Crucial Easter weekend fixtures that could make or break Premier League hopes for Fulham, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough and Blackburn April 14, 2022 – Posted in: Soccer

The Easter weekend is a time when football fans indulge in much more than the traditional chocolate eggs.

While the Premier League and FA Cup is in full force, the EFL sees two matchdays in a four-day period that will make or break the season for so many.

The hunt to secure promotion to the Premier League is beautifully poised

With between five and seven matches remaining, the picture at the top of the table is utterly bonkers.

Fulham and Bournemouth are sitting comfortably in first and second position in the Championship, knowing that six points from six will go a long way to confirming their spot in next year’s Premier League.

The Cottagers could even secure their place on Friday if Nottingham Forest lose to Luton and they beat Derby County – live on talkSPORT 2.

For the seven clubs below the top two, it could be win-or-bust this weekend.

Huddersfield and the Tricky Trees are looking strong in third and fourth spot, but are certainly able to be caught by the chasing pack.

For those positioned between fifth and ninth, there’s just four points separating the five teams which means that we really are at the business end of the season.

Championship games on talkSPORT

Good Friday

Luton v Nottingham Forest – talkSPORT 2 (12:30pm)

Bournemouth v Middlesbrough – talkSPORT 2 (3pm)

Huddersfield v QPR – talkSPORT 2 (5:30pm)

Derby v Fulham – talkSPORT 2 (8pm)

Easter Monday

Middlesbrough v Huddersfield – talkSPORT 2 (12:30pm)

Bristol City v Sheffield United – talkSPORT 2 (5:30pm)

Nottingham Forest v West Brom – talkSPORT 2 (8pm


One bad result would be a blow, two could be fatal as clubs look to sustain their push to reach the promised land of the Premier League, but what’s the lay of the land going into Easter’s four-day football feast?

talkSPORT.com takes a look at the runners and riders in the promotion race going into the Easter weekend.

1. Fulham, 83 points

Derby (A), Friday, April 15

Preston (H), Tuesday, April 19

With six games to go, Fulham are sitting comfortably at the top of the tree.

With a 10-point lead on Bournemouth and a 14-point gap on third-place Huddersfield, it’s a case of when, not if, they secure their spot back in the Premier League.

And if things go their way we could see the Cottagers have their place confirmed in the coming days.

Fulham are firmly on track to secure an immediate return to the Premier League

Getty

Fulham are firmly on track to secure an immediate return to the Premier League

2. Bournemouth, 73 points

Middlesbrough (H), Friday, April 15

Coventry (A), Monday, April 18

After missing out in the play-offs last term, Bournemouth will be delighted at how their first season under Scott Parker has gone.

A four-point gap on the play-off spots is a great advantage, while having two games in hand on third-place Huddersfield means that they have valuable breathing room in their hunt an automatic position.

A clash with Middlesbrough on Good Friday will be a big test of their credentials.

Scott Parker’s first season on the South Coast couldn’t have gone much better so far

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Scott Parker’s first season on the South Coast couldn’t have gone much better so far

3. Huddersfield, 69 points

QPR (H), Friday, April 15

Middlesbrough (A), Monday, April 18

It’s been a heck of a season for Huddersfield who started the campaign with aspirations of avoiding a relegation dogfight.

Carlos Corberan’s side have five games left and are looking reasonably comfortable in their play-off aspirations this term, particularly with back-to-back wins in their last two matches.

However with tricky matches against QPR and Middlesbrough coming up, we’re likely to see if they can all-but wrap up one of the four spots.

Huddersfield have been one of the Championship’s surprise packages

Huddersfield have been one of the Championship’s surprise packages

4. Nottingham Forest, 67 points

Luton (A), Friday, April 15

West Brom (H), Monday, April 18

One of the stories of the season has been Forest enjoying a wonderful time in both the Championship and the FA Cup.

Steve Cooper’s side are undoubtedly the form side in the league right now and, frankly, they look unstoppable.

A clash with play-off rivals Luton will be a big test, while West Brom will also ensure that Forest must be on their game if they’re to come out of the Easter weekend with their play-off position still within their grasp.

Nottingham Forest have been one of the stories of the season

Getty

Nottingham Forest have been one of the stories of the season

5. Luton, 65 points

Nottingham Forest (H), Friday, April 15

Cardiff City (A), Monday, April 18

Another side who will be pinching themselves at being involved in the play-off push.

Luton have exceeded expectations all season, however a run of three matches without a win means that fans will be starting to get a bit anxious.

Forest at home and a trip to Cardiff is tough-going for Nathan Jones’s side, but if they want to be in the mix they’ll need to beat the best.

Nathan Jones is performing miracles with Luton Town

Getty Images

Nathan Jones is performing miracles with Luton Town

6. Sheffield United, 65 points

Reading (H), Friday, April 15

Bristol City (A), Monday, April 18

It hasn’t been the sort of season that supporters at Bramall Lane would have wished for after suffering relegation last term, but the Blades will be happy to be in the mix for the play-offs.

Competition is rife for a top-six spot, and with Reading and Bristol City coming up this weekend they arguably have one of the easiest sets of fixtures among the play-off candidates.

Nothing less than a top-six finish will do for Sheffield United, and two good results are a must if they’re to do that.

The Blades have showed great togetherness to bounce back from a poor start to the season

Getty Images

The Blades have showed great togetherness to bounce back from a poor start to the season

7. Blackburn, 63 points

Peterborough (A), Friday, April 15

Stoke City (H), Monday, April 18

Tony Mowbray’s side have exceeded all expectations this term after surpassing the mid-table battle and pushing for promotion.

Blackburn have been licking their lips at the prospect of returning to the Premier League, but three matches without a win has seen them drop out of the top six.

With respect, clashes with Peterborough and Stoke are fairly generous and so the Lancashire side will be hopeful of finishing the weekend back within the four play-off spots.

Ben Brereton Diaz has been a massive player for Tony Mowbray’s side this term

Getty Images

Ben Brereton Diaz has been a massive player for Tony Mowbray’s side this term

8. Middlesbrough, 62 points

Bournemouth (A), Friday, April 15

Huddersfield (H), Monday, April 18

Chris Wilder’s appointment last year saw Middlesbrough move themselves from mid-table fodder to one of the more impressive sides in the play-off picture.

Everything seemed to be clicking into place with results coming free and easy in recent weeks, however back-to-back defeats against Fulham and Hull City last term perhaps gave supporters a dose of reality.

There’s some serious work to do for Middlesbrough if they’re to earn a surprise play-off spot, and with divisional rivals Bournemouth and Huddersfield up next it seems that they’ll need to do things the hard way if they’re to avoid falling away.

Middlesbrough will be hoping that they can put in more big-game performances this weekend

Middlesbrough will be hoping that they can put in more big-game performances this weekend

9. Millwall, 61 points

Preston (A), Friday, April 15

Hull City (H), Monday, April 18

Undoubtedly outsiders for the top six, but Millwall will be hopeful of making a late charge for the play-offs.

Gary Rowett’s side are four points adrift of the top six right now and that means that there’s precious little margin for error if they’re to push late on.

With fixtures against Preston and Hull up next, they’ll be hoping that two good results can push them right into the mix.

They’re outsiders, but Millwall boss Gary Rowett will be hoping that his side can stay in the play-off mix

Getty Images

They’re outsiders, but Millwall boss Gary Rowett will be hoping that his side can stay in the play-off mix

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