As 2014 turned into 2015, Bournemouth and Ipswich Town occupied the two automatic promotion places in the Championship. Fast forward two months and they have both been overtaken by four clubs.
The current top two, Derby County and Middlesbrough have been in the promotion picture since the beginning of the season but recently two further contenders have emerged.
Norwich City’s 2-0 victory over rivals Ipswich saw them leapfrog their neighbours in the table, having been seven points behind them at the turn of the year. Meanwhile, Watford came back from a two-goal deficit to claim a magnificent comeback win over Leeds United at Elland Road.
They were the only two teams in the top six to win this weekend. As teams around them stutter, they both appear to be timing their push for returns to the Premier League extremely well.
It may be a cliché but the Championship is a marathon not a sprint. It is better to finish strongly than it is to start too quickly and end up fading away towards the end of the season.
Norwich, who have racked up six wins in a row, and Watford, who have won 11 of their last 15 games, have just begun to hit their stride and are reaching their peak form at exactly the right time.
At the other end of the spectrum for Bournemouth, who are on a five-game winless run, and Ipswich, who have lost as many as they have won in their last six, form has to be a worry as is their lack of momentum. They will both be hoping that they didn’t hit their peak back in late December.