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How the Championship play-off picture now looks as Brentford bullish, Swansea City respond, Bournemouth ominous but Cardiff City done

It was yet another dramatic weekend in the Championship.

We are truly at the business end of the campaign now, where results take priority over performances.

With so much at stake, you cannot blame sides for feeling the heat in such pressurised situations.

With five games (six for some) to go, this is how the promotion picture now looks…

Weekend results (selected)

Watford 2-0 Reading

Millwall 0-3 Swansea City

Barnsley 2-0 Middlesbrough

Bournemouth 4-1 Coventry City

Cardiff City 2-2 Blackburn Rovers

Derby 0-1 Norwich City

Preston 0-5 Brentford

The current Championship table

Norwich City remain in pole position and look champions elect after a stunning season for the Canaries. Their 1-0 win over Derby edged them closer to the title.

Watford’s comprehensive 2-0 win over Reading on Friday now puts them firmly in the boxseat for that second automatic spot.

Brentford are still fighting, though. A 5-0 hammering of Preston has put wind in their sails once again after a run of draws. Win their game in hand and the Bees are six points behind the Hornets with five to play.

Swansea returned to winning ways with a positive 3-0 win at The Den over Millwall. A play-off spot looks the most likely for Steve Cooper’s men now.

Three points in south London have given them breathing space, which was especially important as Barnsley and Bournemouth both recorded wins over Middlesbrough and Coventry respectively.

Reading’s defeat at Vicarage Road leaves them hoping for a few favours, while Cardiff City and Boro are now out of the equation.

Fixtures

Norwich ( P41) – Bournemouth (h), Watford (h), QPR (a), Reading (h), Barnsley (a)

Watford (P41) – Luton (a), Norwich (a), Millwall (h), Brentford (a), Swansea (h)

Brentford (P40) – Millwall (h), Cardiff (h), Bournemouth (a), Rotherham (h), Watford (h), Bristol City (a)

Swansea (P40) – Sheffield Wednesday (a), Wycombe (h), QPR (h), Reading (a), Derby (h), Watford (a)

Barnsley (P41)- Coventry (a), Huddersfield (a), Rotherham (h), Preston (a), Norwich (h)

Bournemouth (P40) – Huddersfield (a), Norwich (a), Millwall (a), Brentford (h), Wycombe (a), Stoke City (h)

Reading (P41) – Cardiff (h), Luton (a), Swansea (h), Norwich (a), Huddersfield (h)

Verdict

The top two look home and hosed.

Brentford, with a game in hand and matches against sides with little to play for (Millwall, Cardiff, Bristol City) should finish strongly.

Swansea’s run-in is favourable, and with Watford likely to be on the beach by the last day of the season, that final fixture now doesn’t look so pivotal.

Barnsley have a lovely sequence of games and will fancy themselves to seal a top-six spot.

Bournemouth’s ominously good form should keep them in line to finish in the play-offs, with the Royals possibly missing out by the narrowest of margins.

One thing you can guarantee though – there is still plenty of scope for further drama between now and May 8.

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