Nigel Clough has backed Luton Town to win promotion from League One this season, per the Derby Telegraph.
Luton are five points clear of Barnsley at the top of the table, and the Burton Albion boss believes they are perfectly positioned to make the jump to the Championship.
Clough’s Burton are currently 11th in the third-tier standings and lost 2-0 to the Hatters in December.
The Brewers boss was quizzed on who he believes will be promoted this season and insists that the two teams currently at the top of the tree will head into the Championship ahead of the 2019-20 season.
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Sunderland are third, four points behind Barnsley, while Portsmouth are a point further back, though they have not won any of their last seven fixtures.
Clough said, per the Derby Telegraph: “I think Portsmouth have hit a little bit of a wall, just at the moment.
“It’s better to do it now. In the last 13 games they are more than capable.
“They got a break with a penalty being missed against them (on Tuesday night).
“Sunderland are more than capable of going on a charge and scoring goals, but I think the best two are probably at the top at the moment, everybody else is trying to catch them.”
Luton have gone 19 games unbeaten in League One and have taken six wins from their last six outings.
Indeed, their last defeat came in October, as they fell 3-2 to Barnsley. In total, they have lost four games all season.
Clough, then, is correct in his assertion that the best team are currently top of the league, and it will take something truly special for them to be knocked out of the automatic promotion places between now and May.
Barnsley are on a 13-game unbeaten run and could well become champions if they take advantage of any Luton slip but Sunderland, who have lost just two games this season, have drawn 14 times – dropping a total of 28 points.
They have to ensure that that habit is cut out if they are to head back to the Championship automatically at the first time of asking.
And that looks a tough task, with Luton and Barnsley seemingly safely ensconced in their current positions.