Championship leaders Leeds United will be looking to continue their promotion charge when they travel to Watford on Good Friday.

The Whites went into the international break on a high after usurping Leicester City for top spot, albeit on goal difference and with the benefit of having played a game more than the Foxes.

Leeds United, who had a raft of players away on international duty for the past two weeks, will be hoping that their players return in good health and that the break has not disrupted their momentum.

As the focus turns to the battles at both ends of the table and the race for play-off spots, all teams will be desperate to ensure that there is no international hangover.

Real football returns

Leicester City get the ball rolling after the international break with a lunchtime trip to Bristol City.

The Foxes will be targeting all three points which would catapult them back to the top of the Championship table.

Bristol City are on a wretched run of form, having taken just three points from the last 15 on offer. It is hard to see the Robins taking anything from this match, especially from a Leicester City side determined to cling on to at least one of the two automatic promotion places.

Leicester know that they cannot afford to keep on dropping points as they have done in the last few weeks during which regular slips-ups saw their 17-point lead over Leeds United wiped out.

To add to their woes, the Foxes were hit with a transfer embargo for breaching profit and sustainability rules. Their immediate priority, however, is to fend off their tenacious rivals in the promotion race.

Surprise package Ipswich Town, one point adrift of the Foxes, travel to Blackburn Rovers in search of points to keep themselves there and thereabouts.

Stirring a hornets’ nest

There is a good chance Leeds United will find themselves in third place by the time they walk out onto the Vicarage Road pitch on Good Friday evening.

The Whites will have the benefit of knowing both Leicester City and Ipswich Town’s results before locking horns with Watford.

Whatever the scenario at kick-off, Daniel Farke’s men can simply not afford too many slip-ups with just eight games left in the season.

Farke will check on the fitness of his returning internationals before finalizing his match-day squad.

Leeds United had as many as a dozen players on international duty. Wales quartet Dan James, Connor Roberts, Ethan Ampadu and Joe Rodon, Archie Gray and Charlie Cresswell (England U21), Wilfried Gnonto (Italy U21) Glen Kamara (Finland), Junior Firpo (Dominican Republic), Ilia Gruev (Bulgaria), Mateo Joseph (Spain U21), Liam Cooper (Scotland), were all away with their respective national teams.

Play-off door shut?

Norwich City, who occupy the final play-off spot, have a three-point buffer over their closest pursuers, Hull City, going into the Easter fixtures.

Several other teams could yet mount a late challenge. However, it will require quite some effort to gatecrash the current top six, which is increasingly beginning to look like a closed shop based on the current form book.

Can hopefuls pries open the play-off door?

Millers on the brink

Surely it is just a question of when and not if Rotherham United will be relegated. The Millers’ relegation fate could be sealed if they fail to win their next two matches.

They are 19 points adrift of safety and running out of games. Any turnaround in form will only serve to delay the inevitable.

With Rotherham to all intents and purposes a goner, the question is who will join them through the Championship draw.

Huddersfield Town and Sheffield Wednesday, separated by one point, currently complete the bottom three. However, their situations are by no means hopeless.

The Terriers and the Owls are just one and two points adrift of safety respectively. Crucially, there is only a fragile four-point gap between Huddersfield in the final relegation spot and Millwall in 16th place.

The likes of Millwall, Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City, Plymouth Argyle, QPR and Stoke City, could all get sucked into the relegation battle.

It’s squeaky bum time!


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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