A busy Easter weekend finished with Brighton and Hove Albion securing promotion to the Premier League. It will be their first campaign in the top flight for 34 years, and their first proper in the Premier League itself.
On Monday, they beat strugglers Wigan Athletic 2-1 at home, but the party was on hold until the end of the Huddersfield vs. Derby fixture which kicked off at 5pm. An 88th minute Jacob Butterfield goal equalised for Derby against Huddersfield and the game finished 1-1, which was enough to see the Seagulls mathematically up. Brighton aren’t guaranteed to go up as champions just yet, but they now have a seven point berth over second place Newcastle United, with just nine points still to play for. Brighton head to Norwich on Friday night which will be a coronation should they win.
Fulham can boast a particularly fruitful Easter weekend. They followed up their 3-1 win at Norwich on Good Friday with a 3-1 home victory over Aston Villa. They are the side on the ascendency as the play-offs approach, and Monday’s win knocked Leeds United out of the playoffs for the first time in many months. It’s now a three team dog fight for the final two play-off places. With one of Sheffield Wednesday, Fulham, or Leeds now certain to miss out.
Hopes of avoiding relegation looked initially promising for Wigan at the other end of the table, as a Nick Powell hat-trick helped them to a 3-2 victory against Barnsley on Friday. But following their defeat at Brighton, things are again looking grim for the Latics. Their fate could be sealed next week if they fail to win at home to Cardiff and the other results don’t go their way.
Momentum shifted towards Blackburn Rovers on Friday after they beat fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest 1-0 at an anxious City Ground. Manager Tony Mowbray spoke of there being ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ before the game, and they are clearly the side with the most confidence at the bottom end. Forest are in freefall and in desperate need of resuscitation. Their tumultuous recent form has seen them lose their last four matches.
Harry Redknapp has been announced as the new boss of Birmingham City after Gianfranco Zola tendered his resignation following their defeat against Burton Albion on Monday. It’s been a miserable couple of months for Zola, who took over from the now Derby County boss, Gary Rowett.
Now 70 year old, Redknapp’s stock has fallen dramatically since being touted as the favourite to replace Fabio Capello as England boss in 2012. Those days feel like a long time ago now. His recent appointments make for a bizarre end to a long C.V. He was most recently in charge of international side Jordan for some World Cup Qualifiers and was also made a director of non-league Winborne Town as well as a consultant with the Australian side Central Coast Warriors. He certainly can’t be accused of taking the easy option this time, and with three games of the season left for Birmingham, they sit an uncomfortable three points above the relegation zone. City rivals Aston Villa are next for Blues, who will be determined to put the boot in and help send them down to League One.