The EFL Championship sides who could be promoted to the Premier League this season

Nathan Tella, Burnley, EFL Championship (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
Nathan Tella, Burnley, EFL Championship (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images) /
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Team(s): Sheffield United & Middlesbrough

The next batch of teams will not challenge Burnley for first place but both Sheffield and Middlesbrough have put themselves in excellent positions to play in the Premier League next season.

Sheffield United have found themselves the last couple of seasons in the Championship hoping to make their way back up to the Premier League. The Blades spent both the 19/20 and 21/22 seasons in the top flight. Paul Heckingbottom took over as interim manager for the club at the end of their most recent Premier League spell before being named the permanent manager after relegation. Heckingbottom navigated the club to a 5th place finish last season, qualifying for the playoffs. The club lost to eventually promoted side Nottingham Forrest on penalties in the semi-finals.

This season Sheffield is led by Senegalese international Iliman Ndiaye who was subject to Premier League interest in January. Veteran players Olivier Norwood and John Egan have also played a crucial role in Sheffield’s promotion push. Sander Berge’s presence in the midfield should not go unnoticed either.

Centre-back Anel Ahmedhodzic has proved to be a significant pickup for the club, joining from Swedish giants Malmo FF last summer.

According to Transfermarkt, Sheffield has the fifth-oldest squad in the EFL Championship. Should the club be promoted, one could make the argument they will have an experienced squad to help survive relegation. On the other end of the spectrum, players typically see sharp declines in their performance as they age, leaving Sheffield with some key decisions this summer should they ultimately go up.

If Middlesbrough were to go up, it would be the best turnaround of this season. 11 games into the EFL Championship and Middlesbrough had just two wins, resulting in Chris Wilder getting sacked.

Manchester United legend Michael Carrick was named his replacement and since then the club has won 17 of their last 26. Middlesbrough has been playing some fantastic football under Carrick who has given Boro fans hope of promotion. Middlesbrough last featured in the Premier League in 2017.

Chuba Akpom has been the best goal scorer in the EFL Championship this season and Middlesbrough’s best player. The former Arsenal academy player has found a new level in his game with 23 goals this season so far. Aston Villa loanees Aaron Ramsey and Cameron Archer have been impactful pickups for Boro after signing both players in January. They are not the only loanees making a difference, with Manchester City’s Zack Steffen and Wolves’ Ryan Giles both being instrumental in the club’s turnaround.

The squad has makings of something special and some aspects of a “feel good” story. Given their form, it isn’t out of the question they could leap from Sheffield United for the second automatic promotion spot. At the very least, the club will make its mark in the promotion playoffs this year.