spell of five games in February could come back to haunt them though if they fail to get promotion.
The club currently sit in 4th spot, 10 points away from automatic promotion. However, had they performed better during this period, things could have looked a whole lot better.
Five games resulted in four draws and one loss. Their loss came to relegation struggling Luton and the draws included games they really should have won.
Add a couple of wins to their total here and Brentford would be in contention for automatic promotion and with a much tighter grip of their playoff spot.
After a dip in form gave Leeds fans the jitters the club’s resurgence started here with another victory over Bristol City.
Prior to this fixture Leeds had won just twice from 11 games over the busy Christmas and New Year period. If that had continued for much longer they would have found themselves losing pace on the automatic promotion race.
However, like all good teams, Leeds found a way to battle and get a win on the board. This 1-0 victory wasn’t a pretty one, it certainly wasn’t Leeds at their best, but it was the start of a run that would put them back in control of the Championship.
This game was the first of five straight wins for Leeds, taking them up to the time when football was paused. They recorded a clean sheet in every single one of their games too, showing dominance against their opponents.
The break came at the wrong time for this club. Had things continued, they would have been in a strong position. If we restart, they come back in the same position of course, but lacking the momentum that had been built up.