Championship promotion permutations and what Leeds United, Leicester City and Ipswich Town need to happen

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The Championship promotion race is edging towards a dramatic conclusion with the top two spots still up for grabs

In just 10 days' time, the regular Championship season will be over and we will know who has won the battle for promotion to the Premier League. Leicester City are in the driving seat, of course, with their 5-0 win over Southampton on Tuesday night putting them four points clear at the top of the division.

Leeds United and Ipswich Town are hot on their tail, though, and over the next week and a half they'll be doing all they can to pick up the points they need to win automatic promotion and avoid the dreaded play-offs. Southampton are still mathematically able to claim a spot in the top two as well, but given they sit six points behind the pace with just two games remaining, it looks unlikely.

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Ahead of the final few Championship fixtures then, we take a look at the permutations and more importantly, what Leeds United need to happen to get over the line.

Leicester City

The Foxes are nearly there after Tuesday night's emphatic win and they now know how many points it will take to be promoted to the Premier League at the first time of asking. They sit four points ahead of second placed Leeds and five above Ipswich, who have a game in hand, at present.

That means a win at Deepdale against Preston North End on Monday would be enough to get the job done and guarantee their spot in the top flight after dominating the Championship for much of the season. However, there's a chance they could be promoted before they even travel to Lancashire.

Should Leeds lose at QPR on Friday night, they would be unable to chase down Enzo Maresca's side, ensuring they would be guaranteed a top two spot. The title could be on the line on Monday, too, in that case, should Ipswich Town also fail to beat Hull City on Saturday.

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If Leicester were to lose on Monday having already seen results go against them this weekend, they would be left needing a win at the King Power Stadium on the final day against relegation-threatened Blackburn Rovers.

Remaining fixtures: Preston (a), Blackburn (h)

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Leeds United

Leeds know that even if they pick up maximum points over their next two games, it might not be enough. That would put them on 96 points, but remarkably they would still fall short if Leicester and Ipswich were to match them win for win over the final few days.

Ipswich's game in hand seems to be the swing game, with the Tractor Boys going to Coventry City on April 30 after seeing last weekend's fixture postponed due to the Sky Blues' FA Cup commitments. With a superior goal difference to their advantage, United need Ipswich to fail to win at least one of their three remaining games if they are to stand a chance of promotion.

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Of course, Leeds can only do what they can do and a win over QPR, who aren't mathematically safe from relegation just yet, would see them move four points clear of Ipswich and pile the pressure on ahead of the Suffolk side's trip to East Yorkshire. And, there is still the chance that Leeds could win promotion before the final day.

For that to happen, they must beat QPR and hope Ipswich fall short at both Hull and Coventry. If it does go down to the final day, though, Leeds will be given encouragement by the lacklustre performance Southampton turned in on Tuesday night.

Remaining fixtures: QPR (a), Southampton (h)

Ipswich Town

Ipswich entered last weekend on top of the Championship table and due to their inactivity, they have now slipped to third. The pressure is on then as they prepare to make the journey to Hull, who have fared well against the top sides this season and are fighting for their own chance to play in the Premier League next season, with a play-off spot still technically up for grabs, at the time of writing.

Saturday's clash will be far from straightforward for the Tractor Boys, but their brief is simple: win all of their remaining games and they will finish inside the top two. Given Ipswich haven't won any of their last three, though, that might well be easier said than done.

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They're feeling the pressure, but results in their next two would ease it considerably heading into their final fixture against Huddersfield Town, who are battling for their Championship lives. Their fate is in their own hands and to make sure of promotion they need to pick up one more win than Leeds.

Remaining fixtures: Hull (a), Coventry (a), Huddersfield (h)


Let's be honest, Southampton's chances of automatic promotion are now slimmer than slim. They're six points behind the pace and they would require a rather large goal difference goal difference swing given Leeds are +19 better off.

As a result, Southampton need something of a miracle and they should have more than one eye on preparing for the play-offs.

Remaining fixtures: Stoke (h), Leeds (a)