They may not have played for nearly two weeks but those who have backed Burton Albion for League One glory will be sitting with a wry smile on their faces.
That is especially true of those shrewd punters who lumped on when the Brewers were 33/1 shots in the early stages of the campaign.
A couple of customers even had enough belief in the side that they wagered a three-figure sums at the biggest price available on them lifting the trophy in May.
Furthermore, they were a shorter price for relegation (11/2) than they were to be promoted (7/1) before a ball had been kicked.
Under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, the Staffordshire outfit forged a strong charge up the table, looking for back-to-back promotions after landing the League Two title last season.
When the Dutchman left, you could have been forgiven for thinking that they would drop away, however the return of Nigel Clough has seen the Pirelli Stadium continue to bounce.
Two wins and a draw since Hasselbaink departed has seen Albion rise to the peak of the third tier table, and their price to finish there has been cut to as short as 5/2.
There’s been no fluke about their climb into the promotion places either, with 19 points accrued from a possible 27 against the other teams currently occupying the top-10 in the division.
The failure for clubs around them to pick up points in the last week – second place Gillingham lost, while Walsall were held to a draw – now sees them with a point advantage, and at least one game in hand on those pursuers.
There could be even more to come from the league leaders in the coming weeks with boss Clough signalling that he wants to strengthen his squad in all areas.
The acquisition of goalkeeper Stephen Bywater – a stopper who worked with the man in charge at Derby County five years ago – as back-up for Jon McLaughlin, adds plenty of experience on competition for the place between the sticks.
If they can continue to build, don’t be shocked to see Burton pull even further away from their pursuers.
In a season that has seen the likes of Leicester flourish at the top half of the Premier League table, while defending champions Chelsea have floundered, it shouldn’t be a shock to see the division’s newcomers in such a lofty position.
It certainly won’t be for those with the foresight and/or belief that Championship football could be taking place at the Pirelli Stadium next season.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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