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Sky Bet Championship Playoffs – With Norwich all but confirmed in the playoffs, who could the Canaries face?

With Norwich City’s playoff place all but confirmed (bar a heavy defeat against Birmingham City), fans have begun shifting mindsets to the potential opponents we might face in pursuit of the promised land English Premier League. With the calibre of opponents ranging from recently relegated sides, all the way to our neighbours south of the border in search of back-to-back promotions, it really is completely open in the air with who David Wagner’s men might have to face in the chase for the riches of the English top-flight.

With a trip to St. Andrews @ Knighthead Park on the cards for the last day of the season, Wagner’s side know that a win is required to secure the coveted playoffs, with a draw or loss requiring fate to run its’ course. With Birmingham City requiring a win to secure survival in the second-flight, it will prove to be a real test for the boys in yellow and green, particularly in a season where away results have been far from expectations. Let’s take a look at the potential list of opponents Wagner’s men might have if the playoffs are achieved.


Southampton are hoping for a quick turnaround in form ahead of the playoffs.

With David Wagner’s side currently occupying 5th spot in the standings, our most likely first opponent in the play-offs will be recently relegated Southampton, who will be vying to set out on their early season promises and expectations of an instant return to the top-flight, which ended last year after a 10-year spell.

The Saints are currently led by former Norwich City legend Russell Martin, who played as a defender for Norwich, in a spell lasting from November 2009, all the way through to January 2018. Southampton have struggled with injuries so far this season, which is partly to blame for their recent misfortune. Their most recent and significant injury is to first-choice goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu, who recently suffered an ACL rupture during a training session, leaving him out for the rest of this season, and a vast amount of next year too.

Martin’s side have recorded two wins and three losses in their last five matches, with their most recent result a 1-0 loss at home against Stoke City, which was overshadowed by a 5-0 hammering at the King Power Stadium, against champions-elect Leicester City.

If the Canaries can retain 5th spot against Birmingham City on the last day of the campaign, most fans will be feeling optimistic about achieving a result over the Saints and booking a place at Wembley for the final.

Ipswich Town

Ipswich Town were held to a 3-3 draw by Hull City, a result that may change the outcome of the automatic promotions.

The noisy neighbours south of the border have enjoyed a stellar campaign under Kieran McKenna. With the backing of new American owners, the Tractor Boys have a real chance at securing the final automatic promotion spot, with McKenna’s side having a game in hand over former Norwich manager Daniel Farke’s Leeds United, with both sides currently tied on points and separated by goal difference. Although unlikely, if McKenna’s side were to win their next two matches, and Leicester manage to drop a point, Ipswich Town could win the Championship.

McKenna’s side started the season off strongly, and led the way alongside Leicester City for vast portions of the first half of this season, but injuries to key players around December saw results turn against their favour, with Norwich holding their rivals off to a 2-2 draw at Portman Road. Ipswich have managed to keep impressive form throughout the season, with the top three sides this season (Leicester, Ipswich and Leeds) all struggling with form around the same time.

Although unlikely that the Canaries will encounter Ipswich until the final, many fans will remain in high-spirit, knowing that with the odds stacked against Wagner’s men this season, they have managed to retain the record of unbeaten matches against the Tractor Boys, to an impressive 15-year stint of keeping East Anglia yellow and green.

Leeds United

Leeds United may have the opportunity to upset Ipswich Town’s season, but results have to go their way elsewhere.

It has been a tough season for teams in Yorkshire this year, with Sheffield United having their relegation confirmed via a 5-1 defeat to Newcastle, and Rotherham United dropping back down to Sky Bet League One next season. Daniel Farke will be hoping that the misfortune that has plagued other Yorkshire sides this season does not affect his Whites.

Boasting a strong squad, featuring Championship Player of the Season and Young Player of the Season, Crysencio Summerville and Archie Gray, Farke’s side have enjoyed a successful campaign so far, with his side boasting the most impressive record of form between January 2024 and March 2024. But with the strong competition in the Championship this year, results have been somewhat overshadowed by the strong competition in the run-up to the playoffs.

With Farke’s side failing to all but guarantee automatic promotion against QPR on Friday, 26 April with a 4-0 defeat away from home, the pressure will be on to secure automatic promotion on the last day of the season, against Martin’s Southampton.

West Bromwich Albion

With West Brom struggling with form as of late, a big push will be required to guarantee a playoff place this season.

Carlos Corberan’s side have enjoyed a successful campaign so far this season, with the Baggies enjoying some huge wins over regional competition, including a 4-1 win over Blackburn Rovers. The Baggies have also held off automatic promotion chasing Ipswich Town and Leicester City.

Recent results have not gone their way however, with the Baggies suffering a 3-0 defeat at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday, who have all but guaranteed their survival in the second division of English football, and recording one win, one draw and three losses in their last five games, including a one-nil loss at home against Southampton, which saw Baggies midfielder Brandon Thomas-Asante sent off.

With the Baggies failing to captialise on the Canaries’ misfortune against Swansea City at the weekend, with head coaches Luke Williams and Alan Sheehan holding Wagner’s side to a draw at Carrow Road, Corberan and his players will be feeling the pressure, with Hull City only two points behind, and with a game in hand against Plymouth Argyle down south. With the Canaries unlikely to face West Brom until the final, if Wagner’s men can overcome the pressure of a two-legged semi-final, they could prove to be an unlikely force, with Wagner’s side recording a 1-0 loss away from home with 10-men on the pitch and a 2-0 win at home.