Millwall boss Gary Rowett: It’s about a top-two finish in Championship’s mini-league

Gary Rowett has talked about the congested nature of the Championship table and reckons you can almost break it down so that two play-off places are normally up for grabs outside of clubs without the benefit of parachute payments.

The Lions are 10th in the standings going into their Boxing Day match at Watford.

But only five points separates sixth place QPR and Stoke, down in 17th.

“There never is a lot [between it],” Rowett told the South London Press. “If you took a screenshot of every Championship table after 22 or 23 games I would imagine it would probably be quite similar.

“At the moment the top two are pulling away. Sometimes there are one or two teams at the bottom who look a bit more isolated than the rest. But it’s very rare that you get that.

“Normally as a manager if you are mid-table you are looking both ways and thinking ‘wow, if we lose a couple on the spin we’re going to be right down in the mix and if we win a couple we could be up in the play-offs’. That doesn’t change from season to season.

“You’re trying to win games, trying to climb the table and not look over your shoulder. That’s just the nature of the beast in this division. That will probably be the way it is until it starts to open out a little bit.

“Teams like West Brom and Middlesbrough, who nobody thought would be down at the bottom, are now showing a change of manager and the quality in their group. They will all be in the mix along with about 15 other clubs.

“It’s why it is such a difficult league. If you take two or three teams out of it that have got parachute money, then you are probably fighting for a couple of positions. You’ve basically got to be better than 18 or 19 other teams and finish in the top two of that mini-league. That’s not different to any other year.”

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