The key Championship fixtures and permutations that will decide Leeds United's play-off fate

Frank Lampard and Derby County hold the advantage heading into the weekend for the final play-off spot.
Frank Lampard and Derby County hold the advantage heading into the weekend for the final play-off spot.
0
Have your say

Leeds United are readying themselves for the end-of-season play-offs with just one game of the league campaign to go - but who could they come up against?

Marcelo Bielsa's side travel to Ipswich Town this weekend knowing that a point on top of the 83 already acquired will be enough to secure third spot in the Championship.

Regardless of the outcome at Portman Road, Leeds will hold home advantage in the second leg of the play-off semi-finals as they are unable to finish below fourth in the table.

Should Bielsa's men fall to defeat in Suffolk, a West Bromwich Albion victory would see United take on guaranteed fifth-placed finishers Aston Villa in the play-offs due to the Baggies superior goal difference.

Leeds, though, will be confident of acquiring at least the point needed against Paul Lambert's League One bound side.

So... if United do in fact finish the season in third, who could they come up against?

The race for the final play-off spot remains wide open following Derby County's 1-1 draw with Swansea City at the Liberty stadium on Wednesday evening.

Frank Lampard's side hold the slender advantage ahead of Sunday's final day of the season, with the Rams sitting sixth with 71 points from their 45 games.

Middlesbrough are just a point behind in seventh while Bristol City remain a further point back in eighth position.

But what are the key weekend fixtures that could decide the three-way clash for the final play-off spot? Let's take a look...

Derby County (6th) vs West Bromwich Albion

Derby hold the slender advantage heading into the weekend but face a tricky test.

West Brom, who have themselves already secured play-off football, are the visitors to Pride Park on Sunday lunchtime.

The Baggies themselves may be motivated by the fact they could still finish third with a win should Leeds fall to defeat at Ipswich. That would then see Albion avoid a semi-final clash with cross-city rivals Aston Villa.

Frank Lampard's side, though, enter the fixture in control of their own fate in the hunt to extend their season.

Three points will secure the Rams a shot at promotion to the Premier League through the play-offs and end any hope for the chasing pack regardless of results elsewhere.

A point is also likely to be enough should Middlesbrough fail to beat Rotherham, with County seven goals better off than Bristol City - a major swing in goal difference would be needed even if the Robins win.

Rotherham United vs Middlesbrough (7th)

On paper Middlesbrough have the easiest fixture of the three sides chasing sixth position.

Tony Pulis takes his side to South Yorkshire on Sunday to face already-relegated Rotherham United.

A victory for the Teessiders will be enough to sneak into the final play-off spot should Derby drop points at home to West Brom.

Paul Warne's side, though, will be wanting to wave a winning goodbye to the Championship after the Millers lost their battle to beat the drop last weekend as they prepare for life in League One.

Hull City vs Bristol City (8th)

Bristol City make the trip to East Yorkshire on Sunday as the outsiders in the race for the play-offs.

Lee Johnson's men would realistically need a Derby defeat and Middlesbrough to drop points whilst themselves coming away victorious at the KCOM.

City, though, will be hopeful that the Tigers have already checked their baggage for the summer holidays with Hull sitting in 13th ahead of the fixture.

Nigel Adkins’ side boast a strong home record but fell to a 3-0 defeat to Sheffield United on Easter Monday which was their first loss on home soil in over five months.

The Robins will need favours from elsewhere but must first concentrate on winning their own fixture if they are to do the unthinkable.

A Derby defeat mixed with Middlesbrough dropping points at Rotherham is the most likely route in for Johnson's men, given a seven-goal swing would be required should County pick up a point against West Brom.