The Championship returns from the international break with, much like the Premier League, a three-horse tussle at the top.

Leicester City, having led the standings for the majority of the campaign, now find themselves in second place behind Leeds United, albeit with a game in hand on the in-form Whites.

The Foxes are grappling with off-pitch issues, and a return to form when they face Bristol City on Friday would go far to restoring some momentum.

Leeds, on the other hand, have won 12 of their last 13 Championship fixtures, dropping points just once in that run.

As for third-placed Ipswich Town, they are hot on the heels of their automatic-promotion rivals.

All of these sides have built their fine campaigns on some brilliant attacking play, scoring 224 goals between them. Using Opta data, we can look at just how these attacks stack up.


Ipswich Town

Of these three teams, Ipswich have scored the most goals, with Kieran McKenna's side netting 80 across their 38 matches - an average of 2.1 per game. That makes the Tractor Boys the leading scorers in the league, while they are also the leading team for non-penalty goals (78).

Ipswich have, however, greatly outperformed their expected goals (xG) of 64.2, while also greatly exceeding their non-penalty xG (61.8). When it comes to those metrics, they rank fourth and second in the second tier respectively. Their expected goals on target (xGOT) figure of 69.5 shows their finishing has been above the standard of what would be anticipated from the quality of chances, and they rank third in the league in this aspect.

Unsurprisingly, Ipswich lead the way for shots (590), while they rank second for shots on target (214). They are fourth in the Championship for shot conversion rate (13.5 per cent), big chances (94) and big chances scored (42). Their big-chance conversion rate, of 44.68, stands as the sixth best in the competition.

But how do Ipswich create their chances? Well, they aren't afraid to send crosses into the area, with their 114 successful open-play crosses ranking second. However, it's Ipswich's high press that really stands out.

They have forced 309 high turnovers (winning the ball back within 40 yards of the opponent's goal), at an average of 8.1 per match. They lead the league for shot-ending high turnovers, with 65, albeit they are tied for fifth when it comes to scoring goals from such scenarios (seven). McKenna's team are certainly able to go direct, too, given they rank down at 10th for sequences of 10+ passes. 


Don't bet against Ipswich if they go behind, meanwhile. They have gained 28 points from a losing position, topping the Championship.

And when they get the lead, Ipswich typically hold onto it, with only two teams dropping fewer points from a winning position.

Leicester City

Ranking behind Ipswich for goals scored are Leicester, with 74 to their name. The Foxes are also second in the Championship for xG (68) and for xGOT (73.5).

It is worth noting that Leicester have been more reliant on penalties, having scored 12 goals from the spot. 

Leicester have mustered the fifth-highest tally of shots (525), while their 189 shots on target ranks fourth in the division.

But in which metrics do Leicester top the Championship? Enzo Maresca's team lead the way for shot conversion (14.1 per cent), big chances (111) and big chances scored (50).

Leicester are hardly a pressing machine off the ball, having averaged just 7.4 high turnovers per game, but what the Foxes lack in quantity they make up for in quality – they have scored a joint league-leading eight goals from those situations.

Maresca's men do not particularly look to cross at a high volume, though when they do put deliveries in, they are often on point. Leicester are 19th out of 24 teams for total open-play crosses, yet they rank third for successful open-play deliveries.

If teams go ahead against Leicester, however, then the Foxes are not the best at coming from behind, having gained only 10 points from such positions this term.

Leeds United

So, what about Leeds, the league leaders heading into the Easter weekend?

Leeds have accumulated more xG than any other Championship team, at 68.4, while 62.9 of that total has come from non-penalty shots. However, they rank down in fourth for both goals (70) and non-penalty goals (65). Interestingly, the Whites' xGOT is 69.2, so they have been finishing slightly above what would be expected from chances they have crafted.


Daniel Farke's team are the Championship leaders for high turnovers, with 319, while their average of 11 passes allowed per defensive action (PPDA), which measures how often a team presses their opponent, is the second highest in the competition.

Leeds have been exceptionally effective from this high press, too. They have had the third-highest shots (61) and, along with Leicester, lead the Championship for goal-ending high turnovers, with eight.

The Whites may only have got 201 of their 586 shots on target, with an 11.9 per cent shot conversion rate, but they are excellent at creating quality chances, ranking second for big chances (102), which are defined by Opta as an opportunity from which a player would be reasonably expected to score.

Should Leeds take a lead, then they are excellent at holding onto it. They have dropped the fewest points (four) of any Championship team from winning positions, while they rank second for points gained from losing positions (21).

Unlike Leicester or Ipswich, there is no focus at all on crossing, or quality crossing, from Leeds. Farke's side actually rank 23rd for both open-play crosses and successful open-play deliveries. Perhaps forcing them wide will be the only way their opponents can keep them out in the run-in?

The Premier League risks losing credibility in the face of points deductions for financial breaches, according to football finance expert Kieran Maguire.

Everton and Nottingham Forest have received points deductions of six and four respectively this season for breaches of the Premier League's profit and sustainability rules (PSR).

