Filed: Friday, 13th April 2012
By: Staff Writer
West Ham will be just three points away from the automatic promotion places should they beat Brighton at the Boleyn Ground tomorrow afternoon.
Reading's remarkable run continued at St Mary's this evening as they brushed aside Nigel Adkins' Southampton 3-1 - a result that takes the Royals three points clear at the top of the Championship table, despite having been under the cosh for the majority of the game.
The win means that Brian McDermott's side need just four points from their remaining three games to be absolutely certain of promotion to the Premier League - but it was a result that also gives West Ham a lifeline in the race for automatic promotion.
Southampton, who have led the table for most of the season are currently six points ahead of West Ham albeit having played a game more. And Sam Allardyce's side have the opportunity to halve that gap when they face the Seagulls at the Boleyn tomorrow afternoon.
The Saints, who were promoted from League One last season have now won just one of their last four fixtures, having been thrashed 3-0 at Blackpool on March 31st before conceding a last minute equaliser at home to deadly rivals Portsmouth that cost them a further two points.
Sandwiched between those games and tonight's defeat was a 2-0 win at a woefully out-of-form at Crystal Palace.
Unfortunately for West Ham, Southampton's superior goal difference - +34 compared to United's +25 - could yet be worth an extra point come the end of the season, meaning that two wins from their final three games of the season - away to Peterborough and Middlesbrough then at home to Coventry - will, bar a miracle, be enough to see them promoted.
However the Saints' recent disappointing form, combined with a win for West Ham against Brighton tomorrow could mean that their return to the Premier League is not quite the foregone conclusion it appeared to be just a week ago.
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