How has Boro’s transfer business and Derby’s decline affected the promotion odds?

Middlesbrough, Hull City and Derby County are among the favourites for promotion.

According to the latest odds provided by Sky Bet, Middlesbrough have become clear favourites for promotion while Derby County’s poor form has seen them drop off the pace.

Despite losing their previous two Championship matches, Boro remain big favourites to win promotion to the Premier League after strengthening considerably during the January transfer window.

Aitor Karanka’s men are well-positioned in second place in the table, three points ahead of Burnley in third and five clear of Derby in fourth having played two games less than their rivals.

But to strengthen their position further, Boro spent big sums on bringing in prolific striker Jordan Rhodes on deadline day while also adding Premier League duo Ritchie de Laet and Gaston Ramirez on loan.

The Teesside club identified potential weaknesses in their squad and strengthened them with genuine quality. Their odds of 1/9 to win promotion reflects their position at present.

Pre-season favourites Derby, however, have seen their odds on earning promotion drift to an outside 11/8 following a poor run of form that has seen the club record no wins in their last six matches.

The Rams’ latest 0-0 home draw at Preston highlighted a real problem, as Paul Clement’s side failed to manage a single shot on target throughout the entire 90 minutes.

Club record signing Bradley Johnson is out of form, Chris Martin has scored just one in his last 14 league matches and new signing Nick Blackman looks totally out of his comfort zone at left-wing.

Problems are mounting for the East Midlands side, and a section of the club’s supporters are already resigning themselves to a potential play-off spot although even that could be in danger now.

Hull had a decent transfer window, and their good form since the turn of the New Year sees them top the Championship table and jump ahead of Derby as new favourites for promotion with odds of 2/7.

The Tigers have an experienced squad, promotion credentials under boss Steve Bruce and a goal scorer in Abel Hernandez who is starting to show exactly why Hull broke their transfer record for his services.

As published by Sky Bet, Burnley are next in line with 7/4, followed by Brighton & Hove Albion at 3/1 and an ever-improving Sheffield Wednesday now standing at 5/1.

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