Forest received a deduction on Monday, which left them in the relegation zone, a point behind 17th-placed Luton Town, after they admitted a breach of the rules.

Everton, meanwhile, were initially deducted 10 points in November for a breach of the rules in the 2021-22 reporting period, before that was reduced to six on appeal. The Toffees sit 16th, having not won in 11 league matches, though Sean Dyche's team might yet have to grapple with another deduction, with the club having been charged with a breach in the 2022-23 financial reporting period.

Maguire fears for the Premier League's reputation in response to the deductions, with Championship side Leicester City also charged by the league on Thursday for PSR breaches during their time in the top flight, while Manchester City are facing 115 charges for potential financial discrepancies. Chelsea are under investigation for potential off-book dealings, while the Blues could be under pressure to sell players before the end of June in order to come under the threshold in their next set of accounts.

"I think the credibility of the Premier League as an organisation which is capable of governing itself has taken quite a few knocks recently," Maguire told Stats Perform.

"There is now news coming out that the independent regulator bill, the football governance bill, will be placed before parliament. That's a further blow to the Premier League in terms of its ability to be seen as a self-governing organisation.

"The Premier League hasn't come out of these cases particularly well. You wait years and years for a PSR judgement and then you get two in two months. Then we've got the Manchester City case which is probably going to take another 12 months."

Maguire joked: "You've got people outside the stadium that won't be selling programs and shirts, they'll be selling asterisks because there is so much uncertainty."

Maguire also explained that perceived superior cooperation with the Premier League from Forest is the reason for their smaller deduction compared to Everton, despite the midlands club having overspent by £34.5million, compared to the Toffees' breach of £19.5m.

He said: "Forest have been given a three-point penalty for breaking the rules, and another three points for going so far over the limit.

"But because Forest has cooperated and made the life of the commission relatively straightforward, we're going to effectively knock off two points for good behaviour. So that's why we've ended up with this final deduction of four points compared to Everton's six."

Maguire also pointed out that Forest did have other circumstances to contend with.

"Anybody that follows football knows that Forest were promoted with effectively six or seven players remaining in the squad because players were out of contract, a lot of players on loan. Therefore, they had to spend a lot of money on recruitment," he said.

"Their argument also is that if you want to survive in the Premier League, and survival was just as hard as getting there in the first place, then you've got to spend money. They've done that."

When asked if Forest could see their penalty reduced in the same way Everton's has been, Maguire replied: "I think if we have a look at the Everton appeal, that was reduced from 10 points to six on points of law.

"The second commission said that the initial commission brought accounted for tariff factors, which weren't actually in the Premier League rules, and therefore the initial penalty was too harsh. Whether Forest can do the same, I'm uncertain. 

"Forest have got seven days to have an appeal and we could be left in the pretty awful scenario that the appeal is heard in late April, then the verdict is announced four or five days after the end of the season. I think the integrity of the game would be tarnished if we do end up in that situation."

Leicester have been referred to an independent commission by the Premier League for an alleged breach of profitability and sustainability rules during their previous seasons in the top flight.

The Foxes – currently second in the Sky Bet Championship on goal difference, but with a match in hand on leaders Leeds – could face a points deduction if found to have broken the financial regulations.

A statement from the Premier League read: “The Premier League has today referred Leicester City FC to an independent commission for an alleged breach of Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSRs) and for failing to submit their audited financial accounts to the League.

“The alleged breach relates to the assessment period ending season 2022/23, when the club was a member of the Premier League.

“Leicester City were relegated to the EFL Championship prior to the introduction of the Premier League’s new Standard Directions, which prescribe a timeline within which PSR cases should be heard.

“Therefore, the proceedings will be conducted in accordance with a timetable to be set by the independent commission, and its final decision will be published on the Premier League’s website.”

Leicester, who also face a financial investigation from the EFL, issued a statement following the Premier League charges defending the club’s position.

A statement read: “Leicester City is surprised at the actions the Premier League has taken today.

“The club is extremely disappointed that the Premier League has chosen to charge LCFC now, despite the club’s efforts to engage constructively with the Premier League in relation to the matters that are the subject of this charge, even though LCFC is not currently a Premier League club.

“LCFC remains willing and eager to engage constructively with the Premier League and the EFL to seek the proper resolution of any potential charges, by the right bodies, and at the right time.

“The club continues to take careful advice about its position and, if necessary, will continue to defend itself from any unlawful acts by the football authorities, should they seek to exercise jurisdiction where they cannot do so, as occurred earlier this year.

“LCFC has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to the P&S rules through its operating model over a considerable period, achieving compliance while pursuing sporting ambitions that are entirely credible given the consistent success that the club has achieved in that time, both domestically and in European competition.

“As we continue to represent the club’s position, we will continue to fight for the right of all clubs to pursue their ambitions, particularly where these have been reasonably and fairly established through sustained sporting achievement.

“The club thanks its supporters for their understanding in this matter and for their continued support for our team, whose success on the pitch during the final weeks of the season remains our primary focus.”

