​Ah, the Premier League winter break. A new and annoying creation put in place to stagger top-flight football and pointlessly make our lives more complicated as we all frantically check whether our team is playing this week or next.


But don't fear, there isn't a great deal of Premier League action worth watching anyway. Cue the Championship.


As another frantic weekend of topsy-turvy second tier football comes to a climax, there has been a fair amount of headway made. West Brom extended their lead following another characteristic Leeds slip-up, while a host of dark horses threw their hat in the ring for potential automatic promotion, and things are looking perilous for some of the league's struggling sides.


Let's take a quick look at what's been going on in the chaotic confines of the Championship.


Millwall 0-2 West Brom

​West Brom took advantage of more dropped points from title rivals Leeds to move four points clear atop the Championship table. Slaven Bilic​'s Baggies have asserted themselves again at the summit, while Millwall fall down to tenth, five points off the top six.

Goals late in each half from Filip Krovinovic and Dara O'Shea secured a vital three points for West Brom, who will already have one eye on Premier League football next season.


Bristol City 1-3 Birmingham

Birmingham's recent resurgence took Bristol by surprise this Friday, beating the hosts 3-1 at Ashton Gate and stopping the Robins moving further away from seventh place. 

Despite a very, very early goal for Bristol, the Blues fought back, securing the points in injury time courtesy of Lukas Jutkiewicz. The result ended Bristol City's run of four consecutive 1-0's - three of which they won - and means Birmingham are still unbeaten since New Year's Day.


Wigan 1-2 Preston

Well, who would have expected this from little old Preston North End? It's been a fair old while since they have hit the lofty heights of the top tier, and what better way to move within five points of automatic promotion than an emphatic Lancashire derby victory.

A goal and an assist from the in-form Tom Barkhuizen was enough to see off a late push following what turned out to be nothing more than a second-half consolation from Wigan's Cheyenne Dunkley. But the damage was already done for the Latics, who are now four points adrift of safety.


Barnsley 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday

There was also time this weekend for a good old South Yorkshire derby, with spoils shared between Barnsley and the visiting Owls​ at Oakwell. The result proved another damning one for the hosts, who now sit eight points away from escaping the dreaded relegation zone.

Josh Windass' debut opener was quickly cancelled out by Cauley Woodrow, all before half-time, and leaving Sheffield Wednesday the happier of the two sides and sat in 11th - although it was perhaps an opportunity to push for the playoffs. 


Blackburn 0-1 Fulham

It was nervy, but ​Fulham's resolute back line held out for a crucial win at Ewood Park on Saturday.​ The win sees the Cottagers go level on points with Leeds, behind only on goal difference, while Blackburn return to the mediocrity of mid-table.

And who else but Aleksandar Mitrovic got the winner - his 20th Championship goal of the season.


Brentford 3-2 Middlesbrough

Despite a valiant effort from the visiting Middlesbrough - who twice came from behind to level the scores - Brentford continued their sensational run of form and took another step towards potential promotion to the Premier League. The result leaves the Bees just two points from second place, and, with the best goal difference in the division, things are looking rosy at Griffin Park.​

Ollie Watkins continued his goalscoring form, grabbing the winner three minutes from normal time, and condemned Boro to another game without a win - making it seven in all competitions.


Huddersfield 2-0 QPR

The Terriers bounced back from their 3-2 defeat at Fulham to move within three points of Saturday's opponents, who have now lost their last four matches in all competitions. 

Just the second win of 2020 for the Cowley brothers came courtesy of two goals in four minutes from Elias Kachunga and Steve Mounie, the latter coming from the penalty spot.


Luton Town 0-1 Cardiff

Cardiff moved to within just four points of the playoff places following their narrow victory against struggling Luton at Kenilworth Road. The result leaves the Hatters further adrift at the foot of the table, now sitting nine points away from safety.​

Lee Tomlin's second-half goal turned out to be enough for the visitors, and takes the Welsh side's top scorer up to seven league goals for the season. It was also the Bluebirds' first clean sheet in six matches, while it's the second successive game without a goal for Luton.


Reading 1-1 Hull

In a seemingly inconsequential clash between two sides towards the middle of the bottom half of the table​, it was unsurprisingly a rather dull draw. The result means Reading are still just a point behind Hull in 14th, who themselves have probably accepted another year of Championship football as they sit ten points off the top six.

Jordan Obita's 56th-minute strike was ruled out by a Mallik Wilks goal in the final ten minutes, and it means the first points in the Championship for Hull since New Year's Day.


Stoke 3-1 Charlton

The Potters secured a crucial win towards the bottom of the table on Saturday afternoon, leapfrogging their opponents and moving five points clear of the bottom three. Meanwhile, Charlton are still four points clear of the drop, but will be looking over their shoulders following a disappointing defeat.​

Goals from three former Premier League flops were enough to send ​Stoke to victory, with James McClean, Tom Ince and Nick Powell all netting for the hosts - with an assist from Joe Allen chucked in for good measure too.


Swansea 2-3 Derby

Swansea suffered a blow in their race to return to the Premier League on Saturday, throwing away a 2-1 lead at home to travelling Derby County. The result lifts the Rams to 13th, just three points behind the 9th place Swans.​

A late goal from Tom Lawrence eventually completed a spirited comeback from Derby, who have now won four of their last six matches, while defeat for the hosts leaves them without a win in three.


Nottingham Forest 2-0 Leeds

Now for the game of the weekend. Two historic English sides coming head to head in a bid for promotion back to where they belong - it had all the hallmarks of a mouthwatering tie. It was hosts ​Forest who ended up with the bragging rights, moving them within one point of ​Leeds, who are beginning to lose their cool once more.​

Sammy Ameobi's first-half opener was added to in stoppage time by Tyler Walker, rounding off a perfect day for Forest and compiling misery on Marcelo Bielsa - whose side continue to choke week after week.