Hull defender Michael Dawson rules Derby and Sheffield Wednesday out of the automatic promotion race

Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday both occupy places in the Championship's top six.

Hull City defender Michael Dawson has told the Gazette that he does not believe Derby County or Sheffield Wednesday will be able to mount an automatic promotion challenge this season.

Hull currently sit in second place in the Championship table, just behind Burnley.

The Tigers also have Middlesbrough and Brighton & Hove Albion hot on their heels, and Dawson has suggested that the top four will remain as it is for the rest of the season.

"We're on track and in with a great shout for promotion but so are other teams like Brighton, Burnley and Middlesbrough - I feel they are probably our biggest challenges," said Dawson.

"There are other teams trying to fight for automatic promotion but realistically it's out of us four and it won't be easy to get past them.

Dawson’s comments rule out Derby’s and Wednesday’s chances of making it into the top two, even though both sides have some hope of making a late surge.

At the moment the Rams are six points below from the automatic promotion spaces, and Wednesday are only a point further back.

Although they will both have to put together strong runs between now and the end of the season to make it into the top two, it is not entirely out of the question.

Derby have won two of their last three matches under the stewardship of Darren Wassall, and their next four matches are against teams outside the top 10.

Wednesday, meanwhile, have lost just two of their last 13 Championship matches to progressively climb the table into sixth place.

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