Nottingham Forest were deducted four points after being found to have broken Premier League financial regulations, which saw them drop into the relegation zone.

Everton, meanwhile, saw an initial 10-point deduction for breaching profitability and sustainability rules reduced down to six following an appeal, but also face a second case.

Mauricio Pochettino called for more trust and urged the Chelsea fans to offer “unconditional” backing to his young team after they progressed into the FA Cup semi-finals with a roller-coaster 4-2 win over Leicester.

Stoppage-time goals by substitutes Carney Chukwuemeka and Noni Madueke settled a last-eight clash that had everything, with Leicester reduced to 10 men after Raheem Sterling’s missed first-half penalty, while the Blues’ Axel Disasi also produced extraordinary own goal.

When Disasi fired his back pass beyond goalkeeper Robert Sanchez in the 51st minute, it offered Leicester a lifeline and they levelled in stunning fashion 11 minutes later when Stephy Mavididi rifled into the corner.

The Stamford Bridge crowd were ready to turn when Sterling blazed a free-kick into the stand, which was met with boos, after the visitors were reduced to 10 men after Callum Doyle brought down Nicolas Jackson.

Pochettino’s decision to take off Mykhailo Mudryk and not Sterling was greeted with chants of, ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’, but the Chelsea boss had the last laugh, with Chukwuemeka slotting home in the first minute of stoppage time before Madueke curled home from range to clinch a Wembley return.

“For a second time, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, we are going to Wembley,” former Tottenham manager Pochettino insisted.

“When I arrived in England at Southampton, they said, ‘we need to go to Wembley, we need to go to Wembley’. In Tottenham, ‘we need to go to Wembley, we need to go to Wembley’.

“Now look in nine months in two different competitions we got to Wembley and we need to enjoy and we need to trust more.

“I am a very positive person. I really believe in our fans, I really believe in our club and I really believe the most important in our staff we have today because all the staff are fantastic. And of course our players.

“Young (players) but I am enjoying a lot trying to help them achieve what they want. Of course all together we will succeed, no doubt.”

Chelsea had started well against their second-tier opponents with Jackson impressively able to burst past Jannik Vestergaard to set up Marc Cucurella for a 13th-minute opener.

It should have been 2-0 when Sterling was caught in the area by Abdul Fatawu, but the penalty by the Blues attacker was poor and Jakub Stolarczyk saved the scuffed effort with his feet.

Sterling had taken the ball off Palmer, who had scored all five of his spot-kicks this season, although the duo combined before half-time with the latter able to sweep home for his 14th goal of the campaign.

A dramatic second half was to follow, but the Chelsea boss attempted to defend Sterling after he took his penalty record to five misses from nine kicks.

Pochettino added: “Raheem asked for the ball for the penalty and Cole gave the ball. You saw on the TV but that is not a problem.

“Cole can miss, Raheem can miss. For me, their decision and I will always support the decision of my players on the pitch.

“It’s obvious that I cannot hide nothing. You are like me, the feelings weren’t good for him (Sterling) but I am going to support him, we are all going to support him.

“We need to accept. It doesn’t mean we agree or not agree but we have to accept because our fans, all the fans in football live expectation and want the best for the club, the best for the players.

“Of course when you don’t match the expectation, this is difficult thing for our fans to understand. I was talking in the past and I am strong. I have no problem.

“We will keep moving in the same direction and of course we want to create better emotion. I cannot lie, I hope the next game our fans will be always unconditional behind the team because we are representing Chelsea.

“The players also want to give the best for the club and for the fans. We want to make happy our fans and we are going to try.

“I hope we can create until the end of the season a good connection with the fans, but I am never going to criticise the fans. Never, because they are entitled to say what they want.”

Leicester boss Enzo Maresca praised his team, adding: “The most important thing is we don’t lose our identity.

“It doesn’t matter if it is Chelsea or Bristol City. We are just working since the first day one way and we will continue until the end.”

Chelsea needed stoppage-time goals from substitutes Carney Chukwuemeka and Noni Madueke to edge past 10-man Leicester 4-2 in a wild FA Cup quarter-final at Stamford Bridge.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side led 2-0 before the visitors stormed back to level, but a glorious flick from the excellent Cole Palmer set up Chukwuemeka to slot the ball into the corner to put Chelsea 3-2 up before Madueke gave the score some gloss with a brilliant solo effort.

Chelsea were two up at the break thanks to goals from Marc Cucurella and Palmer, while Raheem Sterling had a first-half penalty saved.

A surreal own-goal from Axel Disasi and a Stephy Mavididi goal improbably hauled Leicester back, before Callum Doyle was red carded late on.

Extra-time beckoned, until Pochettino’s subs won it.

Chelsea took the lead after 12 minutes and the move started with a powerful tackle from Moises Caicedo to win the ball on the edge of his own box. One pass released Palmer down the right, and he looked up to see Nicolas Jackson galloping clear and he crossed for the unmarked Cucurella to tap home.

