There are still automatic promotion, play-off places and relegation spots still to be officially confirmed in League One on the final day, making it the most ‘unclear’ Football League division going into the last round of fixtures.
Whilst we all have a good idea of what can happen, and a few ‘footballing miracles’ need to happen before the i’s can be dotted and t’s crossed, we thought we’d clear everything up for you.
As mentioned, there is still plenty to play for going into the last game, and we have covered all bases just to make everything crystal clear for you.
Wigan Athletic sealed their immediate return to the Championship thanks to an emphatic away win at relegation threatened Blackpool last weekend. Not only did that mean they have done up, it means it would take one of those ‘footballing miracles’ for them to somehow lose the title as well. A point at home to Barnsley confirms it, as does Burton dropping points at Doncaster Rovers. A Wigan defeat and victory for Burton would need a twenty goal swing in favour of Nigel Clough’s men for them to go up as Champions.
It will be fair to say that Clough and Burton won’t be thinking about winning the league on Sunday. They’ll head to Doncaster looking for all three points or at the very worst a draw to ensure an unlikely promotion into the second tier of English football. If they do lose to Doncaster then they could be forced into settling for a play-off place. If that happens and Walsall win at Port Vale with a three goal swing, then the Saddlers would earn second place.
This is the most intriguing play-off conundrum in the whole of the Football League. There is still one final play-off spot up for grabs, and three teams are challenging for it.
In addition to one of Burton Albion or Walsall, Millwall and Bradford City are confirmed a finish in the play-off places. Barnsley, Scunthorpe United and Gillingham will battle it out for that remaining spot.
There is a slight advantage to Barnsley in the sense that they are already in that final spot, but they are level on points with Scunthorpe and only have a two goal better goal difference. Even a Barnsley win away at title-challenging Wigan wouldn’t guarantee them the final spot, as it would all depend on Scunthorpe winning at Sheffield United and overcoming that two goal swing. For Gillingham to make the play-offs, they would need to win at home to Millwall and hope both Barnsley and Scunthorpe drop points. Both have tough matches, so that is still a real possibility.
Crewe Alexandra and Colchester United are already down, but the final two spots will finally be confirmed once and for all on Sunday.
It would be a huge shock and a ‘footballing miracle’ if Doncaster Rovers are not one of the two to go down. They would need to win promotion-chasing Burton Albion at home, whilst also hoping that Fleetwood Town lose and a ten goal swing goes in favour of Darren Ferguson’s men. Highly unlikely.
Blackpool also need to win to stand any chance of survival. They face managerless Peterborough United at London Road. A win may not be enough, and it would realistically only be enough if Fleetwood Town lose at home to already relegated Crewe. They have a huge goal difference advantage of 13, so Blackpool are certainly hoping Crewe can do them a big favour.