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Championship: Watford prospering from Cardiff jitters

Will Cardiff come up short yet again in their search for promotion?

"Cardiff's previously iron grip on the title is wavering and by the time they take to the field again on Tuesday, Watford could have turned up the heat yet further by bridging the gap to just two points with victory over Blackpool."

Surely Cardiff can't throw it away this time, can they? After another full Tuesday night programme in the Championship, Christian Crowther reacts...

Their outgoing chairman Dato Chan Tien Ghee may have succeeded in changing the club's colours last year but if Cardiff fail to sustain their title tilt and miss out on promotion again, the only colour everyone associated with the club will be turning is green.

With Watford recording their fourth win in five league games against Sheffield Wednesday and Cardiff drawing at home to Derby, the Hornets closed the gap at the top of the table to just five points.

Suddenly, Malky Mackay's men have to look over their shoulder with the gap to Hull in third only six points, though Cardiff do have a game in hand. They are a 1.211/5 lay for promotion.

Now all the lingering doubts of the past three seasons - in which the league leaders have missed out on promotion via the play-offs - plus the campaign prior to that in which they were pushed out to seventh on the final day will begin to enter Bluebird minds.

Cardiff's previously iron grip on the title is wavering and, by the time they take to the field again on Tuesday, Gianfranco Zola's Watford side could have turned up the heat yet further by bridging the gap to just two points with victory over Blackpool.

It's now just two wins in six games for Mackay's men, who are choosing exactly the wrong time to come down with a case of the jitters. 

Next Tuesday's game against fellow promotion hopefuls Leicester now takes on huge significance with the Foxes themselves in real danger of slipping out of contention after recording just one win in their last six Championship games, one of which was last night's 1-1 draw with Leeds.

Leicester's own hopes of promotion - now rated at 3.3512/5 - are laced with increasing fragility as the season enters the final stretch.

In contrast, Watford's relentless ascent, which has taken in eight wins and just one loss from their last 11 Championship fixtures, now sees the Hornets rated 7.413/2 second favourites to clinch the title.

Crystal Palace were the other big winners in the hunt for those hallowed automatic promotion spots as they overcame Hull, who were second, 4-2 at Selhurst Park courtesy of a Kevin Phillips hat-trick.

That win for Ian Holloway's side, the Eagles' fourth in five league outings, kept them within two points of second-placed Watford.

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06 March 2013

Championship

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