After a strong Leicester opening the goal settled nerves around Stamford Bridge, but this has become a ground used to existing in a state of apprehension.

Robert Sanchez dithered and was nearly dispossessed by Patson Daka, with only good fortune sparing the goalkeeper’s embarrassment. Abdul Fatawu might have done better when he glanced a header wide at the back post from Daka’s cross.

Whatever frustration the winger felt, he moments later allowed it to get the better of him when he crashed through the back of Sterling inside the box for a penalty.

Sterling had scored only six goals in the league this season and took the ball out of the hands of usual taker Palmer, a move he would quickly regret. The penalty was hit low and centrally, and was saved by Jakub Stolarczyk.

He had the chance to make amends for his penalty blunder when sent clear by a fine through-ball from Caicedo but he placed a shot wide with only Stolarczyk to beat.

Sterling finally put things right in the final minutes of the first half. Receiving the ball in the box he ran it almost to the byline and crossed low from the left for the arriving Palmer to make it 2-0.

Chelsea were in full control, but five minutes after the break things altered in ludicrous circumstances.

Disasi received the ball back from a throw-in in the right-back position and was quickly put under pressure by Daka. Turning to play it to his goalkeeper, the Leicester forward nudged him at the moment of contact, and his pass span up and out of his control, sailing over Sanchez for a comical own-goal.

And the tie was level after 62 minutes.

Mavididi cushioned the ball wide on the left, turned and ran at Gusto. The defender backed off and with a swing of the right boot Mavididi sent a fine, arching shot round the dive of Sanchez and in.

It capped a stunning recovery from the visitors, but within minutes they were down to 10 men.

Jackson was tripped by defender Doyle and Andrew Madley initially gave a penalty and showed a yellow card. VAR showed the contact was outside the box, but as the furthest Leicester player back, Doyle saw red.

Madueke came off the bench and saw a first-time shot saved low to his right by Stolarczyk, before he skied one into the Matthew Harding Stand from 12 yards.

The last hope of avoiding extra-time looked to have slipped away. Then came Palmer’s flick, Chukwuemeka’s finish and Madueke’s crowning touch to send Chelsea to Wembley.

Mauricio Pochettino admits some of Chelsea’s younger players are struggling with the pressure of playing for the club.

The big-spending west London side have floundered in mid-table all season, with their summer overhaul of bringing in young talent from across Europe so far yet to bear fruit.

Chelsea had the chance to claim a trophy last month, but a number of missed opportunities cost them dear as they lost the Carabao Cup final to Liverpool after extra-time.

And Pochettino believes not all of the club’s signings have settled in as well as star man Cole Palmer, who scored his 11th Premier League goal of the season during the Monday’s 3-2 win over Newcastle.

Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s FA Cup quarter-final with Leicester on Sunday, Pochettino said: “One thing we cannot change is to give time to the players to get experience and be more mature.

“In the same time that you ask me about Cole Palmer, not all the players have the same process of settling in at the club or to perform.

“Yes, we are in a process that the main group, the main young players…of course they struggle a little bit to deal with the pressure to play for Chelsea.

“That is the thing we are, of course, aware of and we are focusing on trying to help them in all the areas.

“Because when you have this young squad, it’s not only to help them in training, in the two hours maybe of that. We have spent a lot of time talking with the people that work around these guys, who are important too.”

Chelsea brought in over a dozen new players last summer – as well as coach Pochettino – as they looked to build on a hugely disappointing 2022/23 campaign which saw them finish 12th in the league and suffer early exits from both domestic cup competitions.

One of the newcomers was Nicolas Jackson, who joined the Blues from Villarreal for a reported £29.8 million, and, after a difficult start in England, he took his league tally for the season to nine goals with the opener against Newcastle.

That is one less than former Chelsea star Didier Drogba managed in his first year at Stamford Bridge and Pochettino believes the 22-year-old Senegal international is a player on the rise.

The Chelsea boss said: “You all are now seeing how he is improving. The most difficult thing was to support him when it was tough. I told you I really believe in him.

“I believe he is going to be very successful here.

“He has the quality and the capacity. Now he is doing much better but still needs to improve a lot. The numbers are similar to Drogba in his first season.

“That maybe gives the fans more belief in him and to be a little more patient with him, but always it depends on the circumstances.

“Now I hope people can start to understand he has the condition to be very good.”

Chelsea’s struggles this season sees them down in 11th spot in the table, but with seventh-placed West Ham only four points ahead and having played a game more, there is still a possibility of securing European football for next season.

That may be the Europa Conference League, but Pochettino says Chelsea – Champions League winners in 2012 and 2021 – will respect any competition they are in.

He said: “We need to accept the reality and if we arrive at the end of the season and we qualify for the Conference League, we need to accept and respect the competition and go to try to win the competition.

“We need to accept the reality. I am not going to say nothing, it is an international competition.”

Enzo Maresca saluted the character of his side after Leicester battled back to earn a 2-2 at Hull.

Jamie Vardy scored a brace as the Sky Bet Championship league leaders twice came from behind to earn a valuable point at the MKM Stadium.

