Norwich City and the Championship promotion race... a look at the leading contenders
Norwich City face two of their biggest promotion rivals – Sheffield United and Leeds – in their next two games. Chris Lakey takes a look at the leading contenders in the hunt for the big prize... a place in the Premier League
Current form: WLLWL
Top league scorer: Kemar Roofe 14
Yet to play: Norwich (h, Feb 2), Middlesbrough (a, Feb 9), West Brom (h, March 1), Bristol City (a, March 9), Sheff Utd (h, March 16).
Record against top seven: 16/21
January business? Signed goalkeeper Kiko Casilla and got their eyes on Swansea winger Daniel James. Also linked with former Newcastle midfielder Mehdi Abeid, who plays for Dijon, and Real Valladolid players Ruben Alcaraz and Toni Villa.
Summary: Form a bit patchy of late and of course there’s been Spygate. But don’t write them off.
Current form: DLDDW
Top league scorer: Teemu Pukki 16
Yet to play: Sheff Utd (h, Jan 26), Leeds (a, Feb 2), Bristol City (h, Feb 23), Middlesbrough (a, March 30)
Record against top seven: 6/24
January business? No one in, but some loan exits – Nelson Oliveira to Reading, Matt Jarvis to Walsall, Ben Marshall to Millwall and Remi Matthews to Bolton.
Summary: Another with slightly patchy recent form, but keep pulling rabbits out of the hat. Could do with emptying the treatment room once and for all.
Current form: WDLDW
Top scorer: Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle 14
Yet to play: Middlesbrough (h, Feb 2), Sheff Utd (h, Feb 23), Leeds (a, March 1), Bristol City (a, April 9), Derby (a, May 5)
Record against top seven: 13/21
January business? Brought in Everton right-back Mason Holgate.
Summary: Potent attack, but some old legs – Gareth Barry, Chris Brunt – might not be able to last the pace.
Current form: WWWWL
Top league scorer: Billy Sharp 16
Yet to play: Norwich (a, Jan 26), Middlesbrough (h, Feb 13), West Brom (a, Feb 23), Leeds (a, March 16), Bristol City (h, March 30).
Record against top seven: 6/21
January business? Signed Everton’s Kieran Dowell and Cardiff striker Gary Madine on loan and Oliver Norwood from Brighton (undisclosed).
Summary: Struggled against the top sides, but defensively strong. And their manager is no quitter.
Current form: LWDWD
Top scorer: Britt Assombalonga 7
Yet to play: West Brom (a, Feb 2), Leeds (h, Feb 9), Sheff Utd (a, Feb 13), Norwich (h, March 30). TBC: Bristol City (h)
Record against top seven: 12/21
January business? Rajiv van La Parra has come from Huddersfield on loan, but John Obi Mikel is a surprise addition after two years in China.
Summary: Mean defence, weak up front - that would be their undoing were it not for Tony Pulis, a manager with vast experience who might nudge them over the line. Not my favourites.
Current form: LWDLW
Top league scorer: Harry Wilson 10
Yet to play: Bristol City (a, April 27), West Brom (h, May 5)
Record against top seven: 13/30
January business? Frank Lampard has signed former Chelsea team-mate, left back Ashley Cole - who’s 38 years old. Bit of a risk. Exits include ex-Norwich defender Alex Pearce to Millwall on loan.
Summary: Cole is left field, in more ways than one. Look good for play-offs. Automatic? Not so sure.
Current form: DWWWW
Top league scorer: Famara Diedhiou 8
Yet to play: Norwich (a, Feb 23), Leeds (h, March 9), Sheff Utd (a, March 30), West Brom (h, April 9), Derby (h, April 27). TBC Middlesbrough (a).
Record against top seven: 5/18
January business? Kasey Palmer has come from Chelsea on loan, but no major exits.
Summary: In great form but perhaps not got the quality to last. Have string of good form, then bad. Lack consistency.