Middlesbrough and their promotion rivals face a crucial weekend in the Championship promotion race

Middlesbrough handed Aston Villa boost as Leeds dealt 'big challenge': Championship promotion race preview

With the Championship promotion race set to go down to the wire, this weekend's fixtures could prove key.

Middlesbrough and their rivals are still battling away to seal promotion to the top flight or a spot in the play-offs, with plenty of teams still feeling they have a realistic chance of finishing in the top six come May. There have already been plenty of twists and turns this season, and this weekend could see several more with some key fixtures at the top of the table. Scroll down and click through the pages to see how Boro and their promotion rivals could fare this weekend:

There's one obvious contender for game of the weekend as second-place Leeds take on Sheffield United, who currently sit third. This could go a long way to deciding automatic promotion.

1. Game of the weekend: Leeds United v Sheffield United

There's one obvious contender for game of the weekend as second-place Leeds take on Sheffield United, who currently sit third. This could go a long way to deciding automatic promotion.
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Marcelo Bielsa admitted that Sheffield United posed a 'big challenge' to his side the last time they met, and he is expecting to be dealt a similar challenge this afternoon.

2. The Leeds boss is expecting a tricky afternoon

Marcelo Bielsa admitted that Sheffield United posed a 'big challenge' to his side the last time they met, and he is expecting to be dealt a similar challenge this afternoon.
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Blades boss Chris Wilder, meanwhile, admitted that Leeds are 'arguably the best team in the division' and hailed the impact Bielsa has had on the Whites this season.

3. There's mutual respect between the chiefs

Blades boss Chris Wilder, meanwhile, admitted that Leeds are 'arguably the best team in the division' and hailed the impact Bielsa has had on the Whites this season.
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Boro have lost back-to-back games for the first time under Tony Pulis, and will be looking to bounce back against an Aston Villa side with designs on a play-off place themselves.

4. Middlesbrough are eyeing a return to winning ways

Boro have lost back-to-back games for the first time under Tony Pulis, and will be looking to bounce back against an Aston Villa side with designs on a play-off place themselves.
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