The EFL Championship promotion is race rapidly intensifying as most sides have just six games remaining. Fortunately for viewers in the United States, ESPN+ will have coverage of many of the games as three teams fight for two automatic promotion spots. Then, there are a host of teams looking to sneak into the promotion playoffs.

Currently, Norwich City is in sixth in the Championship table, which is the last spot available for the playoff phase. Yet, having played 40 games this season, many of the teams trailing the Canaries have played one fewer. Four teams are within six points of Norwich, including three that have played 39 games. If those teams, namely Coventry City, Preston North End and Hull City, can win in their games in hand, the promotion race only heats up further.

Certain clubs have easier run-ins to the end of the season than others. Yet, there are some consistent opponents for teams that will be crucial in determining how the table shakes out. Each of the following games in the EFL Championship TV schedule is available on ESPN+.

ESPN+ has coverage of pivotal Championship promotion

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Norwich City vs. Ipswich Town — Saturday, April 6

The East Anglia Derby between Norwich and Ipswich waited four seasons to reignite as Ipswich and Norwich divided between divisions in the English Football League. Now, these two play one of the most important editions of their derby this coming Saturday. Norwich is clinging to sixth in the league table, but Ipswich Town has been dominant of late. In its last 10 games, Ipswich has picked up 27 points to climb into the automatic promotion spots.

Southampton vs. Preston North End — Tuesday, April 16

One club has the biggest say over the remainder of the season. Southampton, looking to get back to the Premier League at the first time of trying, is comfortably inside the promotion playoff places. Even though the Saints trail the automatic promotion spots by double-digit points, Southampton has played just 38 games. It is an outside chance of automatically earning Premier League status, as the playoffs are beckoning for Russell Martin’s side.

Meanwhile, Preston is five points behind Norwich in the Championship table. Having played one game fewer, Preston will need to pick up points to keep pace with Norwich and the other clubs in this part of the table. A trip to St. Mary’s is a challenging task given the club’s relative struggles at home this season.

Leicester City vs. West Bromwich Albion — Saturday, April 20

From Sep. 23 to March 9, Leicester sat atop the Championship. Yet, a dismal run of form from the Foxes led to just four points in six games. As a result, Leicester plunged to third in the table, out of the top two in the league for the first time in almost half of a calendar year.

The Foxes bounced back with a win over Norwich to start April, but an upcoming tie with fifth-place West Brom will be another challenge. The Baggies are sitting idly in a playoff spot. Barring a total collapse at the Hawthorns, West Brom will rely on the playoffs.

Leicester City vs. Southampton — Tuesday, April 23

As stated, one team will have a major say on the outlook of the Championship table. That is Southampton. The Saints travel to the King Power on matchday 44. The table could look different by the time this game in late April rolls around. However, Leicester will be fighting for automatic promotion, that much is certain. By this time, the game could be a ticket for Leicester to punch a ticket into the Premier League. Yet, given the nature of the Championship, this race will go down to the last matchday.

Leeds United vs. Southampton — Saturday, May 4

The biggest game on the final matchday of the season is at Elland Road. Leeds, which has not lost a league game since the turn of the calendar year, welcomes Southampton. Before this game, Leeds must face Coventry City, Sunderland and Middlesbrough. Yet, this game against Southampton is surely the toughest.

Therefore, it is paramount for Daniel Farke’s club to ensure it has wrapped up a spot in the Premier League beforehand. Decision day in the 2022/23 season did not go to plan for the Whites as it crashed out of the Premier League with a loss against Tottenham. The club’s form now is considerably better than it was a year ago, and Leeds will fancy its chances to return to the Premier League.

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