The three races within the Championship race – automatic promotion, play-offs and relegation – are gathering pace as the season inches closer to it’s conclusion.

Table-toppers Leicester City are hanging on with relentless Ipswich Town on their shoulders and Leeds United and Southampton also in hot pursuit.

The race for the play-off places is finely poised. A few outsiders are within striking distance of the top six, auguring for an intriguing race.

Meanwhile, in the battle for survival, to all intents and purposes Rotherham United’s goose is cooked.

Sky Bet Championship 2023/24 Standings
# Team Pl W D L F A GD Pts
1 Leicester City 36 26 3 7 72 31 41 81
2 Ipswich Town 36 23 9 4 73 47 26 78
3 Leeds United 36 23 7 6 66 28 38 76
4 Southampton 35 21 7 7 69 45 24 70

Leeds United pass Potters test

In the end it was all about the three points as Leeds United ground out a 1-0 win over a battling Stoke City side on Tuesday night.

Daniel James’s first half strike settled the cagey contest in front of an expectant if slightly nervy Elland Road crowd.

Needing to bounce back after dropping points at Huddersfield Town last Friday, the Whites produced a gritty performance with intermittent flashes of flair to claim all three precious points.

We are at that stage in the season where results are secondary to performances, where pragmatism trumps aesthetics.

Tuesday night’s display was a nod to this football doctrine. It wasn’t an ugly win, far from it, but a performance more workmanlike than swashbuckling.

As we were

Wins for Leicester City, Ipswich Town and Leeds United maintained the status quo at the top.

Leicester City ended a three-match winless streak with a narrow 1-0 win at Sunderland to maintain their three-point lead at the top of the Championship table.

It was another performance more adequate than dominant, enough to end a worrying barren spell. Just what the doctor ordered.

Meanwhile, at Portman Road fans were treated to a five-goal thriller.

Twice the Tractor Boys came from behind to claim all three points their now characteristic never-say-die attitude merited.

Kieran McKenna’s men never know when they are beaten. Their heads could have dropped after Ali Al-Hamadi missed a late penalty with the score level at 2-2, but true to their character they kept going and were duly rewarded with a priceless winner.

The victory keeps the Tractor Boys firmly in the automatic promotion equation, three points adrift of leaders Leicester City and two ahead of third-placed Leeds United.

The play-off battle

Barring a calamitous collapse by one or two of the current top four teams, the rest of the play-off hopefuls are jostling for the remaining two spots, with West Brom (5th) and Hull City (6th) the current holders.

Hull City could only manage a 1-1 draw with Birmingham City on Tuesday night, squandering the opportunity to move level on points with the Baggies, who could put a five-point buffer between themselves and the Tigers with victory at QPR on Wednesday night.

Hull City’s failure to take all three points off Birmingham City opens the door for Norwich City to break into the top six. A Canaries win over Jekyll and Hyde Middlesbrough on Wednesday night would see David Wagner’s side leapfrog the Tigers into sixth place.

Battle for survival

Despite beating Plymouth Argyle 1-0 for a fourth straight win, Sheffield Wednesday (23rd) remain in the relegation zone.

The Owls are one of four teams on 38 points separated by goal difference while a mere two points separate 16th and 23rd in a bunched up group fighting to stave off relegation.

If Sheffield Wednesday have momentum on their side and a fighting chance, Rotherham United look decidedly doomed.

A thumping 4-0 defeat by Coventry City condemned Rotherham to a ninth straight defeat, leaving the hapless Millers effectively 20 points adrift of safety with 30 points to play for.

It is increasingly beginning to look like a question of when rather than if Rotherham United will be relegated.


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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