Three key Leeds United fixtures compared to Leicester, Ipswich, Southampton in Championship promotion race

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Leeds United's promotion run-in kicks off at Watford on Good Friday.

After months of jostling for position, the Championship's four runaway teams will kick off their promotion run-in on Good Friday. There are now between 10 and 12 games left for two of Leeds United, Leicester City, Ipswich Town and Southampton to book a spot in next season's Premier League.

Leeds went top for the first time all season after beating Millwall 2-0 earlier this month, clawing back 17 points on previous leaders Leicester before overtaking them on goal difference. But after a small blip, Ipswich have kept pace while Southampton will pull within touching distance if they win both their games in hand.

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Any two of the aforementioned quartet could end up in the top two come May and this is the time of the season when each team starts to really look at opposition fixtures and results. The Championship can often throw up some surprise scorelines but Leeds fans will be eyeing those tougher fixtures as potential speedbumps, and the YEP has taken a look at three key dates for them and all three rivals.

Leeds United - 1st

The toughest period for Leeds comes pretty quickly, with Friday's trip to Vicarage Road followed by games against two in-form, play-off chasing teams. Hull City come to Elland Road on Easter Monday and have recently taken points off Leicester and Southampton as part of a seven-match unbeaten run, while Coventry City took a point from Elland Road in December and have only lost twice at home all season.

While the prospect of a surprise result is never ignored, Leeds will fancy themselves against most remaining opposition but the final day meeting with Southampton at Elland Road has long been earmarked as a massive game. Farke will hope to enjoy a dead-rubber, having already gone up, but there is no sign of anyone pulling away any time soon.

Key fixtures: Hull City (H), April 1 | Coventry City (A), April 6 | Southampton (H), May 4

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Leicester City - 2nd

Enzo Maresca's side were top of the Championship for more than 25 weeks but have spent the break in an unfamiliar role as chasers. An expected victory at Bristol City on Good Friday will see them go top, even if only briefly, but the Easter Monday visit of Norwich to the King Power Stadium will be tough, given the Canaries are the league's third-best team since the turn of the year.

A potential advantage of Leicester's is that all three of their toughest games on paper are at home, with consecutive games at the King Power seeing them host West Brom and Southampton towards the end of April. That the latter has been rescheduled to fill a midweek gap could present a problem, however, meaning a crucial four-day period for the Foxes.

Key fixtures: Norwich City (H), April 1 | West Brom (H), April 20 | Southampton (H), April 23

Ipswich Town - 3rd

Seven wins in eight has seen Ipswich keep pace with Leeds and only two added-time Cardiff City goals has kept them out of the top two for the international break. A trip to Blackburn on Good Friday should yield three more points but Kieran McKenna's side then go to Southampton on Easter Monday, meaning at least one of Leeds' promotion rivals will drop points.

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The following weekend will see Ipswich go to Norwich in the second East Anglian derby, with the Canaries having the added motivation of hopefully ending their rivals' promotion hopes before meeting them in the play-offs. Having already taken points off Leicester and Southampton in recent weeks, a trip to Hull City towards the end of April will be another huge game.

Key fixtures: Southampton (H), April 1 | Norwich City (A), April 6 | Hull City (A), April 27

Southampton - 4th

Russell Martin's side have the most games to squeeze and and the toughest fixtures remaining, with trips to all three main promotion rivals still to come. The Saints go to Ipswich on Easter Monday after hosting Middlesbrough on Friday.

That midweek trip to Leicester means yet again, at least one of Leeds' rivals will drop points ahead of the penultimate week of the campaign. And then there is that trip to Elland Road on the final day, for which Martin will hope there is still plenty to play for.

Key fixtures: Ipswich (A), April 1 | Leicester City (A), April 23 | Leeds United (A), May 4