We’re now roughly a quarter of the way into the Football League season, with the current international break bringing up the 12-game mark for EFL sides across the country.
Unsurprisingly, there have already been a number of twists and turns in the Championship and there are just 17 points separating first and last spot in the table.
Daily Football Tips
This week has seen one of the most eye-catching developments of the season so far, with Dean Smith, who has guided Brentford to seventh place so far this season, replacing Steve Bruce as manager of Aston Villa.
By contrast, Villa are in 15th position and without a win in their last four league matches.
Having narrowly missed out on promotion last season, Villa were among the favourites to move up to the Premier League this season and Smith will be under pressure to deliver results as soon as possible.
But which other teams are well placed for a promotion push? Here are the bookies' favourites as it stands:
West Brom: 8/11
Darren Moore’s side were heavily tipped to go straight back up to the top flight this season and four wins from their last five league fixtures has put them in second place after 12 matches.
It wasn’t the easiest start to the season for the Baggies, but with the likes of Dwight Gayle, Jay Rodriguez and Leicester loanee Harvey Barnes all in excellent form in front of goal, West Brom look the most likely to achieve promotion as it stands.
This really would be some story. It’s been far too long since Leeds were in the Premier League. This may well be their year.
For most of this season, Marcelo Bielsa’s side have been the pace-setters in the Championship, having only lost one game to date. Just one win in their last four has brought a halt to their progress but they remain in a good position to push for promotion.
Tony Pulis’ side are the other team in the Championship to have only been beaten once so far this term.
They may not be the most popular side in the division but, in Pulis, they have a manager full of experience. They’re currently fourth, just three points off top spot.
Sheffield United: 13/8
Despite currently occupying top spot in the Championship, Chris Wilder’s side are only the fourth favourites to be promoted to the Premier League.
The Blades have won four of their last five league matches, with the goals of Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick helping them on their way to the summit of the table. At the other end of the pitch, England Under-21 goalkeeper Dean Henderson has been vital and looks a real prospect.
It’s been an impressive start to the season for the Bees, but whether things will change now Smith has left the club remains to be seen.
At the moment, Brentford find themselves just outside the play-offs, but their attractive style of play and quality in the forward areas makes them a very solid outside bet for promotion.
Aston Villa: 5/1
Villa’s odds have improved since the arrival of Smith and, although they currently sit in 15th, the quality and experience in their squad is undeniable.
If Smith can get the best out of the likes of Jack Grealish then Villa will definitely be towards the top of the table come the end of the season.
Gary Rowett was heavily tipped to guide the Potters straight back to the Premier League this season, but after 12 matches, Stoke find themselves in 14th place having accumulated just 16 points so far.
Their odds show that they are another side that people feel could burst into life at any moment, with many of their players competing in the Premier League last season.
Nottingham Forest: 6/1
Aitor Karanka’s side have crept up the table having avoided defeat in their last six league outings.
Forest are another side that have gone through plenty of different managers in their quest to return to the Premier League, but Karanka may well be the one to finally guide them to the top flight.
Derby County: 7/1
It’s been a very mixed start to life in management for Frank Lampard, with his Derby side showing glimpses of real quality at times, but disappointing results on other occasions.
However, Derby are showing all the signs of a team that will get better as the season progresses, a lot like Fulham last season. Loanees Mason Mount and Harry Wilson will be vital if they’re to push for promotion.
Latest Championship Odds
AskFans' Championship Promotion Predictions
1st: West Brom
3rd: Nottingham Forest
5th: Derby County