The EFL Championship may be a second tier league, but it is without question one of the most entertaining competitions in the footballing world. A 24 team division means a 46 game war of attrition from August through until May.
And that is before we factor in the lottery which is otherwise known as the play-offs. With this end of season format in place, it means that you can finish as low as sixth in the table and still reach the promised land of the Premier League.
A land that promises huge riches for the three teams that are fortunate enough to earn promotion and as always it is going to be an incredibly tight contest to see which trio of clubs say goodbye to their Championship counterparts.
At present it is Leeds who are top of the pile and under the stewardship of legendary Argentine manager Marcelo Bielsa it is the Elland Road outfit that are viewed by many as the club who will win this season’s edition of the competition.
A feeling that is reinforced when you look at the current Championship betting, bet365 have Leeds at 13/8 favourites to win the title, although in the same market Norwich are not far off at a price of 9/4.
Leeds and by extension their manager Marcelo Bielsa made headlines for all the wrong reasons recently, as they were embroiled in the now infamous ‘spy-gate’ scandal before a clash with Frank Lampard’s Derby County.
On first light it was assumed that this was Bielsea just giving Derby special treatment in terms of pre-match preparations. However, it soon emerged that all Leeds’ opposition this season have been paid a secret visit or two.
Whether Leeds bent or broke the rules is up for discussion and your opinion probably lies with whether you are a fan of the club or not. At the same time, this off-pitch subterfuge has done little to derail their promotion hopes.
They have been in a topsy-turvy battle with Norwich and Daniel Falke’s men recently passed up the opportunity to go back to the top when they were comfortably beaten by a mid-table Preston Athletic side.
And that win for The Lilywhites would have been all the sweeter when you consider that the man in charge of the club is former Norwich boss Alex Neil, while it results such as this that show just how difficult this league can be at times.
Although nothing is a certainty in football and especially not in the Championship, Leeds and Norwich have without doubt been the best two sides in the division and rightfully occupy the pair of automatic promotion spots that are on offer.
But should either side lose their head of steam at just wrong the time, then a whole host of clubs including the likes of Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion will be ready to pounce on their misfortune.
And of course, one cannot forget Bristol City who have won their last seven league outings. A run that has seen the club move into 5th in the table, if they keep this momentum going then it could well be the Robins who make a late promotion surge and reach the Premier League promised land.