The permutations in battle for promotion and relegation
Promotion and relegation issues at stake this weekend
Watford’s relegation from the Premier League could be confirmed this weekend while the League Two promotion picture and Championship play-offs will be decided.
Here we take a look at the promotion and relegation issues at stake in the weekend’s football fixtures.
Norwich are down and Watford will follow barring a perfect set of results the rest of the way. Manager Roy Hodgson admitted this week the Hornets are “basically relegated” and, lying 12 points adrift with four games to play, they need to win all four and hope either Burnley or Leeds lose all of theirs.
They play Hodgson’s former club Crystal Palace on Saturday and will be relegated unless they win – and even then, confirmation could come on Sunday with any two of an Everton win at Leicester or points for Leeds, at Arsenal, or Burnley who play Aston Villa on Saturday.
The title race has a way to run, with Manchester City just a point ahead of Liverpool. Those two teams are secure in the Champions League places but third and fourth will remain up for grabs beyond the weekend.
Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield will finish third and fourth, with Town needing a better result against Bristol City than Forest manage at Hull to jump to third.
Sheffield United and Luton need draws against Fulham and Reading respectively to secure the remaining two spots. If they lose, it could open the door for Middlesbrough or – goal difference permitting – Millwall to finish in the top six.
Peterborough, Derby and Barnsley are relegated.
The regular season is over in League One, with the play-offs pitting Wycombe against MK Dons on Thursday and Sunday and Sunderland against Sheffield Wednesday on Friday and Monday.
Forest Green and Exeter are already promoted and will play for the title, with Exeter a point ahead, as the real intrigue shifts to third place.
Their respective opponents Mansfield and Port Vale still harbour automatic promotion hopes of their own but will need a slip-up from third-placed Northampton at Barrow as well as Bristol Rovers, fourth and level on points with the Cobblers.
Rovers will look to rack up the goals against relegated Scunthorpe, with their goal difference five worse than Northampton’s.
Mansfield and Vale, though, could still miss out on the play-offs. They are on 76 and 75 points respectively, with Swindon on 74, Sutton 73 and ninth-placed Tranmere 72.
Swindon could even dramatically snatch third place but would need to beat Walsall and hope Northampton and Bristol Rovers both lose and Mansfield and Vale do not win.
Oldham and the Iron are relegated.
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