Can Fulham make a late charge for the play-offs?

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By Adam Stone [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Newcastle and Brighton look almost certain to go up at the end of the season as they continue to cement their places in the automatic places.

As for play-offs, however, it’s an altogether tighter affair. Huddersfield and Leeds will feel they have some breathing space, but those final spots are where a few clubs can spring a surprise.

Reading don’t look consistent enough right now, as evidenced in their humiliation at Preston last weekend.

Preston could well be the side that puts a good run of form together between now and the end of the campaign. Aiden McGeady looks a real bright spark for Simon Grayson’s men, and it has to be said they have the momentum, though they’re only 50/1 to go up.

Fulham are another shock candidate to make the top six. They seem to have come from nowhere, but apart from a disappointing 2-2 draw with Blackburn, they’ve been making up a lot of ground. That’s why they’re still decent value at 3/1 to be promoted.

Such is the desperation to reach the Premier League that two hopefuls have changed managers in the last week. Steve McClaren was sacked by Derby County, while Norwich dispensed with the services of Alex Neil.

The Canaries immediately improved, but new Derby boss Gary Rowett is coming out of the frying pan and into the fire, starting his reign with a derby against Nottingham Forest. Derby will be big favourites considering Forest’s current woes, so anything less than a win, and he’ll have got off to a rocky start.

Derby are probably one to avoid, but it might be worth backing Norwich as a real outsider at 40/1, even if they still don’t know who’s going to be managing them. They badly need one of Reading or Sheffield Wednesday to start slipping up.