While company among English football’s elite may be enticing to these four Championship clubs, the promise of hundreds of millions of pounds in TV deals, sponsorship and additional revenue streams — estimated to be worth as much as £265 million ($A470) — provide an even bigger incentive for victory.
Glory and an economic boost to a city are on the horizon for one of these clubs, all equally desperate to clinch one the remaining spot among English football’s elite for 2022/23.
Both Fulham and Bournemouth have already secured automatic passage to the Premier League. Here is a look at the remaining contenders for promotion ahead of the playoffs, beginning Saturday morning (AEST).
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League Position: 6th
Opponent: Huddersfield Town
Key player: Kal Naismith
Undoubtedly the minnows of the knockout stages, Luton Town have been on an upward trajectory for the last 11 seasons of league football. Just 10 years ago they languished in England’s fifth tier, making their opportunity at Premier League football within a decade a miracle in itself.
Versatile Scotsman Kal Naismith has been a key pillar for Luton, sweeping the club’s end of season awards night and receiving Players player and Player of the season awards. The 30-year-old’s form has been essential to The Hatters’ success this season, and he’ll need to be on his game if Luton are to do the unthinkable and clinch a Premier League berth.
Luton’s Welsh Manager Nathan Jones took over the club in 2020, and was immensely proud of his playing group after clinching a playoff spot.
“We’ve been magnificent all season with what we’ve had to contend with, it came down to the last game of the season but we were here two years ago to beat Blackburn to stay in the league, and now we have an opportunity to play two games to get out of the league.
“What a wonderful place to be, I’m so proud of the whole football club.”
Luton will play Huddersfield Town at home in the first leg of their first round playoff, and to the surprise of some, go into the match as narrow favorites.
League position: 3rd
Opponent: Luton Town
Key Player: Lee Nicholls
Just four years ago, Australian Aaron Mooy spearheaded Hudderfield Town to the Premier League where they enjoyed a year of safety before enduring a second season of turmoil. The Terriers were eventually relegated from England’s top flight as the “worst side in Premier League history” with a record-low 16 league points.
However, the Yorkshire based club is currently as upbeat as ever. Avoiding relegation from the English Championship by just six points last season, they now loom as genuine playoff contenders for another shot at Premier League football.