Bournemouth, Middlesbrough, Watford... Is this the best promotion race in years?

Reading Promotion Celebration

No end of teams could make it out of the Championship to the Premier League this season.

So, after another pulsating round of midweek Championship games, it's Eddie Howe's Bournemouth side that sit top of the table... for now.

But, every week, there seems to be a new face at the summit of the standings, be it Watford (under any of their four managers this season) Derby County or Norwich City. And, in truth, absolutely any of these sides could be a Premier League team next term.

It is no exaggeration to suggest that there are promotion contenders right through the division. Cardiff City, in 12th, are going strong under Russell Slade, while Nottingham Forest were flying high in first before a dip in form. Just one win, however, and Forest would be just two points off the play-off places once more.

Right now, an analysis of the state of play would end up just being a list of clubs... Blackburn Rovers are just off the play-offs and so too are Brentford, after their fine win over Nottingham Forest last night.

Kenny Jackett's Wolverhampton Wanderers, meanwhile, have impressed consistently, although former Wolves boss Mick McCarthy has now leapfrogged them at Ipswich. Aitor Karanka has Middlesbrough up to second.

And what if one of the division's sleeping giants picks up some form? Leeds United may feel rather more optimistic about their chances under Neil Redfearn, while Brighton have untapped potential under Sami Hyypia...

In short, this could be the best Championship promotion race in years. There have been some enthralling ones in recent history, of course, but last season's was a relative departure, with Leicester City and Burnley going strong throughout, while Queens Park Rangers looked good despite shaky patches.

Will Derby stay consistent under Steve McClaren? Can Middlesbrough finally return to the top flight? And can Cardiff bounce back at the first time of asking?

Right now, the bookmakers' odds for promotion, according to Oddschecker, are as follows. But what's the bet they change again within a few days?

Derby County - 11/10

Middlesbrough - 6/4

Norwich City - 7/4

Bournemouth 13/8

Watford - 2/1

Wolverhampton Wanderers - 4/1

Blackburn Rovers - 11/2

Ipswich Town - 11/2

Nottingham Forest - 7/1

Cardiff City - 10/1

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