Join @TonyIncenzo each week for his Championship review, with a look at the biggest moments in the latest round of games in England's second tier...


MONUMENTAL excitement prevailed in our final EFL Championship fixture programme on Coronation Bank Holiday Monday.

Worthy champions Burnley topped 100 points whilst the last two places up for grabs in Play-Off qualification created more twists and turns than Hampton Court Maze.

Here are the main stories catching my eye…


Burnley achieved an admirable 101 points courtesy of their 3-0 home cruise past Cardiff City.

Josh Brownhill, Ashley Barnes and Scott Twine hit the net to cement a spectacular campaign whereby Vincent Kompany’s men return to the Premier League after one year away.

They are the first Championship team to break 100 points since Leicester City in 2013/14. Burnley lost only three League games overall and finish 10 points above second placed Sheffield United.

Kompany signed a new five year deal on Sunday to remain at Turf Moor until 2028 having recently been linked to both the Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea managerial posts.

Meanwhile, opponents Cardiff City conclude in fourth bottom spot – five points beyond that dreaded dotted line.

However, the Bluebirds would have suffered relegation if 22nd ranked Reading had not received a six point deduction regarding finances.

Cardiff boss Sabri Lamouchi should discover this week if he is being offered a new contract in a meeting with owner Vincent Tan.


Coventry City secured fifth position in the Play-Off zone by drawing 1-1 at fourth placed Middlesbrough.

Gustavo Hamer crisply blasted home on 22 minutes for the Sky Blues who maintain fine form on a seven game unbeaten spree. They haven’t featured in the top flight since 2001.

Monday’s outcome leaves Middlesbrough nursing three matches bereft of victory. Boro and Coventry now meet again in a two legged Play-Off Semi-Final.


Millwall filled sixth place going into denouement day and knew victory against visitors Blackburn Rovers would ensure Play-Off participation.

Contrastingly, Blackburn sat ninth - two points under Millwall – holding a slim chance of extending the season following eight matches without winning.

A pulsating afternoon accordingly unfolded in South-East London. The Lions led 3-1 at half-time and were seemingly home and hosed.

Yet incredibly, Rovers valiantly fought back mustering three second half goals to edge matters 4-3.

Ben Brereton Diaz struck the dramatic 86th minute decider. He tapped in from point blank range after originally starting the counter-attacking move himself with a lengthy buccaneering run.

It meant both sides fell short in reaching those Play-Offs. Blackburn finished seventh – missing out on goal difference - and Millwall ended up a point below in eighth because of just two conquests amid their closing nine games.

Incidentally, Brereton Diaz subsequently confirmed he has made his final Rovers appearance. The Chile international is tipped for a summer transfer to Spanish team Villarreal.


Sunderland sealed the last Play-off berth overcoming a two point pre-match deficit to attain sixth place via their 3-0 success away to Preston North End.

Although scoreless at the break, Amad Diallo, Alex Pritchard and Jack Clarke notched vital second half strikes to delight 6,000 jubilant travelling fans.

These were all picturesque efforts outside the box. In fact, Diallo’s stunning dipper into the top left hand corner was Monday’s best Championship goal in my opinion.

Anyway the Black Cats continue unconquered throughout nine outings, registering four triumphs within the latest six games.

They could clinch back-to-back Play-Off promotion in view of winning the League One Final 2-0 versus Wycombe Wanderers twelve months ago.


The other club clinging on to a slender opportunity of the Play-Offs were West Brom. They simply had to win at Swansea City and then pray other results went favourably.

Albion led twice but eventually succumbed 3-2 as Joel Piroe curled in a decisive stoppage time free-kick for the homesters. It left the Baggies in ninth place – three points beneath their target. 


The confirmed dates and fixtures are:

  • First leg: Sunderland v Luton Town (5.30pm on Saturday 13th May)

  • First leg: Coventry City v Middlesbrough (12 noon on Sunday 14th May)

  • Second leg: Luton Town v Sunderland (8pm on Tuesday 16th May)

  • Second leg: Middlesbrough vs Coventry City (8pm on Wednesday 17th May)

The Championship Play-Off Final will take place at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 27th May – kick-off 4.45pm.

*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to AP Photo*


Tony is a football reporter for talkSPORT Radio and Sky TV. He previously worked for Clubcall and Capital Gold.  

His devotion to Queens Park Rangers has now reached 50 seasons. Tony is also a Non-League football expert having visited almost 2,500 different football grounds in his matchday groundhopping. 

You can follow Tony on Twitter at @TonyIncenzo.