Brentford are out to 5/4 in bwin’s Championship promotion odds after being held to a goalless draw by Birmingham on home turf.
That result left the Bees nine points behind second-placed Watford with a game in hand and the Hornets are 1/12 for a quick return to the Premier League.
Frustrated head coach Thomas Frank blamed luck, fine margins and a lack of quality in front of goal for his side’s failure to beat the Blues.
He said: “The first half was very good and we created lots of chances. If we’d taken one, it would have been a completely different game – but we didn’t, so we are here and it’s 0-0.”
Frank conceded automatic promotion now looks like a longshot, adding: “It is for Watford to lose.”
Norwich are 1/33 to go up as champions after a 7-0 thrashing of Huddersfield put them eight points clear of the Hornets, who drew 1-1 at Middlesbrough on Monday.
In the battle for play-off places, Swansea are a point below Brentford in fourth after losing 1-0 at home to Preston and can be backed at 4/1 for promotion.
That was a fourth straight defeat for the Welsh outfit, who have now failed to score in 448 minutes of action.
“We won’t give up on automatic promotion, but the top two picking up a lot more points than us makes that difficult,” said Steve Cooper.
“We’ve just got to get back to winning games, but it’s hard. You’ve got to get through the rocky periods and we are going through a difficult period – I’m not dressing that up.”
Tykes set record for road wins
Fifth-placed Barnsley secured a 2-1 success at Luton and have been trimmed to 4/1 in bwin’s Championship promotion odds.
Tykes boss Valerien Ismael was quick to pay tribute to his record-breaking side as they won a sixth consecutive away game for the first time in the club’s history.
“We are proud of the guys for their commitment,” said the French coach. “They are dedicated to our task and this is the most important thing.
“We have to keep that mentality in the last six games to push to give everything we have. We don’t want to have any regrets, as we have a big desire to stay where we are.”
Reading are sixth following a 3-1 home victory over Derby and are quoted at 10/1 to start next season in the top flight.
The Royals ended a run of four matches without a win and manager Veljko Paunovic stated: “It was a big result against a hard team.
“It wasn’t easy at all but it was a very good performance. We showed a lot of maturity and fierceness from the team, which shows that we all understand what an opportunity we have ahead of us.”
Seventh-placed Bournemouth can climb up into the play-off places if winning their game in hand and are available at 3/1 in this market.
Jonathan Woodgate was pleased with an ‘ugly’ win after the Cherries completed a hat-trick of league triumphs by beating Blackburn 2-0.
He commented: “It was a professional performance. We can play better at times but it’s a sign of a good team when you can grind out results and I thought we did that.
“I think since I’ve been here we’ve only had one defeat away from home, so we’ve improved that side of the game, which we needed to do.
“Coming away from home, it’s not all about being pretty. It’s about getting results and we did that. We were more clinical in both boxes.”
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