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EPL Promotion Watch: Cardiff Extends Lead at Top, Leicester Nets 6 Goals

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01:  Joe Mason of Cardiff celebrates his goal with Craig Belamy during the npower Championship match between Birmingham City and Cardiff City at St Andrews on January 1, 2013 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2013

The busy holiday program in the Championship concluded on New Year's Day with a full slate of 12 matches. 

Of the winners on Tuesday, fifth-placed Leicester City came away with the largest margin of victory in their 6-1 win over Huddersfield Town.

Four different players found the back of the net for the Foxes, with Chris Wood—on loan from West Brom—scoring twice in the first half.

Antony Knockaert also delivered a double for Nigel Pearson's club, while Ritchie de Laet and Martin Weghorn rounded out the scoring. 

At the top of the table, Cardiff City extended their lead over second-placed Hull City to seven points with a 1-0 win over Birmingham City. 

Joe Mason's 41st-minute goal was enough to power the Bluebirds to victory during their visit to the St. Andrew's Stadium. 

Hull City also went on the road to open 2013, but they could not manage to score a goal in their 0-0 draw at Bloomfield Road against Blackpool.

The draw pushed the Tigers' deficit to seven points behind the league leaders, as Cardiff begin to run away with the Championship title. 

Beneath the top two in the table now sit Crystal Palace, who regained third place over Middlesbrough after a 3-1 win over Wolves. 

Andre Moritz netted a double for the Eagles, while Yannick Bolasie also scored in the match played at Selhurst Park. 

Middlesbrough dropped into fourth place after losing 3-1 to Derby County at Pride Park, while sixth-placed Watford also lost on Tuesday at home to Charlton Athletic, 4-3.

Over the weekend, all 24 clubs in the Championship will take a break from league play and enter the third round of the FA Cup.

Seven clubs from the Championship will go up against EPL opposition, with Crystal Palace hosting Stoke and Watford travelling to the Etihad Stadium to play Manchester City among those matches. 

Here is how the table looks after 26 matches. The top two clubs win automatic promotion to the EPL, while the clubs in third through sixth place will play in a four-club playoff to determine the final promoted club.

Club Points Goal Differential
Cardiff City 56 19
Hull City 49 10
Crystal Palace 47 16
Middlesbrough 47 10
Leicester City 44 21
Watford 40 11

Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90

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