Leicester opened up a 10-point lead at the top of the Championship with a 4-1 thrashing of Huddersfield as promotion rivals Ipswich and Southampton failed to get 2024 off to a winning start.
Everton loanee Tom Cannon scored twice on his full debut for the Foxes as Leicester stretched their unbeaten run to 10 games.
Cannon was signed by Enzo Maresca on deadline day in August despite carrying a back injury that delayed his debut until three weeks ago.
The Irishman was keen to make up for lost time as he blasted home the opener five minutes before half-time and then made the points safe with another clinical finish on the hour mark.
By that point Ricardo Pereira had already made it 2-0 and Stephy Mavididi’s free-kick rounded off the scoring after Michal Helik had pulled a goal back for Huddersfield.
Ipswich are now without a win in five games as their push for back-to-back promotions has stalled.
Kieran McKenna’s men were unable to make the most of a man advantage for the final half hour after Jordan Thompson was sent off in a 0-0 draw at Stoke.
Southampton missed the chance to close to within a point of the automatic promotion places as their winning streak came to an end in a 1-1 draw at Norwich.
Josh Sargent cancelled out Adam Armstrong’s opener for the Saints.
Leeds closed the gap on Ipswich to seven points with a comfortable 3-0 win over Wayne Rooney’s Birmingham.
Patrick Bamford, Dan James and Crysencio Summerville scored the goals for the home side at Elland Road.
Rooney has won just of his 16 games since taking charge of Birmingham in October.
Sunderland climbed into the playoff places with a 2-0 win over Preston in a timely boost for the Black Cats ahead of their huge FA Cup clash with local rivals Newcastle on Saturday.
Fifth-placed West Brom succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at Swansea.
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