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Canaries sit back and relax as promotion rivals Leeds and Sheffield United both lose

PUBLISHED: 19:45 19 January 2019 | UPDATED: 20:02 19 January 2019

Daniel Farke celebrated victory with the Carrow Road faithful after his team's 3-1 win over Birmingham on Friday night 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Daniel Farke celebrated victory with the Carrow Road faithful after his team's 3-1 win over Birmingham on Friday night Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

It's been an almost perfect 24 hours for Norwich City, after seeing their Championship promotion rivals falter today while still enjoying the glow of last night's Carrow Road victory over Birmingham.

With the Canaries able to put their feet up and enjoy the Saturday action after a 3-1 home win over Birmingham on Friday night, they saw leaders Leeds fall to a 2-1 loss at Stoke.

Sam Clucas had put the hosts ahead soon after the break and Leeds skipper Pontus Jansson saw red after picking up his second booking with 15 minutes remaining, before Joe Allen wrapped up Nathan Jones’ first win as Stoke boss in the 88th minute.

Ezgjan Alioski scored a consolation deep into injury-time but it was a third defeat in four league games for the Yorkshire side, keeping them just a point clear of Norwich, who go to Elland Road in a fortnight.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side – fresh from the ‘spygate’ controversy sparked by the Argentine manager – will also have to go to Rotherham without Jansson next weekend now, as the Swede serves a one-game ban.

Leeds United's Pontus Jansson is sent off during the Sky Bet Championship match at the bet365 Stadium, Stoke Picture: Dave Thompson/PA WireLeeds United's Pontus Jansson is sent off during the Sky Bet Championship match at the bet365 Stadium, Stoke Picture: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

The day got even better when third-placed Sheffield United – ahead of City on goal difference at the start of the weekend – lost 1-0 at Swansea in the day’s late kick-off to stay three points adrift ahead of their trip to Carrow Road next Saturday.

There was more good news as Middlesbrough dropped two points at home to Millwall, with Canaries loanee Ben Marshall helping the Lions draw 1-1, leaving Boro fifth and six points adrift of Norwich.

Fourth-placed West Brom don’t play until Monday night, when they travel to Bolton as they look to close their six-point gap to the Canaries.

Derby remain sixth after a 2-1 home win over Reading but Bristol City are chasing hard after ruining Martin O’Neill’s homecoming at Nottingham Forest, winning 1-0 to make it four successive victories.

At the other end of the table it was back to losing ways for new-look Ipswich, as Paul Lambert’s charm offensive – supposedly paying for the travel of Town fans out of his own pocket, after also writing an open letter to supporters – failed to prevent a 2-0 defeat at Blackburn, leaving the Tractor Boys bottom but still seven points from safety.

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