Maresca – whose side are now three points clear of second-placed Leeds – said: “It was a tough game, as we expected.

“They are a very good team and their four players up front are very quick and very technical.

“The game for me was a good game. They pressed man-to-man and we had to do that, too.

“Sometimes when you can’t win, you take a point by trying and trying – and we did that.

“We conceded a goal but the reaction was there. We conceded a second one and the reaction was there.

“We could have done many things better, but I think the character was there and that was important.”

As has been a hallmark of their season, Leicester had to dig in to get something from a fine game of football.

Fabio Carvalho opened the scoring on16 minutes after Wout Faes carelessly lost possession on the edge of the penalty box.

Carvalho did well to maintain composure and atone for his earlier penalty miss after Stephy Mavididi ended Regan Slater’s power-packed run inside the area.

Vardy equalised from the spot after 31 minutes when Jean Michael Seri was controversially adjudged to have upended Abdul Fatawu.

A finely balanced second half swung the way of the hosts on 61 minutes after Annas Zaroury’s lovely left-footed hit arrowed into the bottom-right corner.

But Hull’s celebrations lasted just two minutes as Vardy added a second when he sharply controlled Fatawu’s perfect pass before flighting the ball into the roof of the net.

Maresca said: “I was very happy with the reaction. Sometimes it’s important you see the reaction, and we saw that.

“You have to adapt. We made some mistakes but, overall, we continued to try until the end.

“What they (his players) have done is not normal and when we had nine points more (at the top of the league) it was not normal.

“We are very happy where we are and we still have nine games to go.”

On Vardy, Maresca added: “He has the most important thing in football, which is to score goals.

“We have to manage him because of his age. For sure, he’s going to help us until the end.”

Hull are unbeaten in seven but they have drawn their last three league games and have been replaced by Norwich in the top six.

Head coach Liam Rosenior said: “That performance is going to stand us in good stead.

“I slept well last night because I know what this team are about. We did it our way against an outstanding team.

“There were a lot pleasing aspects. We let ourselves down with momentary lapses of concentration, but our players are young.

“We make naïve decisions at time but in our naivety there’s a fearlessness and bravery to our game.

“We need to peak now. The players are showing me that they are learning and improving.

“If they can keep doing that we will get to where we want to be.”

Rosenior added: “We have gone up against an outstanding team at this level so I’m delighted.

“If you look how the team and the club has grown in the last 18 months, I’m so excited and proud to be part of his process.

“We’re all in this together and that was an outstanding afternoon for the football club.

“It’s a points accumulation, but these players are showing me they are improving all the time.

“We should have won the game from our performance – I just need to nudge them two or three more per cent and then we’ll get there.”

Leicester are three points clear of Leeds at the top of the Sky Bet Championship after Jamie Vardy’s double earned his side a 2-2 draw at play-off chasing Hull.

Enzo Maresca’s men had to work hard against the Tigers and fell behind when Fabio Carvalho, who had earlier missed from the penalty spot, scored after 16 minutes.

But Leicester showed plenty of resolve and equalised through Vardy’s contentious penalty after 31 minutes.

Hull again nudged in front when Annas Zaroury let fly from the edge of the penalty box on 61 minutes, but Vardy scored a trademark second just two minutes later to secure the Foxes an important point.

Having ended a three-match losing run with victory at Sunderland on Tuesday, Leicester supporters might have expected their side to kick on at the MKM Stadium.

But they were surprisingly placid in the first half and should have conceded after just six minutes.

Regan Slater’s lung-busting run from deep caught the visitors unawares, with Stephy Mavididi nudging the Hull midfielder off his stride inside the penalty area.

Referee Samuel Barrott awarded a penalty, but Carvalho’s spot-kick was complacent, and Mats Hermansen impressively stood his ground.

Hull’s promising start was rewarded soon afterwards, though, as Carvalho atoned for his penalty miss with a fine goal.

Wout Faes conceded possession in an awful area, though Hamza Choudhury did the Leicester defender few favours with a rash pass.

The Liverpool loan signing had lots of work to do, but Carvalho was direct and brave before striking low under Hermansen, who perhaps went to ground too early.

Leicester needed a spark, which arrived after 20 minutes.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s strike from the edge of the box was not especially pleasing on the eye, but it squirmed from the reach of Ryan Allsop and on to the base of the left post.

Dewsbury-Hall’s attempt served notice of Leicester’s growing influence upon the game, which was finally balanced at the break after Vardy scored from the spot.

Jean Michael Seri was adjudged by Barrott to have fouled Abdul Fatawu, who went over rather too easily.

Vardy made no mistake with a neat penalty into the right corner.

Leicester improved thereafter, but they were far from at their best and again fell behind when Zaroury expertly powered home with his left foot from the edge of the box.

But with celebrating home fans still returning to their seats, Vardy scored again.

Fatawu’s smart pass from the right cut bisected Hull centre-backs Jacob Greaves and Alfie Jones to find an onrushing Vardy in his favourite position.

