Ipswich Town have a break, with just under two weeks until their next Championship game against Hull City at 8pm on Saturday, April 27th.

In that time, Leicester City, Leeds United and Southampton will play multiple times, meaning that the Blues will know exactly what they need to do in the final week of the season. Alex Jones takes a look at the upcoming fixtures.

East Anglian Daily Times: The Foxes still have the Championship title in their hands with four games to goThe Foxes still have the Championship title in their hands with four games to go (Image: PA)

Leicester City

Leicester, who were last in action in a 1-0 defeat at Plymouth Argyle on Friday night, have an eight-day rest before their next match at home to West Brom (12:30pm on Saturday, April 20th).

The last meeting between the two sides saw the Foxes run out 2-1 winners thanks to Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s stoppage-time winner, and while the Baggies may be buoyed by their performance in that game, their form isn’t great, winning just one of their last five.

After that, it’s a really big one. Enzo Maresca’s men welcome a resurgent Southampton side to the King Power (8pm on Tuesday, April 23rd), which is their game in hand on Ipswich. Leicester thrashed the Saints 4-1 at St. Mary’s back in September, but Russell Martin’s side look much stronger now.

Even a point from those two games will send the former Premier League champions above Ipswich on goal difference. If they take six points, they’ll open up a five point lead, although they’ll have played a game more.

Their current run suggests that may be unlikely, but they’ve been impressive on home soil despite a recent wobble, and that’s where three of their final four games will take place. After the Southampton clash, they’ll head to Preston North End and host Blackburn Rovers, meaning that their maximum points total is 100.

East Anglian Daily Times: Daniel Farke's men have picked up just one point from their last three gamesDaniel Farke's men have picked up just one point from their last three games (Image: PA)

Leeds United

Like Leicester, Leeds have two games to play before Town travel to Humberside. They’ll certainly be licking their wounds after Blackburn Rovers ended their unbeaten home record thanks to Sammie Szmodics’ second-half strike, and they’ll have nine days to prepare for their trip to Teesside to face Middlesbrough (8pm on Monday, April 22nd).

The Blues know just how difficult that game will be for them. Boro are now unbeaten in nine matches, last losing at the Riverside on February 24th. They’re fast on the counter and usually pretty clinical in the final third – a totally different team to the one that lost 3-2 at Elland Road at the start of December.

Daniel Farke’s men will then be in action again just four days later (8pm on Friday, April 26th) as they head to the capital to face QPR. Marti Cifuentes’ side have been hit-and-miss in recent weeks, especially with safety looking increasingly likely, but their 2-1 victory over Leicester in early March will give them confidence that they can get another impressive result.

Leeds will need two points from two games to overtake Town on goal difference, but once the full-time whistle is blown at Loftus Road, they’ll only have one game left, which is at home to Southampton on the final day of the season. Maximum points before that will see them move to 93, four ahead of Ipswich, who’d have two games in hand.

As it stands, their maximum points total is 96, but it’ll be fascinating to see whether the travel and the late kick-offs get the better of them. Fans are starting to worry about their drop in form, and pressure has been mounting on Farke.

East Anglian Daily Times: The Saints' games in hand could play a big part in the promotion raceThe Saints' games in hand could play a big part in the promotion race (Image: PA)


Southampton looked set for the play-offs until Saturday afternoon. Their 3-2 win at home to Watford, coupled with the top three all dropping points, means that they’re now with a shout, especially given that they’ll play four times before Ipswich next step out onto the pitch.

That starts with a home game against Preston North End tonight, which was originally postponed due to a fire outside St. Mary’s. This will be the Lilywhites’ game in hand and their last chance to continue their push for a top-six finish, having lost at home to Norwich City over the weekend, but it’s looking pretty unlikely given the eight-point gap.

The Saints then cross the border to face a Cardiff City side whose season is done and dusted, epitomised by their poor defeat at Millwall. That being said, Town know how much of a threat they can be if you’ve got tired legs, and with extreme fixture congestion, that could be the case for the visitors.

After that comes the aforementioned game at Leicester, which looks to be absolutely vital. A defeat here would deliver a hammer blow to Southampton’s top-two hopes, even with a game at Leeds on the final day. On the flip side, Russell Martin could help Ipswich by taking points off the title favourites in the East Midlands.

Finally, they’ll kick off at home to Stoke City just five hours before Ipswich face Hull, with the Potters edging ever closer to safety. If Southampton have won three of their last four games by the time the full-time whistle blows on the South Coast, they’ll move a point above the Blues. Maximum points would see them move four clear, albeit having played two games more.

East Anglian Daily Times: The top four will all be busy between now and the the seasonThe top four will all be busy between now and the the season (Image: Alex Jones)

What to expect

To be honest, who knows what to expect anymore? Every time you think a promotion contender is going to get a crucial win, they slip up. At this point, you wouldn’t rule out the other three sides all having a difficult spell, opening the door for Town to secure a place in the Premier League. They might only need three or four points to do it.

That being said, we know what their rivals are capable of. This could be the moment they all spring to life, and if they do, there’s a chance Ipswich will face Hull sitting fourth in the table. It’s so incredibly tight and the margins are so fine that the race will likely go down to the final day of the season. Anyone fancy getting a stream of Leeds v Southampton up at Portman Road?

That’s the real negative, and that pressure will be an interesting test for Kieran McKenna’s side. The positives might be greater, however, as they’ll be able to refresh and reset ahead of the final three fixtures, and at that point, they’ll know what they need to do to secure promotion.

Look at a team like Southampton, who may be right back in it with recent results, but how will they cope with playing seven games in less than three weeks? That’s not factoring in a gruelling Easter weekend or how difficult their run-in is.

No matter what, promotion will still be in Ipswich’s hands come 8pm on Saturday, April 27th, so they really have to focus on themselves for the time being, just like they’ve done all season.

Hopefully the physical benefits outweigh the potential psychological issues ahead of the final seven days.