Championship promotion race: Where Leicester, Leeds, Ipswich and Southampton all stand

Vardy could take Leicester back up this season (Action Images)
Vardy could take Leicester back up this season (Action Images)

The Premier League title race is the most exciting in years, but the automatic promotion race in the Championship is just as enthralling.

Just two points separate Leicester, Leeds and Ipswich, with fourth-placed Southampton five further back but still in the mix.

Here, Standard Sport assesses the clubs fighting to get into the top-flight.

Leicester: 91 points, played 43

They may be the leaders and favourites to go straight back up after relegation last season, but they have squandered a 17-point lead and are now top by only a point, so the significance of tonight’s meeting with Southampton at the King Power Stadium cannot be overstated. Jamie Vardy is now 37 but has scored 15 goals and has been flying again this season, while Stephy Mavididi, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and Harry Winks have all excelled.

Leeds: 90pts, played 44

Leeds have never been too far from the summit, but their promotion push only really took off this year. Daniel Farke’s side started 2024 in imperious form, winning 12 and drawing one of their first 13 league games of the year. Their performance in Monday night’s thrilling 4-3 win at Middlesbrough was a counter-attacking masterclass and showed goalscoring winger Crysencio Summerville at his best. But they have played a game more than their rivals.

Leeds beat Middlesbrough in a crucial game on Monday night (Getty Images)
Leeds beat Middlesbrough in a crucial game on Monday night (Getty Images)

Ipswich: 89pts, played 43

Failure to reach the Premier League for the first time since 2002 would be a travesty for Ipswich, given the magnificent season they have enjoyed. Led by 37-year-old Kieran McKenna, they were promoted from League One last season and have back-to-back promotions still in their hands. Recruitment has been a key factor to their success, having signed English-based players and struck a good balance between experience (Massimo Luongo and Kieffer Moore) and youth (Leif Davis and Jeremy Sarmiento).

Southampton: 84pts, played 43

All three of last season’s relegated clubs have sustained promotion pushes right to the end. Russell Martin’s side made a plodding start, but what looked like a season in mid-table soon gathered pace. Adam Armstrong and Che Adams have 36 league goals and 16 assists between them. West Ham loanee Flynn Downes has shone in midfield, but he has been injured and Saints have struggled without him.