After having put Allsop on his backside with his first touch, the former England international artfully switched onto his right before smashing the ball into an unguarded net.

Neutrals anticipating a grandstand finale were left disappointed as both sides cancelled one another out during a tactical final half-hour in which Leicester finished strongly but did not do enough to win an absorbing game of football.

Leicester are set to be charged by the Premier League over alleged breaches of its financial regulations, the PA news agency understands.

The club could be charged as early as next week.

Clubs are not permitted to exceed losses of £105million over the assessment period ending 2022-23 under the league’s profitability and sustainability rules (PSR).

The Foxes, who are currently top of the Championship, are set to publish audited accounts covering last season at some point this month and were required to also submit these to the Premier League.

Leicester’s relegation last May meant they had lost their Premier League share prior to the league’s annual general meeting last June. They were therefore not subject to the new standard directions for PSR agreed at that meeting. It was under those standard directions that PSR complaints were laid against Everton and Nottingham Forest in January.

The aim of the standard directions is for all complaint processes to be finished, inclusive of appeal outcomes, before June 1, when promoted teams gain their Premier League shares.

However, even under the old rules, the Premier League could push for an expedited hearing to have Leicester’s case concluded before the end of this season should they be charged, as they did in March last year after Everton were charged with a PSR breach concerning the period ending 2021-22.

The independent commission in that case rejected the Premier League’s request, deciding it would be “unrealistic” to expect the proceedings and any appeal to be determined in the current season.

It further stated that to compel Everton to attempt to meet such a timetable would run the risk of procedural unfairness. The case was ultimately heard last October, with the initial 10-point sanction handed down the following month.

If the commission reached a similar decision regarding Leicester, it would mean the club could seal promotion back to the Premier League and only be sanctioned once in the top flight.

Any club relegated from the Premier League from this season onwards will be subject to the standard directions signed off last June.

Leicester recorded losses of £92.5million for the year ending May 31, 2022.

The EFL’s independent club financial reporting unit (CFRU) concluded in November that Leicester were forecasting to breach EFL Profitability and Sustainability (P&S) loss limits for the three-year period ending with financial year 2023-24.

The CFRU determined the club should submit a business plan to demonstrate how it planned to comply with P&S rules, but an independent panel found Leicester was under no obligation to submit and agree to a business plan.

The club issued a statement on Wednesday welcoming the panel finding, and added: “Leicester City confirms it is in discussions with the football authorities regarding its profitability and sustainability calculations.

“Notwithstanding the CFRP’s decision, the club remains committed to seeking an appropriate overall outcome in this matter.”

Leicester boss Enzo Maresca has told veteran striker Jamie Vardy he has a key role to play as the Sky Bet Championship leaders edge their way back towards the Premier League.

The 37-year-old scored the only goal in a 1-0 win at Sunderland on Tuesday evening which ended the Foxes’ three-game losing streak in the league and maintained their three-point advantage over second-placed Ipswich.

Asked about the former England international’s contribution, Maresca said: “We know very well that Jamie is so important for us. He has been so important this season and he will be important for the end of the season.

“He has experience, but also he has done in his life and is doing the most important thing in football, that is scoring goals.”

Vardy’s 13th-minute header after Anthony Patterson had saved Wout Faes’ initial effort proved the difference between the sides on a night when the Foxes might have had the game won by half-time, but then needed a fine save from goalkeeper Mads Hermansen after the break to deny Trai Hume a spectacular equaliser.

The home side were aggrieved not to be awarded a penalty for Hamza Choudhury’s stoppage-time challenge on defender Dan Ballard as they mounted a concerted late charge.

Interim Sunderland boss Mike Dodds said: “Dan is adamant it was a penalty. My initial gut is why would he go down?”

Maresca admitted City had not played as well as they had in successive defeats by Middlesbrough, Leeds and QPR, but was delighted with their resilience as the Black Cats rallied.

He said: “At this moment, the most important thing is to win games, and also as a team probably we need to learn to win games in an ugly way like tonight.

“In the second half, we suffered a lot, but in the first half, again we created many chances especially at the beginning. We missed, but fortunately we could score with Jamie and at the end, we won the game.”

Sunderland’s fifth defeat on the trot left them closer to the bottom three than the top six in terms of points, but Dodds was adamant there are reasons to be cheerful.

He said: “They are human. They’ve lost five on the bounce, so they’re not machines, they are aware of that, I’m aware of that. But I do feel that we are one win away from putting a number of wins together.

“Unfortunately the result wasn’t the result we wanted, but I think the performance would show that there is some light at the end of the tunnel.”

A late goal from Leif Davis ensured Ipswich kept pace with league leaders Leicester after coming from behind to beat Bristol City 3-2.

All five goals came in a frantic second half, with the Robins taking the lead through Anis Mehmeti only for substitute Ali Al-Hamadi to equalise.

Tommy Conway’s header put City back in front but Conor Chaplin drew the teams level with a header from a free-kick by Davis before the Town defender sealed the three points.

