05 May 2024

How the Championship play-off teams stack up with promotion on the line

05 May 2024

Ipswich clinched the Sky Bet Championship’s second automatic promotion place behind winners Leicester, leaving Leeds, Southampton, West Brom and Norwich to fight it out in the play-offs.

Leeds face Norwich and Southampton will play West Brom in the semi-finals, with the first leg of both ties taking place next Sunday at Carrow Road and The Hawthorns respectively.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at each club’s chances of reaching the final at Wembley on May 26.

Leeds (finished third, 90 points)

Daniel Farke’s side were top after beating Millwall in mid-March before their form dipped markedly after the final international break. They still looked a decent bet for a top-two finish after a 3-1 home win against Hull at the start of April, but after defeats to Coventry and Blackburn their 4-0 thrashing at QPR in their penultimate match scuppered their realistic chances. Leeds’ young side folded under the pressure while Leicester and Ipswich held their nerve, and Farke faces a huge task to lift his players in time for the trip to his former club Norwich.

Southampton (finished fourth, 87 points)

The Saints were well placed in the race for a top-two finish in February after a 22-game unbeaten league run, but they also suffered from untimely wobbles. They recovered from three losses in four games later that month before a costly late defeat at Ipswich at the start of April, and realistic hopes of automatic promotion were emphatically dashed in a 5-0 thrashing at Leicester. That was sandwiched by defeats to Cardiff and Stoke, but Russell Martin’s side rediscovered top form with an impressive last-day win at Leeds.

West Brom (finished fifth, 75 points)

Carlos Corberan’s side held fifth place for most of the season before three straight defeats heading into the final day left their play-off hopes in jeopardy. The Baggies needed a point from their last match against Preston to guarantee a play-off place and made sure by winning 3-0. While never challenging the top four for a top-two finish, they have proved to be best of the rest. They finished 12 points adrift of Southampton and have lost twice to them already this season, but their display under big pressure against Preston will have left their fans in good heart.

Norwich (finished sixth, 73 points)

The Canaries were in the bottom half of the table after losing 1-0 at Millwall in December, five points off the top six, but lost only four league games since to emerge as strong play-off challengers. They stumbled over the line after taking two points from their final three matches and must quickly rediscover the form which saw them beat East Anglian rivals Ipswich last month. But German boss David Wagner knows all about steering dark horses to the top flight via the play-offs following his unlikely success with Huddersfield in 2017.

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