At the bottom of Championship League in the English football system one finds eight teams that are still at risk of being relegated to League One. Those teams, I would argue, are Aston Villa and the teams ranked below them. On the upside of the Championship League are the teams that are currently in the mix for promotion. Those teams are Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds United, Reading, Huddersfield Town, Brighton & Hove Albion, and Newcastle United.

How promotion works in Championship League

The teams that are guaranteed to be promoted are the top-two teams at season's end.

Currently, those ranks are occupied by first-placed Newcastle and second-placed Brighton & Hove Albion. There is a third promoted team, however this last promotion isn't earned directly with regular season standings. The teams ranked 3rd to 6th are entered into a promotion playoff in a semifinal/final format. Avoiding the battle for the last promoted spot is a big part of getting to the English premiership.

Huddersfield is the team that is currently ranked third in the Championship League, however they've been on excellent form of late. Since December 13th, they only have one loss against them and 12 wins, including victories in the FA Cup. Furthermore, over the weekend they earned a draw against Man City, the 2nd-placed team in the Premier League.

On Tuesday this week Huddersfield defeated Reading 1-0 in what was a key match. Reading remains in fourth place, but Huddersfield is now four points clear of them meaning it would take multiple game weeks for the deficit to be overcome. Furthermore, the Terriers, in getting the full three points for beating Reading, are only four and five points back of 2nd and 1st place respectively.

With a 46-game schedule and months of action still ahead, Huddersfield have plenty of time to make a move toward one of the top-two spots.

Key upcoming matches in Championship

All matches involving the top teams in the Championship League are gaining in importance as the late stages of the season approach. But in terms of head-to-head meetings between two contenders, Brighton & Hove Albion will host Reading this upcoming weekend (February 25th).

The match has enormous swing potential for Reading. If they should lose (and if Newcastle beat 21st-placed Bristol) then Reading would find themselves 11 points out of 2nd place. That would likely prove too large of a deficit to make up and Reading would then seem bound for promotion playoffs.

However, if Reading should win then there would be renewed optimism for getting to second place as they would find themselves withing five points of Brighton. A tie certainly doesn't work for Reading as a point each does nothing to help them make up a large deficit with chances dwindling.

Looking ahead to game-week 35, Huddersfield host Newcastle. Both teams have games before that match-up takes place, however when game time arrives on March 4th the swing potential could likewise be huge. But with the Terriers already going toe-to-toe with the Premier League's 2nd-placed team, it would be that Huddersfield are the team to beat from this point on.