Just two points separate 1st from 8th in the Championship table at the moment after the first eleven games of the season.
This looks set to be the closest run promotion race in years. Nottingham Forest look like the early favourites to win the title with Stuart Pearce in the manager’s hot seat, they have started the season in the best form possible, looking the most likely that they have done for quite a while to make the final push needed to gain promotion back to the top-flight.
Despite starting so well however they face some very stiff competition from all the other teams around them with Norwich and Watford tied on 21 points, the same as Forest. The Championship tends to be a very competitive league at the best of times, with any team that competes in it just as likely to gain promotion as they are to flirt with relegation. No fixture is a foregone conclusion these days, bottom of the table could easily give top of the table a good drubbing, making it one of the most open leagues in the country.
This season however seems to be even more competitive than usual and even though we are only 11 fixtures in, there is no team that has broken away from the pack and given themselves any breathing space at the top of the table. If any of the top eight teams drop any points, then there are many others in place to leap frog them.
Forest look the most likely to break away from the rest of the casing pack as they are yet to lose a game in the Championship this season. They have however drawn the second most amount of games in the league, second only to Charlton who have drawn seven. If they are to push hard for the automatic promotion spot then they will have to ensure they can turn some of those draws into wins and keep their unbeaten run going, as inevitably at some point or another the teams around them will find it hard to keep as close to them as they currently are.
Norwich are another team that look to be getting it right so far as well, despite losing 2 games, they have a great goal difference of plus 11 at the moment and have only drawn three of their other games, meaning they have recorded one more victory than Forest so far and look to be another form team right now. Their ability to hit the net 21 times so far this season gives them a 2 goals average per game ratio which is far and beyond what is required statistically to ensure a final top two spot at the end of the season.
Out of the remainder of the teams that are so close to the top of the table at the moment it seems to be Derby that are doing well in the form tables with only one loss so far this season and 19 goals scored, however like Forest they are drawing a lot more games than they perhaps should be and they need to ensure that they can turn those one point games to three point games, and if they can continue in the same goal scoring vein then they should stand a good chance of being in with a shout come the end of the season.
All the teams currently in the mix do look like they could have a chance of getting promoted and it is impossible to pick any clear front runners at this stage. The table is looking too close for comfort and it will be an endurance test for the teams that are pushing to get in the top two come May to gain automatic promotion to the Premiership. There are still a lot of games to be played and it is not the sort of place for tt he faint hearted.
It will end up as close at the end of the season as it is now and an exciting prospect for any neutral. It should be quite the climax!