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EFL: Dan Childs' October review

After a hectic October the picture has changed in the Championship promotion race, with Burnley forging clear at the top, Blackburn Rovers, QPR and Swansea City gaining ground and Sheffield United, Norwich City and Watford struggling for consistency.

Plymouth Argyle, Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday continue to impress in the League One title race and Leyton Orient overcame a slight wobble to re-assert themselves at the top of League Two.

With the World Cup and the early rounds of the FA Cup fast approaching, Racing Post football expert Dan Childs takes stock and assesses the promotion and relegation battles across the EFL.

Consistent Clarets move into pole position

Burnley, 13/8 to win the Championship, have emerged as the clear favourites in the Championship title race but it is too early to consider the Clarets a shoo-in for an immediate return to the Premier League.

Vincent Kompany's side have lost just one league game and, in recent times, they have found the knack of winning tight matches, including Saturday's 2-1 success at home to Reading when they were slightly fortunate to take maximum points.

Just two points below Burnley are their Lancashire rivals Blackburn, who have reeled off four successive victories.

Rovers, 4/1 to be promoted, are on a great run, but they rely a lot on Ben Brereton Diaz, who has scored eight of their 23 goals.

QPR and Swansea also had excellent months, adding 15 and 16 points respectively, and cannot be discounted, while Sheffield United, Norwich and Watford have a few questions to answer after failing to live up to expectations.

However, the promotion shake-up remains wide open with 10 points covering the top 11.

Baggies could face a relegation battle

The battle to stay in the Championship could be even tighter than the race for promotion and there are increasing concerns for West Brom, who are propping up the table with 14 points from 17 games.

Albion parted company with Steve Bruce after a drab 0-0 draw at home to Luton Town, but they have lost three of four games since the 61-year-old's departure, including Saturday's 2-0 defeat at home to the Blades, which was their opening match under Carlos Corberan.

The Baggies, 9/1 to be relegated, were unfortunate on several occasions earlier in the season, but their performances have dipped and they need to be careful because the relegation scrap looks extremely competitive.

Slow-starting Huddersfield Town have won three of their last four home games, Coventry City have collected 14 points from eight October fixtures and Hull City have triumphed on their last two road trips.

Lots of teams are in danger of getting dragged in, including Rotherham United, who are 7/4 for the drop despite being 13th.

Argyle continue to enjoy Home Park comforts

League One leaders Plymouth are showing no signs of easing up and they extended their lead over second-placed Ipswich to four points with a 4-2 success at home to Devon rivals Exeter City on Monday.

Argyle have retained the only 100 per cent home record in the EFL and are unbeaten on the road since August.

They deserve to be considered as genuine title contenders but serious competition is being offered by Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday, who amassed October points totals of 16 and 13.

Portsmouth have fallen off the searing pace set by Plymouth after winning just one of their last seven league fixtures, and they might have to switch their sights towards a top-six finish.

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Stanley on the slide

It is looking tighter than ever towards the bottom of League One and slow-starting MK Dons appear to be moving in the right direction after taking four points from their last two games.

Liam Manning's Dons have the ability to climb away from the bottom four, but a long season is on the cards for Forest Green Rovers, Burton Albion and Morecambe, who remain in the thick of the relegation scrap.

Accrington have had a miserable month - losing five of six league games - and may continue to struggle until they recover some of their injured players, with Stanley now 2/1 to be relegated.

Orient continuing to express themselves

League Two leaders Leyton Orient went three games without a win at the start of October, but they ended the month with three successive wins and look well-placed to finish top of the pile.

Second-placed Stevenage should remain in the automatic promotion hunt if they can maintain their strong home record (seven wins in eight games) and Swindon Town are a team to watch after adding ten points from their last four matches.

Injuries have hampered Northampton Town's progress, but the Cobblers should come again in the promotion race.

New manager bounce affecting relegation tussle

The League Two relegation battle is extremely tight with three points covering the bottom six.

Hartlepool United, Rochdale and Crawley Town have responded well to new managers - Keith Curle, Jim Bentley and Lewis Young - leaving Colchester United, Gillingham and Harrogate Town at increased risk of dropping into the National League.

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