Sheffield Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal says the true challengers for promotion from the Championship will rise to prominence in the New Year.
The Owls had been expected to push for a top two place and with it automatic promotion this campaign but their season has stuttered and they currently find themselves in 11th place, albeit just three points off the top six.
However, despite being around a third of the way through 2017/18, Carvalhal remains of the opinion that it is too early to predict who will be in the mix for a Premier League spot by looking at the table at this stage.
Ahead of Saturday’s visit of fourth-placed Bristol City, Carvalhal claims that the relative lack of midweek fixtures in comparison to previous seasons means form is more difficult to judge and that the sides who feature near the top after the crucial Christmas period will be the ones to watch.
“If you look to the competition this season compared to the last two, we haven’t played too many games in a row, we are playing one game a week, so far,” he said.
“In December there will be more games, in January also.
“Managing a team in these circumstances are different. It’s not the same as Saturday-Saturday. That’s more difficult.
“We haven’t had to deal with that yet.
“When that comes in some teams will manage well, some not so well. That’s normal. It’s important in the competition.
“In the end of January we will have a better view about what will happen. I still think it is early.
“It is balanced, there are teams in first positions, who are losing to teams at the bottom and teams with big expectations in the middle.”