The crescendo of what has been yet another compelling Sky Bet Championship season is about to be performed, in what is set to be a bank holiday bonanza of uniquely EFL action.
With Wigan Athletic, Blackpool and Reading already confined to Sky Bet League One status next season, all the attention is on finding out which two teams will join Middlesbrough and Luton Town in the play-offs.
With five teams all still in with a mathematical chance of keeping their promotion dreams alive, we’ll be explaining all the possible outcomes to help you prepare for all the inevitable twists and turns come Monday afternoon.
How the table looks
|5th) Coventry City (play-off spot)||Points: 69||GD: +12|
|6th) Millwall (final play-off spot)||Points: 68||GD: +8|
|7th) Sunderland||Points: 66||GD: +10|
|8th) West Bromwich Albion||Points: 66||GD: +7|
|9th) Blackburn Rovers||Points: 66||GD: -3|
Millwall vs Blackburn Rovers
Preston North End vs Sunderland
Swansea City vs West Bromwich Albion
Middlesbrough vs Coventry City
What needs to happen for each team to secure a play-off spot
Coventry City – The Sky Blues will confirm a play-off spot and 5th position if they simply avoid defeat against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium. With Sunderland, West Brom and Blackburn all sitting on 66 points respectively, a draw would take Coventry’s total to 70 points, thus making them uncatchable even if those three teams all won. A win, however, would also mean that Coventry City and Middlesbrough would meet again in the play-off semi-finals as Middlesbrough are already confirmed as the 4th placed team on 74 points.
Should Coventry lose to Middlesbrough, however, the lowest they could mathematically finish is 8th place should every other team win and Blackburn were to beat Millwall whilst also overturning an 11 goal swing. However, even if they lose, Millwall and one of either Sunderland, West Brom or Blackburn would have to win and overturn their respective goal difference margins in order to knock Coventry out of a play-off spot.
Millwall – The Lions will also book their place in the play-offs should they beat fellow play-off hopefuls Blackburn Rovers at The Den. They could potentially finish as high as 5th if Coventry fail to beat Middlesbrough. A draw against Rovers would also be good enough for 6th place should Sunderland and West Brom fail to win their respective games.
If Millwall lose however, and Sunderland or West Brom win, they would drop out of their final play-off position.
Sunderland – The Black Cats must win their game away at Preston North End if they are to have any chance of playing a further two games at least this season. If they do so, they would take Millwall’s place should they fail to beat Blackburn, as even a draw for Millwall in this scenario wouldn’t be enough due to Sunderland’s superior goal difference.
They could finish as high as 5th place and set up a Tees-Wear derby in the play-offs if Coventry and Millwall both lose and The Black Cats win, providing that they are able to overturn a two goal swing in favour of Coventry City. Sunderland do crucially possess 65 goals scored however, compared to that of Coventry’s 57 and Millwall’s 54, should a tie-break scenario occur in which goal differences are matching.
West Brom – The Baggies must travel to South Wales and take all three points against an in-form Swansea City side if they are to have any chance of reaching the play-offs. They would then require both Sunderland and Millwall to either draw or lose their respective games. If both Sunderland and Millwall draw, and West Brom were to win by two or more goals, they would take 6th place from Millwall on goal difference.
However, if Sunderland and Millwall draw and West Brom win by one goal, both themselves and Millwall would be level in 6th place both on points, and with a goal difference of +8. Crucially, however, West Brom go into the final day having scored three more goals than Millwall and a better head-to-head record, which all would could then be deciding factors should a tie-break scenario occur.
West Brom could finish as high as 5th place should they win and Coventry lose and both Millwall and Sunderland fail to win their games, but the Baggies would have to overturn a five goal swing in favour of Coventry City.
Blackburn Rovers – Rovers must travel to The Den and leave with all three points against Millwall if they are to have any chance of snatching a play-off spot. A victory over their direct play-off rivals would put them above Millwall, but if either one of Sunderland or West Brom win their games, they would in all likelihood overtake Rovers due to their respectively superior goal differences.
If Blackburn beat Millwall whilst also overturning an 11 goal swing, and both Sunderland and West Brom fail to win, then Blackburn would finish in 6th and take the final play-off spot.