Leon Wobschall: Yorkshire bosses learning not to take anything for granted in rapidly fluctuating Championship

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A WEEK is a long time in politics - and it can feel like an eternity in football.

Anyone seeking further clarity of that fact could do better than speak to supporters of Leeds United, Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley and Hull City during the current international break.

How things can change in a short, modest space of time. Recent statistics don’t just spell this out, but positively nail it.

Leeds, fresh from a restorative 3-0 victory at Bristol City, were in fourth place before their Yorkshire derby with Sheffield United on October 27. Three games later, they are 10th.

Meanwhile, Boro and the Owls were languishing in 13th and 16th respectively before their final weekend appointment last month.

Now the picture is a fair bit rosier, with the Teessiders having soared up to fifth place and Wednesday in 11th spot, just three points adrift of the side currently occupying the final play-off spot in Aston Villa - the team they beat 2-1 on Saturday.

It is about playing the long game in the Championship. Plenty of parties and wakes await this season for supporters of all of Yorkshire’s sides, but it is best to avoid being too intoxicated at either.

Leon Wobschall

Both sides are looking upwards and a few boulders have been taken out of the hefty rucksacks being carried by Garry Monk and Carlos Carvalhal in the process.

Barnsley too are starting to look at the league table with rather more satisfaction of late, with their total of league points pretty much identical to the corresponding stage of last season - when a winter surge saw them briefly eye a play-off tilt.

Ahead of their recent trip to Hillsborough on October 28, the Reds were in 19th place, just two points above the drop zone. Now, they are in 16th position and as close to the top six as they are to the relegation positions.

Compact and bijou in mid-table in 14th spot ahead of the final weekend in October, with thoughts even drifting towards propelling themselves into play-off contention with a fair wind, Hull have suffered the flip side.

They now find themselves anxiously looking over their shoulders three games and three defeats on in 20th position - and currently preparing for a relegation scrap in the words of captain Michael Dawson.

That’s the Championship for you. A fluid, fluctuating division where coupons are busted and taking things for granted is as perilous as swimming with sharks.

A few sweet or dodgy results in the space of week can quickly turn things on their heads. And then again, with the notion that the Championship does not truly settle down until the New Year being a pertinent one. Sometimes, it never truly behaves itself.

After recommencing Championship business in a week-and-a-half or so, three games will quickly arrive in a week - and do not be surprised to see the division look different once again by the close of play on the final weekend league programme of November. Perhaps the only thing predictable about this division is it’s unpredictability.

No manager has perhaps sampled the turbulence and tailwinds of Championship fortunes this season than Carvalhal. Knifes were being sharpened - not for the first time - and obituaries were being penned just a few weeks ago, but the Portuguese is nothing but a survivor.

Well known for his idiosyncrasies in press conferences and curious analogies he may be – with fish, chickens, potatoes and music among the bizarre things mentioned in the past – Carvalhal’s constant refrain that the Championship is a ‘marathon not a sprint’ is as succinct as it gets. Forget the cliche.

The mood music at Hillsborough may have been subdued this season, but the fact remains that their total of 23 points from 16 games is identical to the Owls haul from the same amount of games in the play-off final near miss of 2015-16. As for last season when the Owls also reached the top-six? Well they had just one more point from 16 matches.

For all the recent hand-wringing at Leeds too, there is perspective. The fact remains that they have amassed three more points than at the same stage of last season.

Lest we forget, it was a season when they emerged as candidates for outside promotion in mid-season and looked nailed on for the play-offs until their late collapse.

It is about playing the long game in the Championship. Plenty of parties and wakes await this season for supporters of all of Yorkshire’s sides, but it is best to avoid being too intoxicated at either.