EFL

Championship run-in: Leicester, Ipswich and Leeds set for tense promotion scrap

By Sports Desk April 11, 2024

The Championship’s promotion race continues to head towards one of the most dramatic finishes in its history after the division’s three leading teams all failed to win their midweek matches.

Leicester are top on goal difference and have a game in hand on second-placed Ipswich, while Leeds sit a point behind in third.

Here, the PA news agency looks at how the race could play out.

Leicester (1st, played 41, 88 points, +42 goal difference)

Run-in: Plymouth (a), West Brom (h), Southampton (h), Preston (a), Blackburn (h).

Leicester looked virtually promoted two months ago and were 17 points ahead of Leeds at the turn of the year.

However, a 3-1 loss at Elland Road in February was damaging – it followed a home defeat to Middlesbrough – and Tuesday night’s setback at relegation battlers Millwall means they have now been beaten in five of their last nine league matches.

Their rivals both dropped points in midweek to leave them in pole position with a precious game in hand, but the Foxes must regroup quickly as they look anxiously over their shoulder.

Ipswich (2nd, P42, 88pts, +32GD)

Run-in: Middlesbrough (h), Hull (a), Coventry (a), Huddersfield (h).

It is easy to forget this is Ipswich’s first season back in the Championship and when they scored a winner in the seventh minute of added time against Southampton at the start of this month, back-to-back promotions felt closer than ever.

But that win was followed by a 1-0 defeat at derby rivals Norwich and after Leicester and Leeds had both dropped points on Tuesday, they missed the chance to climb back into top spot as they were held to a goalless draw at home to Watford.

And their next three fixtures are against sides bidding for a play-off place.

Leeds (3rd, P42, 87pts, +43GD)

Run-in: Blackburn (h), Middlesbrough (a), QPR (a), Southampton (h).

Daniel Farke’s men were unbeaten in the league in 2024 until last weekend when that run was halted at play-off chasing Coventry.

Leeds remain undefeated at home all season, but they were further frustrated on Tuesday in a goalless draw against Sunderland at Elland Road.

In Crysencio Summerville they have the division’s outstanding player with 17 goals and eight assists, but Leeds must quickly rediscover their creative flair after one win in their last four games has allowed fourth-placed Southampton to close the gap on them to nine points with two games in hand.

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