On Saturday the curtain comes down on a drama-filled 2023-24 EFL Championship season with plenty riding on a raft of do-or-die final-day fixtures.

Below we look at who needs what in the battles for automatic promotion, the play-offs and the scramble to escape relegation.

Automatic promotion

Leicester City will be promoted back to the Premier League as EFL champions. After a wretched run of form that saw them throw away a 17-point lead, the Foxes regrouped and got back on track when it mattered most.

Enzo Maresca’s side’s promotion was confirmed after Leeds United fell at QPR last Friday. Then there was the small matter of the title, which the Foxes wrapped up with a 2-1 victory at Coventry City earlier in the week.

Second-placed Ipswich Town, three points ahead of Leeds United, need a point in their final game at home to relegation-threatened Huddersfield to claim the second automatic spot.

If the Tractor Boys avoid defeat, they will relegate Leeds United to the play-offs.

Leeds United can only secure automatic promotion on goal difference, if they beat Southampton and Huddersfield beat Ipswich Town.

Pretty straightforward isn’t it?

Race for play-off spots

Southampton will finish fourth whether they lose or win on Saturday. They will be in the hat for the promotion play-off semi-finals, along with the dropout from the second automatic promotion race.

Mathematically, two play-off spots will be up for grabs on the final day, with three teams in contention.

Hull City are the only side still with a chance of gate-crashing the top-six on the final day. That can only be achieved at the expense of either West Brom (6th) or Norwich City (5th).

If Norwich City and West Brown, respectively three and two points better off than Ipswich Town, avoid defeats on Saturday, then they will all but seal their play-off berths, the Canaries guaranteed, the Baggies all but.

Nothing short of a victory will give Hull City a shot at qualification.

Relegation battle

The battle for safety is going down to the wire.

We go into the final day with five sides still in relegation peril, all desperate to avoid joining Rotherham through the Championship exit door.

Three points separate Blackburn Rovers (19th) and Birmingham City in the final relegation spot.

Blackburn and Sheffield Wednesday, level on points, are not quite out of danger, but their safety will be guaranteed if they avoid defeats.

Plymouth Argyle, one point above the relegation zone, have their destiny in their own hands.

 Meanwhile, Birmingham City (22nd) and Huddersfield Town (23rd) need results elsewhere to go their way.

Key fixtures

To add to the intrigue of the final day, a few fixtures pit sides fighting for contrasting causes against each other.

Leeds United v Southampton

Leeds United must beat Southampton to stand a chance of securing automatic promotion.

West Brom v Preston

West Brom, who are on a three-match losing streak, will seal play-off qualification with victory over Preston, who are on a run of four consecutive defeats.

Because of their vastly superior goal difference, a draw might even be enough for the Baggies even if Hull City beat Plymouth Argyle, unless the Tigers win by a ridiculously huge margin.

Plymouth v Hull City

A meeting between relegation-threatened Plymouth Argyle, who are a point above the drop zone, and play-off chasing Hull City

Defeat or a draw will end Hull City’s play-off hopes. Victory will guarantee Plymouth’s safety, although a draw or even defeat could see Argyle escape the drop if both Birmingham City and Huddersfield lose.

Ipswich v Huddersfield

Ipswich need to avoid defeat to secure automatic promotion. They could still lose and claim the second automatic promotion berth is Leeds United fail to beat Southampton.

Huddersfield, second from the bottom, need maximum points to stand a chance of avoiding the drop.

Birmingham City v Norwich City

Norwich City need a draw to seal their play-off spot. Because of their significantly bigger goal difference over Hull City, the Canaries could still qualify.

Meanwhile, Birmingham City, who occupy the final relegation spot,  will stand a chance of staving off the drop if they win and results elsewhere go their way.

It’s the proverbial do-or-die final day of an intriguing EFL Championship campaign.


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

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