We’re more than halfway through the season and much can change, but even if those two clubs secure the top two places, that still leaves one position in the Premier League next season via the play-offs (for those teams finishing between third and sixth in the Championship).
At present, the four teams occupying the play-off positions are Sheffield Wednesday, Fulham, Preston North End and Brentford.
It’s the last of those four clubs, Brentford, that is of the most interest from a South African viewpoint, with Bafana Bafana defensive midfielder Kamohelo Mokotjo being a key member of the Bees’ squad. Mokotjo joined Brentford in 2017, despite having options from Premier League clubs.
The Christmas and New Year period is an extraordinarily hectic one in English club football and much can change in terms of league positions over the course of a week or two.
Brentford face games at home to Swansea City and away at Millwall and Bristol City over the festive period. Early in the New Year they also played host to local rivals Queens Park Rangers on Saturday 11 January, in a game that was televised live.
There were good betting odds available for that game, and the Bees were favourites given their home advantage and the respective form of the two teams at present. Another factor is that whilst only Leeds had a better defensive record than Brentford in the Championship, QPR have been leaking goals at a fairly alarming rate.
Games in the Championship are only ever likely to be offered with enhanced odds if they are televised live. Enhanced odds only tend to be offered a day or two before any game is played, so it’s not easy knowing to which matches they apply unless you are constantly checking betting sites.
It’s not always easy to know which matches offer enhanced odds, so the best solution is to use a one-stop solution and get this week’s enhanced odds offers from the top bookies at www.freebets.co.uk.
If Brentford do reach the top tier of English football for what would be the first time since relegation in 1947 and Mokotjo stays with the club, he is likely to be the only South African playing in the Premier League next season (striker Percy Tau is on the books at Brighton & Hove Albion, although he is on loan at Club Brugge in Belgium this season due to work permit issues).
Mokotjo came through the academy at SuperSport United, before going on to impress in the Dutch Eredivisie with Feyenoord, Excelsior (on loan), PEC Zwolle and FC Twente. Brentford were chasing Mokotjo’s signature for two years prior to his arrival, but work permit issues meant that he was only able to join in 2017.
The Bees are an ambitious and very well-run club under owner Matthew Benham and the club is set to move to their new 17,250-capacity Community Stadium in summer 2020. It would be perfect timing were they also to make a long-awaited return to the top-flight simultaneously.
It would be a fitting reward for Mokotjo too, who displayed loyalty to the club that had scouted him for two years prior to signing for them.