What can be learnt from matchday 20 of the Championship?
Watford can finally forget manager worries
Slavisa Jokanovic alleviated some of the pressure on his head with a 5-0 win over Fulham, stemming a run of four straight defeats. Troy Deeney returned to scoring with a hat-trick, and Almen Abdi netted twice to cap his full return from injury, and the performance was undoubtedly the best shown by the Hornets this season. Having won so convincingly, fans will be hoping the performance kick-starts the Hertfordshire-based side's campaign, and allows them to forget the manager problems surrounding Vicarage Road this term. Jokanovic is their fourth head coach of the season, and maybe he can start to prove that the club were not wrong to change things up as much as they did.
Leeds are solid at home, but struggle away
Leeds United lost 4-1 at Ipswich on Saturday, losing to the second-placed side after defeating first-placed Derby 2-0 last weekend. They overcame Derby at home, and on performances at Elland Road the Whites would be sixth-placed and in the play-off places. However, away form has cost Neil Redfearn’s side, and they are second bottom when just using away performances. Five points from 10 games has left the side second bottom in the table, with just one win, and just one point ahead of Blackpool. The Yorkshire side have conceded just eight goals at home, but 22 away from home is worse than all but one other club in the division. Away form is something that needs sorting out, and Redfearn should look to address it soon, if promotion is a real target for Leeds.
Have Wolves shown their inexperience
Wolves started their Championship campaign in incredible style, but they have five consecutive losses to their name, and their great defensive record is slowly disappearing. However, the state of the second division leaves Kenny Jackett’s side just five points off the last play-off place, but their fortunes do not look to be improving. A state of inexperience appears to be hitting the side, and the inability to overcome a string of defeats could cost the side their chance at successive promotions. Jackett is a promising coach, but he has little experience of leading a Championship promotion chasing side, and his squad look incapable of restoring their early season form.
Derby have struggles, but look too good
Derby lost to Leeds last weekend, their fourth defeat of the season, and it allowed Ipswich to close the gap on top spot to just one point. They returned to winning ways on Saturday, scoring three first-half goals to overcome Brighton 3-0, and the squad look too good to not win promotion this season. Lone defeats every so often have done little to halt the Rams promotion charge, and it is hard to see a string of negative results dragging them down the table. Even with the tight nature of the division, promotion looks a certainty, as long as Steve McClaren continues to impress in the manner he has been doing.
Ipswich continue to be the Championship surprise package
Ipswich are just one point off league leaders Derby, and they continue to rise despite having a less technical squad that some of their promotion rivals. However, while they are light on individual talents, the Tractor Boys possess one of the best coaches in the division in Mick McCarthy, and have found a consistent goalscorer in Daryl Murphy. Murphy has already bettered his entire tally from last season, and he moved up to 13 strikes on Saturday in Ipswich’s 4-1 victory over Leeds United. Team spirit could send the side up, but it is hard to imagine them coping should they suffer injuries to a few key men, with the size of their squad one of few limitations on show.