Football Tips: Our tidy treble for D-Day in the Championship promotion race

It all comes down to this.

Frank Bilic Parker

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Brentford vs Barnsley: Brentford (-1)

This could well be an unsatisfying night for both teams for very different reasons. Brentford will be kicking themselves having successfully chased down West Brom to the point were even a draw against lowly Stoke last weekend would have put them second.

However, the Bees buckled under the pressure. They were awful on Saturday and looked visibly nervous as the reality of what they were about to achieve hit home.

It is one thing winning games when chasing another team. It is an entirely different thing when you finally catch them.

Brentford had been by far the best team in the Championship since the restart, winning every game and playing some of the best football the league had seen. They simply never looked like scoring against Stoke on Saturday and conceded a soft and potentially fatal goal.

Barnsley, meanwhile, secured a 93rd-minute winner against an abject Nottingham Forest to keep their slim hopes of survival alive going into the final day.

How about the Championship relegation race?

Those hopes will have evaporated by 21:30 on Wednesday. Too much has to go right for Barnsley if they are to hoist themselves out of the bottom three. And then there is the small matter of beating Brentford.

Now that they are the ones chasing again, Brentford should return to their fluid best on Wednesday, but they may struggle in the play-offs if they do miss out on automatic promotion. The pain of missing out so narrowly will hurt them and that might affect their performance in the cut-throat arena of the play-offs.

It happened to Brentford in 2013 when they missed a last-minute penalty on the final day to secure automatic promotion. On that occasion, they lost out to Yeovil Town in the League One Playoff Final.

Getting back to the matter at hand, Brentford will look to score early to put pressure on West Brom, and should run out easy winners. We’re going for Brentford (-1).

West Brom vs QPR: QPR (+2)

West Brom will be jubilant following Brentford’s defeat on Saturday and should capitalise against a mid-table QPR side with nothing to play for.

The Baggies have been awful since the restart and would have fully deserved to miss out on automatic promotion if Brentford had held their nerve.

Their form should receive a boost from Brentford’s failure, but it won’t be easy, especially if The Bees do score early.

QPR are poor defensively but, as they proved against Millwall, they are capable of scoring plenty and will look to take a scalp and end the season on a high. West Brom may win, but it could be a nervy evening at the Hawthorns, so we’re going for QPR (+2).

More top tips for Wednesday

Wigan vs Fulham: Wigan to win

Fulham couldn’t have expected to still be in with a chance of automatic promotion on the final day of the season, but they still have a hope, albeit a very slim one.

Like Barnsley in the relegation zone, too much has to go right if Fulham are to seize second-place and they will likely be preparing for the play-offs come Thursday morning.

Not only do they need results to go in their favour, they also have the toughest fixture by far. Wigan have been one of the standout sides in the Championship since the restart, losing just once and collecting a hugely impressive 17 points.

It is utterly bizarre that a win on Wednesday could take them into the top half while a defeat could potentially relegate them if they are hit with that dreaded 12-point deduction.

Wigan unequivocally deserve to stay up given their excellent run of form and need a win to ease their relegation worries. Even then, they are not guaranteed to survive.

Wigan are more than capable of springing a surprise win and giving their survival chances a shot in the arm while simultaneously condemning Fulham to the play-offs.

Tips for Wednesday’s promotion battle in the Championship

Brentford vs Barnsley: Brentford (-1)
West Brom vs QPR: QPR (+2)
Wigan vs Fulham: Wigan to win

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