Cardiff, Leicester Are Early EPL Promotion Favorites

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistOctober 9, 2012

CARDIFF, WALES - SEPTEMBER 02:  Kevin McNaughton of Cardiff City in action during the npower Championship match between Cardiff City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Cardiff City Stadium on September 2, 2012 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
Tom Dulat/Getty Images

The road to the English Premier League is not an easy one as the second-tier Championship plays more matches and is less predictable than the top flight.

After 10 matches, there have been plenty of story lines to talk about in the Championship.

Of the three relegated clubs from the EPL, Bolton and Blackburn sacked their managers after they had slow starts.

The other relegated club, Wolves, are in third place as of now.

Right now, the club on top of the table is Cardiff City, who were in the headlines last season after losing to Liverpool in the Carling Cup final and to West Ham in the promotion playoff semifinals.

Despite a slow start, the Bluebirds have won six of their last seven matches to reach the top of the Championship table with 22 points.

The second-place club in the table at the moment is Leicester City, who are just one point behind Cardiff.

The Foxes are looking to make a return to the top flight to start their fourth spell in the Premier League; the club's longest spell in the EPL lasted from 1996 to 2002.

The two top clubs in the second flight will not play each other until December 22 when they face off at the King Power Stadium in Leicester.

Below the top two clubs that will automatically be promoted to the EPL, there are four clubs that will face off in the playoff round to determine who will be the third club promoted to the EPL.

Of the four clubs in the playoff spots, there are two major surprises in Crystal Palace and Huddersfield Town.

Crystal Palace, who finished in 17th place last season, are in fourth place at the moment after four consecutive wins. Two of those wins were over Cardiff and Wolves, who are ranked third.

Huddersfield Town are the most surprising club in the second level of English football as they landed in sixth place after being promoted from League One last season.

The Terriers are trying to replicate the success of Norwich City and Southampton and move from League One to the Premier League in two seasons.

The other club in the top six is Brighton and Hove Albion, who sit in fifth place at the moment.

With 36 matches still to play in the season, there is sure to be plenty of movement within the top six in the Championship, and whoever earns promotion to the EPL will have earned it during the marathon of the Championship season.