Written by David Robinson
With just one game until the half way mark of the season, it reaches an important landmark for each of the twenty four sides where they have laid the foundations for the second half of the campaign. Of course nothing is won or lost at this point, and Championship fans probably know this more than anyone. A ten point gap can be overturned within a matter of just a couple of weeks in what is always a rollercoaster of a season. Despite it all really being about what now happens in the new calendar year, I look at each side’s performance so far and grade how I think they have fared.
credit Ben Sutherland
Bristol City – 16th – B-
Just one win in eight means Bristol City find themselves in 16th place. With this in mind I would expect this run to come to an end shortly but the inconsistencies are perhaps to be expected. Losing a key striker was never going to help but regardless of Jonathan Kodjia, there is enough ability at Ashton Gate and certainly enough to finish higher than 16th come the end of the season. Therefore there is work to be done but if the club can get out of this poor spell they should have a positive half of the season.
Burton Albion – 21st – A
The big underdogs of the division sit outside the relegation zone at Christmas. That would’ve been the objective so they have done well so far. I’m sure Nigel Clough will know that there is a long way to go and sides like Yeovil who were in a similar situation have faded as the season has gone on but they have given themselves a good chance so far which is all that can be asked. They’ve taken some big scalps when really they have no right too, including wins over Derby & Sheffield Wednesday. Most importantly the Brewers can be most satisfied with the results collected against the sides around them. If they can replicate this type of situation again they will have a great chance of survival.
credit Jon Candy
Cardiff City – 20th – C
Neil Warnock’s side find themselves 3 point outside the relegation zone going into Christmas, a position that will be uncomfortable for the Welsh outfit. Just one win in eight meant that they faced an early struggle and this lead to the sacking of Paul Trollope. With Warnock in charge you would suspect Cardiff shouldn’t be in too much danger, they’ve still inconsistently picked up results in recent weeks but I think with tough circumstances this is a fairly predictable outcome for the Bluebirds. Maybe flirting with the relegation zone is a bit of a stretch, they have enough experience to stay clear but while it’s been a pretty poor start, I wasn’t expecting them to be pushing around the play-offs on this occasion.
Derby County – 7th – C
12 points off second is not good enough for the Rams who have all the foundations to be up there competing in what seems like a season of great opportunity to get promoted. However they have found themselves in what has to be considered a good position thanks to an unbeaten 8 match run with Steve McClaren in charge. 3 wins in the opening 14 games meant it was a disastrous start but it also highlights that you can never rule out a bad start. Regardless though it was awful under Nigel Pearson and even with the optimism McClaren has brought, it has to go down as a failed start to the season in my opinion.
credit dom fellowes
Fulham – 9th – B+
Slavisa Jokanovic is starting to do a good job for the Cottagers as they find themselves lurking outside the play-offs. I don’t think many would expect Fulham to be up there due to the problems they faced last season combined with the loss of key players. So despite having a weaker side, their league position is much healthier. They’ve been able to go on a few mini-unbeaten runs which sets them up nicely for the second half of the season. Some impressive wins have also occurred throughout the campaign which means they are quietly going about their business. An encouraging start for Fulham.
Huddersfield Town – 4th – A+
Not many would’ve seen the Terriers occupy themselves at the top end of the table and for such lengthy periods of the season as well. They’ve been very impressive and should now be a side to be feared across the division. A period of 1 win in 8 has meant they’ve lost touch with the automatic places but now Wagner’s side will be looking to pull away from 7th position, with just 3 points separating them. The unknown quantity of Huddersfield has been a big success so far and you would be foolish to question whether they can keep it going.
Do you agree with these grades? Let us know in the comments below!