Brighton & Hove Albion bounced back from the disappointment of a home reverse against Watford to claim a first win in six Championship games with an impressive 3-0 triumph at Ipswich.
The Tractor boys have improved considerably under the leadership of new manager Mick McCarthy to move away from the drop zone and this comprehensive victory was certainly contrary to recent form for both clubs.
With Cardiff opening a seven-point lead at the top and current 4/6 favourites to lift the title, it looks likes the rest might be playing for second place in the quest for automatic promotion.
The play-off places remain wide open with the Seagulls ninth, but a mere three points adrift of Watford in sixth.
BetVictor quote Albion at 2/1 to finish in the top six and 8/1 to gain promotion.
The Seagulls host poor travellers Derby in their next Championship fixture before playing crisis club Birmingham City at St Andrews.
With struggling Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley on the horizon in early February the immediate fixture list should yield valuable points and Albion have every chance of being in the top six by the beginning of March.
This weekend the top two divisions take a break from league action when they enter the FA Cup third round - Brighton are involved in one of the more intriguing ties when they host Newcastle United in front of the live ITV cameras with a lunchtime kick-off on Saturday.
The injury-hit Geordies are uneasy favourites at 29/20 with Albion 2/1 and the draw 12/5. Newcastle are yet to register an away win in the Premier League and Brighton will feel very confident of at least a replay - they are 11/10 to qualify with the Magpies 4/6.
Craig Mackail Smith is 11/2 to open the scoring for the hosts followed by Ashley Barnes at 7/1 and Will Buckley on 8/1.
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