EPL Promotion Watch: Cardiff, Hull on Brink of Promotion, Bolton Up into Top 6

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 13, 2013

With the number of matches left in the Championship dwindling by the week, the two automatic promotion spots into the English Premier League are almost secured.

Cardiff City, who has dominated the league for most of the season, moved one step closer to the top flight with a 3-0 win on Saturday over Nottingham Forest. 

Heidar Helguson opened the scoring in the 26th minute and was then followed by a second-half double by Rudy Gestede.

Malky Mackay's club are now just a single point away from earning the first automatic promotion spot. The Bluebirds can clinch their spot in the top flight on Tuesday in front of their home fans at the Cardiff City Stadium against Charlton Athletic.

Hull City, the club chasing the second automatic promotion spot, tightened their grip on second place in the table with a 2-1 win at Ipswich Town. 

Robbie Brady was the first goalscorer of the day at Portman Road with a 28th-minute penalty. With seven minutes left in the match, Robert Koren solidified the win for the Tigers as his head connected on a cross from Brady. 

Koren's game-winner pushed the Tigers ahead of third-place Watford by six points after the Hornets fell to bottom feeders Peterborough United, 3-2.

After conceding three goals, the Hornets fought back to score twice in the final five minutes, but an equalizer was not to be found for Gianfranco Zola's club. 

With fourth-place Crystal Palace off this weekend due to Millwall's participation in the FA Cup semifinals, two clubs were able to put pressure on the Eagles in the table. 

Brighton and Hove Albion moved within a point of Palace after defeating Middlesbrough 2-0. Andrea Orlandi and David Lopez scored goals in the 60th and 76th minute, respectively to keep the Seagulls' promotion dream alive.

The club that made the biggest splash in the playoff positions this weekend was Bolton Wanderers, who surged into the top six after taking down Bristol City, 2-1.

Bolton is tied on points with Nottingham Forest, but they have a small advantage in goal differential that has them currently sitting above Forest in the table. 

Here is how the Championship table looks after this weekend's matches. The top two clubs earn automatic promotion to the EPL while the clubs placed in third through sixth will compete in a four-club playoff for the third and final promotion spot.  

Club Matches Played Points Goal Differential
Cardiff City 42 83 27
Hull City 42 77 12
Watford 42 71 24
Crystal Palace 41 66 13
Brighton & Hove Albion 42 65 18
Bolton 42 63 8

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