THERE are just under two months left of the Cham­pi­onship sea­son and with four teams still bat­tling it out for the two auto­mat­ic pro­mo­tion spots — it is promis­ing to be a thrilling end­ing.

Rus­sell Mar­t­in’s Saints are still in with a mas­sive chance to achieve their ulti­mate goal and with two dra­mat­ic wins in recent games, the fate is still in Southamp­ton’s hands.

Ryan Fras­er and Kyle Walk­er-Peters are expect­ed to return fol­low­ing the upcom­ing inter­na­tion­al break to give them a wel­come boost enter­ing the cru­cial final stretch.

Here we look at the run-in for the top four sides and attempt to pre­dict how it will play out over the next sev­en weeks…

Top Four as it stands

1. Leices­ter City — P:37 GD:41 PTS:82

2. Leeds Unit­ed — P:37 GD:40 PTS:79

3. Ipswich Town — P:37 GD:25 PTS:78

4. Saints — P:36 GD:26 PTS:73

Saints, who recent­ly had their match against Pre­ston North End post­poned due to the fire out­side St Mary’s, have a game to make up on their rivals.

A win in that game puts them right back in the mix for pro­mo­tion and with match­es still to come at Leices­ter, Leeds, and Ipswich, a lot can still hap­pen in the final weeks of the sea­son.


Saints run-in and pre­dic­tions

March 29 — Mid­dles­brough (H) — W 2–1

April 1 — Ipswich Town (A) — D 2–2

April 6 — Black­burn (A) — W 2–1

April 9 — Coven­try City (H) — W 1–0

April 13 — Wat­ford (H) — W 3–0

April 16 — Pre­ston (H) — W 3–1

April 20 — Cardiff City (A) — W 1–0

April 23 — Leices­ter City (A) — D 1–1

April 27 — Stoke City (H) — W 2–0

May 4 — Leeds Unit­ed (A) — L 2–1

It looks like­ly that games against the three pro­mo­tion rivals are going to prove piv­otal in the final reck­on­ing.

Daily Echo: Southampton players celebrate during their win over Sunderland.Southamp­ton play­ers cel­e­brate dur­ing their win over Sun­der­land. (Image: PA)

Draws at Leices­ter City and Ipswich Town will be good results in any oth­er sit­u­a­tion — mean­ing no slip-ups should be allowed against the rest of their oppo­nents.

The trip to Leeds Unit­ed on the final day of the sea­son will be a big ask for Rus­sell Mar­t­in’s side with both teams like­ly need­ing a result to ensure pro­mo­tion.


Leices­ter City run-in and pre­dic­tions

March 29 — Bris­tol City (A) — W 1–0

April 1 — Nor­wich City (H) — D 1–1

April 6 — Birm­ing­ham City (H) — W 3–1

April 9 — Mill­wall (A) — W 2–0

April 13 — Ply­mouth Argyle (A) — W 2–1

April 20 — West Brom (H) — D 2–2

April 23 — Saints (H) — D 1–1

April 27 — Pre­ston (A) — W 1–0

May 4 — Black­burn (H) — W 3–0

The Fox­es will feel con­fi­dent they have what it takes in their last nine match­es to be lift­ing the Cham­pi­onship tro­phy in May.

Draws against Nor­wich, West Brom, and Saints will not be too detri­men­tal to their pro­mo­tion hopes.

Daily Echo: Will Smallbone and Leicester City's Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall battle for the ball during the meeting in September.Will Small­bone and Leices­ter City’s Kier­nan Dews­bury-Hall bat­tle for the ball dur­ing the meet­ing in Sep­tem­ber. (Image: PA)

Wins against Pre­ston and Black­burn in their final two games mean they could go up to the top flight as cham­pi­ons.


Leeds Unit­ed run-in and pre­dic­tions

March 17 — Mill­wall (H) — W 2–0

March 29 — Wat­ford (A) — D 1–1

April 1 — Hull City (H) — W 3–2

April 6 — Coven­try (A) — L 2–1

April 9 — Sun­der­land (H) — W 3–1

April 13 — Black­burn (H) — W 2–0

April 20 — Mid­dles­brough (A) — D 1–1

April 27 — QPR (A) — W 1–0

May 4 — Saints (H) — W 2–1

If Leeds can go into their final game against Saints know­ing a draw will be enough to earn pro­mo­tion — they may take that.

Daniel Farke’s men are cur­rent­ly the most in-form out of all their pro­mo­tion rivals and although that could change between now and the end of the sea­son, they will fan­cy their chances.

Daily Echo: Patrick Bamford celebrates scoring for Leeds United against Sheffield Wednesday.Patrick Bam­ford cel­e­brates scor­ing for Leeds Unit­ed against Sheffield Wednes­day. (Image: PA)

Hull, Coven­try, Wat­ford, and Mid­dles­brough could all test the York­shire club and they will be fear­ing Saints on that last day just as much as Saints will be fear­ing them.


Ipswich Town run-in and pre­dic­tions

March 16 — Sheffield Wednes­day (H) — W 3–1

March 29 — Black­burn (A) — W 2–1

April 1 — Saints (H) — D 2–2

April 6 — Nor­wich City (A) — L 2–1

April 10 — Wat­ford (H) — W 2–0

April 13 — Mid­dles­brough (H) — W 2–1

April 20 — Coven­try (A) — D 1–1

April 27 — Hull City (A) — D 2–2

May 4 — Hud­der­s­field — W 3–1

Nobody expect­ed Ipswich to be in this sit­u­a­tion going into the sea­son back in August but Kier­an McKen­na’s side have been excel­lent.

If they can come through a tough week against Saints and then local rivals Nor­wich City with pos­i­tive results in both — it could turn out to be a bril­liant con­clu­sion for the Trac­tor Boys.

We think they will come up just short, though, with the play­offs look­ing a like­ly out­come.

Daily Echo: Kiefer Moore celebrates scoring for Ipswich Town against Cardiff City.Kiefer Moore cel­e­brates scor­ing for Ipswich Town against Cardiff City. (Image: PA)


Final table pre­dic­tion

1. Leices­ter City — P:46 GD:51 PTS:103

2. Leeds Unit­ed — P:46 GD:48 PTS:99

3. Saints — P:46 GD:36 PTS:96

4. Ipswich Town — P:46 GD:32 PTS:96

A lot can hap­pen in the remain­ing peri­od of the sea­son and pres­sure can do fun­ny things to all teams when it hits the busi­ness stage.

In this event, Leices­ter and Leeds would achieve the two auto­mat­ic pro­mo­tion spots. Miss­ing out on the top two with 96 points would be harsh on both Saints and Ipswich.

A play-off spot won’t be what Southamp­ton want but a trip to Wem­b­ley and cel­e­brat­ing under the arch could be an even bet­ter way to get back to the Pre­mier League.