True to form, Leeds United bounce back to start the New Year on the front foot while pushing Wayne Rooney through the exit door at St Andrew’s.

Meanwhile, Leicester City juggernaut chugs along as Tractor Boys run on fumes.

The game of cat and mouse between Sunderland and Hull City in the quarrel for the final play-off spot continues, with the two rivals swapping places once again.

Leicester City

Rampant Leicester City condemned Huddersfield Town to a 4-1 defeat to tighten their grip on top spot.

Enzo Maresca’s side moved 10 points clear at the top of the Championship table on the back of an eight win of a 10-match unbeaten run.

The Foxes have the Premier League scent in their nostrils and look destined for an instant return to English football’s top table, barring an inexplicable loss of form.

Leeds United

After the disappointing 1-0 defeat to West Brom last time, Leeds United dusted themselves down and returned to winning ways at Birmingham City’s expense.

The Whites responded to the stumble against the Baggies with a 3-0 drubbing of the hapless Blues to avert the ignominy of a third successive defeat.

The result was in keeping with Leeds United’s inconsistent season during which they have acquired notoriety for taking two steps forward and one step back.

On the back of the three points gained Daniel Farke’s men moved within four points of third-placed Southampton and seven behind Ipswich in the battle for the second automatic promotion spot.


Sunderland stole a march on rivals with a 2-0 over Preston North End in the New Year schedule’s early kick-off to leapfrog Hull City into sixth place.

The Black Cats would stay there after Hull City’s defeat a couple of hours later, with the two sides swapping occupation of the final play-off place for the second match-day running and the umpteenth time this season.

Sheffield Wednesday

Sheffield Wednesday sent another message to rivals that they will not go down without a fight.

The Owls beat 10-man Hull City 3-1 to leapfrog QPR into 22nd and move within three points of safety.

It was Sheffield Wednesday’s second successive win and the third in five matches as the Owls plot their escape from the relegation zone.

Coventry City

Coventry City’s 3-2 win at Middlesbrough, the fourth in a seven-match unbeaten run, catapulted the Sky Blues to within three points of the play-off positions.


Wayne Rooney

It was inevitable, wasn’t it? Birmingham City have sacked manager Wayne Rooney after only 83 days in charge.

The Blues’ 3-1 defeat at Leeds United on New Year’s, the 9th loss in 15 matches under Rooney, was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back.

Rooney, who took over from John Eustace with Birmingham City in sixth place, leaves the Blues in 20th, just six points above the relegation zone.

West Brom

Having beaten promotion rivals Leeds United in the previous round to cement their place in the top six, West Brom came a cropper against managerless Swansea City on New Year’s Day, slumping to a 1-0 defeat.

As a result of the defeat, the fifth-placed Baggies lost ground on Leeds United in fourth while their buffer over sixth was reduced to two points.


As they bid to overhaul Ipswich Town in second, Southampton will ruefully reflect on the 1-1 draw at Norwich City as an opportunity missed.

The stalemate at Carrow Road extended the Saints’ unbeaten run to 17 matches, but the failure to turn one point into three saw Russell Martin’s side spurn a glorious opportunity to close the gap to second-placed Ipswich Town.

Hull City

Surrendered the final play-off spot to Sunderland following a 3-1 defeat at basement side Sheffield Wednesday.


Ipswich Town

Ipswich Town’s goalless draw at Stoke City extended the Tractor Boys’ winless streak to five matches – four draws and one defeat.

As a result of that lean spell Ipswich have lost ground on leaders Leicester City, who now have a 10-pount cushion at the top of the Championship table.

Yet, despite the stuttering in recent weeks, Ipswich are still in second place with a three-point lead over Southampton. It is a reminder of how well Kieran McKenna’s side performed during the first half of the campaign, building a big enough buffer between themselves and the chasing pack while trying to keep Leicester City honest at the top.


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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