Al-Hamadi had a penalty saved by City’s goalkeeper Max O’Leary but he was unable to stop Ipswich’s sixth victory on the trot.

It was a dour first half with few chances before the game came to life in the second period.

Chaplin struck the outside of the left-hand post in the 33rd minute after Kieffer Moore’s flicked header from a corner, while at the other end Harry Cornick’s cross was met by Nahki Wells, who headed straight at Vaclav Hladky.

Just before the half-time whistle, a mix-up in the Ipswich defence between Luke Woolfenden and Axel Tuanzebe led to the ball falling to Mehmeti.

He set up skipper Jason Knight but his effort from inside the box deflected off Woolfenden and glanced just past the outside of Hladky’s right-hand post, with the goalkeeper stranded.

The visitors broke the deadlock in the 54th minute when Mehmeti’s shot caught a slight deflection off Massimo Luongo to find its way into the back of the Ipswich net. And Wells had a wonderful chance to extend City’s lead when his shot struck the angle of bar and post and rebounded to safety.

But Ipswich struck back eight minutes later through substitute Al-Hamadi, who had only been on the pitch less than two minutes, turning Davis’ goal-bound shot into the net following Wes Burns’ cross into the City penalty area.

Hladky came to the rescue of Ipswich when he acrobatically turned away a shot from Mehmeti and Mark Sykes’ follow-up was cleared.

City substitute Conway pounced to head the ball past Hladky in the 77th minute following a pin-point cross from Sykes to put City back in front but Chaplin levelled three minutes later when he headed home from a Davis free-kick.

Al-Hamadi missed a chance to put Town ahead for the first time in the match when his penalty was saved by O’Leary after Cameron Pring fouled Burns in the box.

But Town grabbed the three points when Davis’ fierce shot took a deflection off Rob Dickie and went into the back of the net while Jack Taylor struck a post late on to send the delirious Town fans home happy.

Jamie Vardy’s 13th goal of the season proved unlucky for Sunderland as Leicester ended their losing streak to strengthen their Sky Bet Championship title hopes.

The 37-year-old’s first-half header was enough to secure a 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light, although it took a fine save by goalkeeper Mads Hermansen to deny Trai Hume a spectacular equaliser and condemn his team to a fifth successive defeat.

Enzo Maresca’s men would have been kicking themselves had they allowed two priceless points to slip from their grasp after squandering early chances, but they had to resist a stern examination as the hosts finished strongly.

The Italian’s response to Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by QPR was to shuffle his pack with one of his four changes restoring Vardy to the starting line-up, while at the other end of the scale, Sunderland midfielder Chris Rigg was handed a first league start at the age of 16.

Leicester’s bandwagon had stalled somewhat after a run of three successive defeats, while Sunderland had lost their previous four and in the circumstances, a scrappy start to the game was perhaps not unexpected.

The Foxes were first to show when Stephy Mavididi cut inside from the left and raced away from Dan Ballard only for Luke O’Nien to get a vital touch on his cross, and it took an improbable double-save from Anthony Patterson to deny Vardy and then Yunus Akgun after Sunderland had been exposed down their right once again.

Patterson produced a fine reaction stop to keep out Wout Faes’ header from a 13th-minute Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall free-kick, but Vardy pounced to nod the rebound home.

The Black Cats started to work their way back into the game and Hermansen was sent sprawling to his left to claim Jobe Bellingham’s header from a 31st-minute O’Nien cross, but Patterson had to get down well to save Hamza Choudhury’s first-time strike as City pressed once again.

Sunderland returned after the break in determined mood with Dan Neil probing from midfield, but they were unable to pierce the blue wall which stood between them and Hermansen until Hume took aim from distance and saw the keeper tip his 64th-minute piledriver on to the crossbar.

Hume forced Hermansen into further saves with an 80th-minute attempt from distance and a stoppage time free-kick as the home side piled on the pressure, but the visitors, who sent on Wilfred Ndidi as a late substitute on his return from injury, held firm to see out an important win.

Leicester manager Enzo Maresca said his team will need to be mentally strong after losing the last three Championship games and seeing their lead at the top of the table cut to just three points.

QPR produced a shock result at the King Power Stadium as goals from Ilias Chair and Sinclair Armstrong earned them a 2-1 win that boosts their hopes of avoiding relegation.

Leicester pulled a back through defender Ben Nelson’s first senior goal but they could not find an equaliser and both Ipswich and Leeds are closing in on the leaders.

“It’s a bad feeling. In the last three defeats, we dominated with the chances but the most important thing is to score goals. We lacked quality in the last third,” said Maresca.

“I don’t think it was a matter of being nervous, I didn’t have this feeling from the players. With 11 games to go, we need to finish in the best way.

“It’s been long time since we have been at the top and everyone is chasing us, we can’t think about that, we just need to win games.

“When you drop points and the rest win, you see yourself that they are coming, but we need balance at the moment. You cannot be so happy or so sad.

