football

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

There are now just three rounds of the Sky Bet Championship season remaining.

Two points separate Leicester, Ipswich and Leeds as we head into the final run-in, while Southampton are seven points outside the automatic promotion places with two games in hand.

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

Ipswich still lead the way in the Sky Bet Championship with three games remaining, 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 and both ends of the table, results must improve if they are to fend off their rivals to achieve back-to-back promotions.

Leicester looked on track to keep their Championship title hopes in their own hands after successive wins over Norwich and Birmingham followed a worrying run of one win in six, yet back-to-back 1-0 away defeats at Millwall and Plymouth have dented their hopes of automatic promotion.

The days where they were on course to break Reading's record point total of 106 feel like an awfully long time ago now.

Much like Ipswich, the Foxes' final games of the season do not look anywhere near straightforward. They do still have one game in hand over both Ipswich and Leeds, though that is against Southampton, who are on the charge.

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.

It looked as though Saints had dropped out of the automatic promotion race after a run of three defeats in four in February saw them lose a touch of momentum when others were continuing to pick it up.

But the tables have been turned now; it seems as though they are right back in the mix, having won four and drawn two of the last seven.

They have two games in hand - the first of which is against Preston at St Mary's on Tuesday night, live on Sky Sports - and still have to face Leicester and Leeds. They still have ground to make up, but they could have a big say in how the table looks come May 4.

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