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Analysis

Championship 2023/24: Leicester, Leeds, Ipswich, Southampton in four-way automatic promotion battle

Watch Middlesbrough vs Leeds United live on Sky Sports Football from 7.30pm on Monday; kick-off 8pm | Then Leicester City vs Southampton live on Sky Sports Football from 7.30pm on Tuesday; kick-off 8pm

With the top four all having just three games left to play, we take a look at how the race for promotion to the Premier League is shaping up.

Four points separate Leicester, Ipswich and Leeds as we head into the final run-in, while Southampton are five points outside the automatic promotion places.

On Monday night, Leeds head to Middlesbrough - live on Sky Sports Football from 7.30pm; kick-off 8pm.

Monday 22nd April 7:30pm Kick off 8:00pm

A win takes them back above Ipswich into second, while defeat would give Leicester the opportunity to seal promotion in their next game. Should Boro beat Leeds, then three points for the Foxes on Tuesday night against Southampton - live on Sky Sports Football from 7.30pm; kick-off 8pm - will see them confirm their return to the Premier League.

Tuesday 23rd April 7:00pm Kick off 8:00pm

So who wants promotion the most? Who will hold their nerve to the last? And who is going to be left at the mercy of the play-offs?

Here, we take a look at the race for the Premier League...

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How Leicester can get promoted on Tuesday night

  • Leeds lose at Middlesbrough on Monday night
  • Leicester beat Southampton on Tuesday night

Current standings

How the table has changed

Upcoming fixtures

How & where to watch Championship on Sky
How & where to watch Championship on Sky

Here is how you can watch Sky Bet Championship matches live across Sky Sports in April as well as free match highlights throughout the season.

1st - Leicester, 91 points

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship clash between Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion

Leicester are back at the top of the Championship - and at least until Monday night, when Leeds face Middlesbrough, live on Sky Sports Football.

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Successive defeats to Millwall and Plymouth before that looked like they had derailed Leicester's title bid once again, but though their performance was unconvincing at the King Power, they managed to hold off West Brom and pick up three vital points no Saturday, which means they can still reach 100.

On Tuesday night, they face Southampton in their game in hand, which could have a huge bearing on how the final stretch of the season pans out.

2nd - Ipswich, 89 points

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Ipswich and Middlesbrough

Ipswich still stand a great chance of automatic promotion, but their form has started to buckle at the wrong time.

Since their dramatic last-minute win over Southampton on Easter Monday, Kieran McKenna's men have picked up just two of the nine points available, after the East Anglian derby defeat to Norwich and draws with Watford and Middlesbrough.

The two-point advantage over third-placed Leeds means their chances are still favourable, but with their final three opponents still chasing their own targets at both ends of the table, results must improve if they are to fend off their rivals to achieve back-to-back promotions.

3rd - Leeds, 87 points

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Blackburn Rovers

Leeds put together a superb run of 15 games unbeaten between New Year's Day and April 6, which was enough to briefly take them to the top of the Championship, but, again, they have stumbled under the pressure.

Daniel Farke's side have picked up just one point from their last three, losing to Coventry and Blackburn either side of a 0-0 draw against Sunderland at Elland Road on April 9 and need to hope the teams around them continue to suffer a dip in form in order to try and avoid the play-offs.

4th - Southampton, 84 points

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship clash between Cardiff City and Southampton

Ahead of their final run of four league matches, Southampton were the team in form. As their rivals stumbled, they thrived. It looked almost a formality that three straight wins would become four at Cardiff.

They took the lead through Joe Aribo, but Famara Diedhiou and teenager Cian Ashford scored in the second half to take the game from Russell Martin's men.

Win against Leicester on Tuesday and they are right back in the fight with two to play. Lose and the play-offs is as good as it gets.

Could it go down to goals scored?

If Leicester and Leeds finish level on points in second and third place, then automatic promotion for runners-up spot could go down to goals scored, with both sides currently level on goal difference.

Who is in the mix for the play-offs?

Who has the easiest run-in?

In terms of the average position of upcoming opponents, Ipswich have the easiest run-in - but that is skewed by Kieran McKenna's side hosting 23rd-placed Huddersfield on the final day after trips to Hull and Coventry.

Southampton have the toughest run with their average opponent standing seventh in the table - facing promotion rivals Leicester and Leeds on the road between hosting 17th-placed Stoke at the weekend.

Predicted table

According to Opta, the Foxes now have a 95 per cent chance of winning automatic promotion, while Ipswich (63 per cent) are favourites to claim the second spot.

Leeds remain in the hunt at 40 per cent, but Southampton's chances have plummeted to just two per cent after their defeat at Cardiff.

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