Challenge becomes clearer for Canaries as Fulham secure play-off final glory
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
The Championship challenge has become clearer for Norwich City this evening, after seeing Fulham promoted at Wembley.
The Cottagers joined Leeds and West Brom in promotion to the Premier League by beating Brentford 2-1 in extra-time in the play-off final, thanks to two goals from defender Joe Bryan.
Fulham, managed by a former Norwich loanee in Scott Parker and with ex-Canaries loanee Harrison Reed in midfield, bounced straight back to the top flight.
For City that at least ensures they will avoid their Craven Cottage curse, having not won at Fulham since New Year’s Day 1986, and that a trip to Brentford’s new stadium awaits next season.
The beaten play-off finalists will be facing the new challenge posed by the relegated Premier League trio of Watford, Bournemouth and the Canaries, while at the other end it’s Coventry, Rotherham and Wycombe joining the division.
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Hull, Charlton and Wigan are the teams heading to League One - with Wigan’s appeal against their 12-point deduction for going into administration being imposed immediately failing earlier today, which dragged them into the bottom three and spared Barnsley.
Sheffield Wednesday will start the 2020-21 campaign with a 12-point deficit though, due to being found guilty of breaking spending rules. Charlton are understood to be considering an appeal against that deduction not being imposed this season, as it would have seen the Owls relegated instead of them.
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Derby are also awaiting the results of a charge for a similar scenario to Wednesday, as the Rams have contested an EFL charge for breaching Profitability and Sustainability rules, although they finished 15 points clear of the bottom three.
Norwich return to the Championship in a relatively stable financial situation, whereas Watford and Bournemouth will be adjusting to the huge drop in income as they play in the second tier for the first time since 2015, having parted ways with their managers.
Eddie Howe’s assistant Jason Tindall is the favourite with the bookies to succeed his former boss at Bournemouth, with former Leeds chief Garry Monk, Aston Villa assistant John Terry and former Canaries manager Chris Hughton also among the favourites.
Hughton is also said to be in the running for the Watford job, although Udinese caretaker Luca Gotti is the odds-on favourite to succeed Nigel Pearson with the bookies, with the Hornets’ owners also owning the Italian club.
It’s shaping up to be another highly competitive year in the Championship, with City also set to face competition from the likes of Swansea, Cardiff and Nottingham Forest - with the new campaign set to begin across the weekend of September 11-13 and fixtures expected to be announced within the next couple of weeks.
Promoted to the Premier League: Leeds, West Brom, Fulham
Relegated from the Premier League: Bournemouth, Watford, Norwich City
Championship: Barnsley, Birmingham, Blackburn, Brentford, Bristol, Cardiff, Derby, Huddersfield, Luton, Middlesbrough, Millwall, Nottm Forest, Preston, QPR, Reading, Sheff Weds, Stoke, Swansea
Promoted from League One: Coventry, Rotherham, Wycombe
Relegated from the Championship: Wigan, Charlton, Hull