Who will be celebrating a playoff party?

As the Championship’s two promotion spots have been tied up comfortably by Newcastle United and West Brom. All eyes have now turned to the playoff spots. Nottingham Forest is assured of a spot and Cardiff City would have to have the most unimaginable decline to lose their spot. With two games to play, Leicester City should gain a place amongst the top six alongside Swansea City who must finish strongly to hold off the challenge of Ian Holloway’s Blackpool.

Whilst Swansea City fans will most certainly believe this is tempting fate considering their two point lead on Blackpool. I think the four of Nottingham Forest, Cardiff City, Leicester City and themselves will contest the play offs. Having seen the teams play numerous times this season, I already have a keen idea on who I think will be at triumphant at Wembley on the 22nd May.

By my predictions Nottingham Forest will take on Swansea City in what will most certainly be an extremely tight affair. Swansea City do not concede many goals. Yet on the other hand, they don’t score many either. The Welsh side have only conceded 35 times all season, that is just two less than Championship winners Newcastle. But having only scored 40 goals, their goal difference is a measly five. Nottingham Forest have performed wonders this season under manager Billy Davies. They themselves haven’t got a bad defensive conceding only 38 goals. It is Nottingham Forest’s home form that has been sensational, 12 back to back wins at the City ground propelled Billy Davies’s men to the play off’s. This will be a very tight game where one goal could decide the whole tie. I expect to Nottingham Forest to sneak through. The other game between Leicester City and Cardiff could be a different proposition all together.

Cardiff City have performed pretty much as expected, missing out on a play off place would have been an extremely disappointing season for the Bluebirds. With an extremely potent strike force in Michael Chopra and Jay Boothroyd, Cardiff City when in the mood can put three or four past any team in the Championship. Leicester City on the other hand have performed unexpectedly well after gaining promotion from League One last season. Again they boast an impressive front line in on loan youngster Martyn Waghorn from Sunderland and Matty Fryatt. Furthermore having Everton striker James Vaughan on loan, Leicester City have goals in them. This will be an exciting fixture over two legs with goals galore. I reckon Cardiff City will emerge triumphant.

So the highest money spinning match in football history takes place at Wembley on the 22nd May between, in my book, Cardiff City and Nottingham Forest. Again another tight contest as so many games in the Championship has been this season. Taking into the account it’s at Wembley, with huge pressure on all the players, I am going to have to say I think Cardiff City will emerge victorious. With the Bluebirds having a few more players with Premier League experience in Michael Chopra, Jay Boothroyd and Kelvin Etuhu it may just see them over the line. Additionally Nottingham Forest have not exactly been setting the world alight away from the City Ground. They have lost their last 10 games in a row away from home. Forest boast a young and exciting side that will be up amongst the play off’s again next season. But this may just be a year to early for them. Cardiff City to emerge victorious with a 1-0 scoreline and into the top flight.

You can follow all Matthew Balmforth’s blogs on twitter:http://twitter.com/Soccer_Opinion


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