Winners & losers from gameweek 38 in the Championship

Winners & losers from gameweek 38 in the Championship

It’s only taken 38 rounds of matches but it looks like we might finally have two frontrunners for promotion in this season’s Championship.

Both Norwich and Watford look well placed to book their ticket back to the Premier League, but apart from that there’s absolutely nothing you could confidently predict with just eight games of the season to go for most teams.

The race for the play-offs is still wide open and most of the bottom half will be looking nervously over their shoulders with Rotherham holding about 39 games in hand following numerous coronavirus-caused postponement.

Every round of matches seems to get more and more important as we edge into the home straight, so here’s your winners and losers from gameweek 38 of the Championship.

Sheffield Wednesday picked up a very surprise win over BarnsleySheffield Wednesday picked up a very surprise win over Barnsley
Sheffield Wednesday picked up a very surprise win over Barnsley | Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Without their six-point deduction, Sheffield Wednesday would actually be out of the relegation zone after their huge win over Barnsley on Saturday.

Very few people gave the Owls a chance against the league’s form side, but two goals from Jordan Rhodes handed them a massive three points, with Carlton Morris’ late consolation just a minor blotch on a superb away performance.

Darren Moore’s men still have plenty of work to do if they’re to avoid slipping into the third tier for the first time since 2012, but they’ve at least given themselves a chance.

If there’s one team you would have banked on not getting beat at the weekend it would have been Swansea.

Steve Cooper’s side just don’t do back-to-back defeats, and having lost to Bournemouth last time out you’d have expected them to bounce back at home to rivals Cardiff.

Aiden Flint’s first goal of the season was enough to hand Mick McCarthy’s side the derby win, and with Watford winning against Birmingham, Cooper’s side are now six points off an automatic promotion place.

With games in hand over all the teams around them, Rotherham’s plight isn’t actually as bad as it looks, but they need to start picking up wins otherwise those games in hand will be pointless.

The Millers travelled to a Bristol City side who’ve looked better in recent weeks since the arrival of Nigel Pearson, but there was nothing the former Leicester manager could do to stop the visitors notching a vital win.

Michael Smith’s strike on the stroke of half-time handed Paul Warne’s men the advantage before Richard Wood secured the victory late on.

Rotherham are now just three points from safety with four games in hand.

Lee Bowyer's tenure as Birmingham City boss got off to the worst possible startLee Bowyer's tenure as Birmingham City boss got off to the worst possible start
Lee Bowyer’s tenure as Birmingham City boss got off to the worst possible start | Alex Morton/Getty Images

Birmingham were heading for relegation under the stewardship of Aitor Karanka, so a new manager represents fresh hope and the possibility of that new-manager bounce.

Lee Bowyer saw an instant response from his team as they won his first game in charge against Reading – but it soon wore off.

In fairness to Bowyer, there aren’t many tougher assignments in the Championship than a trip to Watford, but with so few games to go every outing is crucial for them now.

Goals from Ken Sema, Nathaniel Chalobah and Andre Gray ensured it was a miserable second game in charge for the former Charlton man, and if Rotherham win any of their games in hand Birmingham are in big trouble.

Watford strengthened their grip on second place with a win over BirminghamWatford strengthened their grip on second place with a win over Birmingham
Watford strengthened their grip on second place with a win over Birmingham | Alex Morton/Getty Images

Speak of the devils.

It’s been nip and tuck in the race for the second automatic promotion spot all season, with Brentford, Swansea and Watford all taking turns to decide they didn’t want it.

Both the Bees and the Swans failed to pick up maximum points from their respective weekend outings, meaning Xisco’s side’s win over Birmingham gives them a lovely six-point cushion between them and third place.

It’s Watford’s to throw away from here.

Valerien Ismael's Barnsley's 12-game unbeaten league run came to an end against Sheffield WednesdayValerien Ismael's Barnsley's 12-game unbeaten league run came to an end against Sheffield Wednesday
Valerien Ismael’s Barnsley’s 12-game unbeaten league run came to an end against Sheffield Wednesday | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

Having gone nearly three years without defeat (it’s not been that long, but it’s felt like it), Valerien Ismael’s Barnsley have finally lost a game.

The Tykes had won nine and drawn three of their last 12 outings – an unbelievable run that catapulted them into the play-off mix – but defeat to a struggling Sheffield Wednesday side might well be the start of a collapse.

If Ismael’s men can regroup and pick up points from their next few games then they should secure a place in the top six, but there’s always that worry that now their run has come to an end the wheels could begin to fall off.

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