Southampton Tipped To Finish Below Leeds United In Automatic Promotion Race

Sheffield Wednesday legend and EFL pundit Carlton Palmer has tipped Leeds United to finish in the final automatic promotion place over high-flying Southampton at the end of the season.

The Whites have been on an incredible run of form since the turn of the year, winning seven from seven fixtures in the Championship and are looking to extend this hot streak to eight games with a victory over Plymouth Argyle at Home Park this afternoon.

However, the Yorkshire club are locked in a tense battle for second place with the Saints as the latter leapt temporarily inside the top two following an emphatic 2-0 victory over fellow promotion hopefuls West Bromwich Albion on Friday night, putting the ghosts of Tuesday’s defeat away at Bristol City well and truly behind them.

The two sides meet just once more this term which comes on the final day of the season, setting up a potentially mouth-watering tie with everything on the line. Southampton had the upper hand in the first leg, comfortably winning 3-1 at the St. Mary’s Stadium back in September. Coincidentally, this was the result that kickstarted the Saints’ 25-game unbeaten run which lasted until only four days ago.

Nevertheless, speaking in a recent interview with Football League World, pundit and former player Carlton Palmer has backed Leeds United to finish above their promotion rivals in second, while predicting Kieran McKenna’s Ipswich Town to miss out in the playoffs to Southampton.

“I think the tide has turned a little bit now, I expected it to a little bit with Leeds coming on very strong now, Southampton coming on very, very strong.

“It’s going to be a three-way tussle between those three teams for that second automatic spot,” he continued.

“Should Ipswich miss out on that, which I fear they may do, I fancy Leeds very strongly. I did at the start of the season, then I still think Southampton will get promoted to the Premier League via the play-offs.”

Writer’s View

It’s neck-and-neck at the moment between Southampton and Leeds and it’s incredibly difficult to tell which of the two sides will come out on top and finish behind Leicester City — presuming the Foxes continue their own superb form to lift the title — although it would be silly to write off Ipswich just yet.

One thing’s for sure, though, the top three right in the Championship are a wonderful advertisement for the benefits and downsides of the Premier League’s parachute payments.

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