“If you get too nervous it could be dangerous, if you relax, it could be dangerous. You have to be mentally strong because we have a game in three days (at Sunderland).”

QPR manager Marti Cifuentes praised his players, but said a “great escape” is still not complete after a third successive win, which only lifted them one place up the table and leaves them outside the bottom three only on goal difference.

“We performed at a really high level against a team that is extremely good. They are a very good side with a fantastic coach and I’m sure they will go up despite the last three defeats,” said Cifuentes.

“All the credit to the players because they were very well organised for a long time. We were clinical as we had to be.

“I thought Leicester would be more dangerous and angry after the last two defeats.

“It was an important win for us, but I’m not getting carried away with a victory. The reality is the table shows we are still in a big battle. To get out and achieve this great escape, there is still a lot more to be done.”

Cifuentes praised Chair for opening the scoring. The Morocco international has continued to feature amid reports he faces a year in prison after being found guilty in Belgium of assault, with QPR saying on February 23 that “the legal proceeding is yet to reach its conclusion”.

The Spanish coach added: “I am very pleased with Ilias and the rest of the players so I am not talking much about other things that the club had already commented on. I am pleased about his goal and he is a very important player for us.”

Cifuentes was also delighted with 20-year-old forward Armstrong, who scored with his first touch after coming on as a 57th-minute substitute.

“It was a fantastic first touch, a fantastic way to start the game for him, he gave us exactly what we were looking for,” he said.

Leicester’s lead at the top of the Championship has been cut to just three points with 11 games to go after relegation-threatened QPR claimed a surprise 2-1 victory at the King Power Stadium.

Goals from Ilias Chair and substitute Sinclair Armstrong – who scored with his first touch after coming on just before the hour – earned improving Rangers their third successive victory.

The Foxes quickly pulled a goal back through teenage defender Ben Nelson but they could not find an equaliser as they slumped to a third league defeat in a row, with second-placed Ipswich Town now closing in on them.

The result was a valuable one for QPR, but lifted them just one place up the table and they remain outside the bottom three on goal difference.

Leicester began the game boosted by promotion rivals Leeds drawing at struggling Huddersfield, but they suffered an early blow when midfielder Dennis Praet had to come off injured after 15 minutes, Yunus Akgun taking his place.

Enzo Maresca’s side dominated possession and Harry Winks came close to opening the scoring when he curled a shot just wide of the far post from 20 yards out.

QPR full-back Kenneth Paal then stopped Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall putting Leicester ahead after 26 minutes when he turned away a cross from Yunus for a corner.

But Rangers soaked up the pressure and broke away to take the lead after 38 minutes. Chris Willock advanced on the right-hand side and found Lyndon Dykes whose cross was met by Chair and he squeezed the ball just inside the post.

Armstrong came on as a 57th-minute substitute for QPR and made an immediate impact to give Marti Cifuentes’ side a two-goal lead.

Jimmy Dunne’s header found Sam Field in the penalty area and he stopped the ball before Armstrong followed up to score with a powerful drive.

Leicester pulled a goal back three minutes later to give themselves a lifeline.

Stephy Mavididi rolled a free-kick to Dewsbury-Hall and although his shot was pushed out by Rangers goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, Leicester defender Nelson followed up to clip the ball in.

It was the 19-year-old’s first senior goal and gave his side some hope of forcing their way back into the game.

With 21 minutes left, Abdul Fatawu cut in from the right and curled a shot just over the bar, as he tried a repeat of his winning goal in the midweek FA Cup tie at Bournemouth.

But Leicester struggled to break the Rangers defence down and could not force an equaliser.

Chair had a chance of a third goal for QPR in stoppage time, but he put his shot wide with only Leicester goalkeeper Mads Hermansen to beat.

Leicester’s final chance to level the scores disappeared when Winks had a shot charged down.

The game was reminiscent of Leicester’s previous home game against Middlesbrough when they also went two goals behind and could not recover.

But some Foxes players surrounded the match officials at the final whistle as they claimed a late penalty should have been given in their favour.

Erling Haaland plundered five goals as holders Manchester City powered into the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 6-2 victory at Luton.

The Norwegian notched a first-half hat-trick at Kenilworth Road to put City 3-0 up, with Kevin De Bruyne providing the assist for each of the goals.

After Luton replied with efforts from Jordan Clark just prior to and just after the interval, Haaland notched his fourth – De Bruyne again registering an assist – and then a fifth, before Mateo Kovacic completed the rout.

Championship leaders Leicester pulled off a 1-0 win at Bournemouth thanks to an extra-time effort from substitute Abdul Fatawu.

Fatawu sent a fine shot past Cherries goalkeeper Mark Travers in the final minute of the first half of the additional period.

Newcastle are also through after getting past Blackburn 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes at Ewood Park.

The contest went to spot-kicks after Sammie Szmodics’ 79th-minute equaliser for the Championship hosts cancelled out Anthony Gordon’s effort eight minutes earlier.

In the shootout Martin Dubravka made saves to deny Szmodics and Dominic Hyam as the Magpies prevailed.

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