Championship playoffs: Biggest games between play-off contenders in 2023/24

Dates for Championship matches between the prime play-off contenders for the 2023/24 campaign; relegated trio of Leicester City, Leeds United and Southampton are among the favourites while Middlesbrough and Coventry City aim to improve upon last season's play-off failures
Leicester City and Leeds United swapped the Premier League for the Championship during the summer
Leicester City and Leeds United swapped the Premier League for the Championship during the summer / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

The unrelenting churn of matches in the Championship can make a mockery of most predictions.

However, the crushing financial superiority of relegated Premier League clubs - coasting down a division beneath a golden parachute - ensures the demoted teams are immediately reclassified as favourites to return to England's top flight.

Leeds United, Leicester City and Southampton will not have it all their own way. Michael Carrick's Middlesbrough may have wobbled towards the end of last season but promise to mount another assault on the promotion places. Coventry City came within a couple of penalties of a top-flight return in May despite a myriad of structural wrinkles that have since been smoothed.

While other promotion contenders will emerge as the season progresses, here are the key dates for what could be the biggest matches of the 2023/24 Championship campaign.

Biggest games between Championship play-off contenders in 2023/24




Leicester v Coventry


Coventry v Middlesbrough


Southampton v Leicester


Middlesbrough v Southampton


Southampton v Leeds


Leicester v Leeds


Middlesbrough v Leicester


Leeds v Middlesbrough


Coventry v Southampton


Leeds v Coventry


Middlesbrough v Coventry


Coventry v Leicester


Leicester v Middlesbrough


Leeds v Leicester


Leicester v Southampton


Southampton v Middlesbrough


Coventry v Leeds


Southampton v Coventry


Middlesbrough v Leeds


Leeds v Southampton

The day before the Championship fixtures were released, Southampton unveiled Russell Martin as their new manager. The former Swansea City boss has been treated to a theoretically merciful opening month in the dugout, with two trips to newly-promoted teams (Sheffield Wednesday and Plymouth Argyle) and the visit of relegation escape artists Queens Park Rangers in August.

However, the Saints pay for their gentle opening with a squall of contests against fellow promotion rivals. In the space of two weeks in September, Southampton are scheduled to face Leicester, Middlesbrough and Leeds. Martin's side also close out the campaign against Leeds in a potentially enthralling final-day clash.

Leeds may not have had a permanent manager upon the announcement of the fixtures but the incoming boss will not be lumbered with an unworkable schedule. Based on the current draft of Championship fixtures, Leeds will not face play-off contenders in consecutive matches throughout the campaign.

Coventry, by contrast, have had their contender clashes clumped together. In both December and April, the Sky Blues are scheduled to face Leeds and Southampton within four days of each other.

Mark Robins' side will be involved in the first heavyweight bout of the Championship season, travelling to Leicester City on the opening Sunday of the new campaign. On the following Saturday, Coventry are up against Middlesbrough.

Just one goal from Gustavo Hamer across two legs decided last season's Championship semi-final between Boro and Coventry. Middlesbrough finished five points above City in the regular season and will surely make a firm stab at the two automatic promotion spots with Carrick at the helm from the beginning of the campaign.

Leicester were one of only two Premier League clubs to lose home and away to Southampton last season, accounting for almost a quarter of the points won by the Saints. The Foxes host Southampton in the middle of March for their last match against a play-off contender before a theoretically straightforward conclusion to the Championship campaign.


On this week's edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Toby Cudworth is joined by Graeme Bailey and Sean Walsh to discuss the latest transfer news. On the agenda is Arsenal's approach for Jurrien Timber, Kai Havertz and Declan Rice, the exodus of Chelsea players to Saudi Arabia, Moises Caicedo, Kyle Walker, Man Utd's goalkeeper plans & more!. 

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