Sheffield Wednesday’s trip to Birmingham City today is a meeting of the Championship’s two surprise packages.
That is the verdict of Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal who says both sides should be still be classed as outsiders for promotion.
Carvalhal has long attempted to play down Wednesday’s promotion aspirations this term, despite their rise into the Championship’s top six in recent weeks.
“I believe also that Birmingham are outsiders and we are outsiders,” the Portuguese said. “We are running but running from the outside.
“Birmingham are also having a very good season.”
Gary Rowett’s Blues have recovered from a pre-season slump which saw them win just once in nine matches and are currently six
without loss in the league.
Well-travelled Carvalhal believes the Championship is the most competitive division in world football.
Hull City in top spot and Birmingham in eighth are separated by just nine points.
Even when looking at the competition levels in his native Portugal, Carvalhal says there is little comparison.
Carvalhal said: “It is difficult to compare with the first division in Portugal as Sporting, Benfica and Porto fight for the first position and usually in the Champions League.
“They have players from Brazil, Argentina and Portugal national teams and then after this two or three teams who are strong.
“The level is not high. There is a big gap between the big and small teams.
“The quality of the football is better but the spirit of the competition of this Championship is probably the hardest competition in the world.”