EFL ups and downs as Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest fight for Championship promotion

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We’re at the business end of the season in the EFL with matters of promotion, relegation and play-offs all set to be decided in the next few days.

The regular League One season concludes on Saturday, with the Championship and League Two climaxing next weekend, and there’s so much still up for grabs.

Sportsmail runs you through all the important fixtures in the three divisions and those all-important permutations.

Fulham secured their return to the Premier League when they beat Preston last week

Fulham secured their return to the Premier League when they beat Preston last week

THE CHAMPIONSHIP

Who will be joining Fulham in the Premier League next season?

Fulham secured their return to the Premier League when they beat Preston North End 3-0 on April 19 – but the Cottagers haven’t yet secured the Championship title.

They lost 1-0 at home to Nottingham Forest on Tuesday but it’s pretty certain they’ll be lifting the trophy given they need only two points from their last two matches.

A win at home to Luton Town on Monday evening will get them there.

The second automatic promotion place looks likely to go down to the wire, with Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest the main candidates but Huddersfield Town are also still in the equation.

Fulham weren't able to seal the Championship title when they lost 1-0 to Nottingham Forest

Fulham weren’t able to seal the Championship title when they lost 1-0 to Nottingham Forest

How the top of the Championship looks with the promotion and play-off races still wide open

How the top of the Championship looks with the promotion and play-off races still wide open

Bournemouth are currently in second spot and are three points ahead of Forest in third and Huddersfield in fourth. They have an identical goal difference of +30.

Both the Cherries and Forest have a game in hand on the Terriers and, intriguingly, that game in hand sees them play each other at the Vitality Stadium on Tuesday next week in what could effectively be a promotion shoot-out.

Before that, Bournemouth travel to Blackburn Rovers and Forest host Swansea City on Saturday afternoon.

Huddersfield can’t be ruled out ahead of their trip to Coventry but would need both Bournemouth and Forest to slip-up in the final week.

Scott Parker's Bournemouth came from three goals down to draw 3-3 at Swansea on Tuesday

Scott Parker’s Bournemouth came from three goals down to draw 3-3 at Swansea on Tuesday

Kieffer Moore celebrates Bournemouth's equalising goal for a crucial point at Swansea

Kieffer Moore celebrates Bournemouth’s equalising goal for a crucial point at Swansea 

Forest manager Steve Cooper celebrates his team's win at Fulham on Tuesday evening

Forest manager Steve Cooper celebrates his team’s win at Fulham on Tuesday evening

Who’ll win the mad scramble for the play-offs?

Bournemouth, Forest and Huddersfield are assured of at least a place in the play-offs.

Luton look pretty certain to be in the play-offs as well given they have a five-point buffer to seventh with just two games to play.

But sixth place, the final play-off position, is up for grabs. 

Sheffield United are currently there, having strengthened their grip with a 3-1 win at Queens Park Rangers on Friday night, but Middlesbrough, Blackburn and Millwall can mathematically still make it. 

Middlesbrough play Stoke on Saturday while Millwall are at home to already-relegated Peterborough.

Sheffield United's playoff hopes were boosted with a 3-1 win over Queens Park Rangers

Sheffield United’s playoff hopes were boosted with a 3-1 win over Queens Park Rangers 

Huddersfield will be in the play-offs and could yet pinch the second automatic place

Huddersfield will be in the play-offs and could yet pinch the second automatic place

Luton have enjoyed an excellent season and are on the brink of sealing their play-off place

Luton have enjoyed an excellent season and are on the brink of sealing their play-off place

In the play-offs, third will play sixth and fourth will play fifth, with the higher-ranked team enjoying home advantage in the second leg.

The first legs of the semi-finals will be played on May 13/14 with the returns on May 16/17. The final, at Wembley, is on Sunday May 29.

Who has been relegated to League One?

Relegation matters have already been decided with Derby, Barnsley and Peterborough heading down to League One.

Derby’s relegation was confirmed when they lost 1-0 at QPR on April 18 and Barnsley’s fate was sealed by a 2-0 defeat at Huddersfield four days later.

Peterborough went down last Saturday when they lost 1-0 at home to Forest.

Wayne Rooney's Derby County saw their relegation confirmed back on April 18

Wayne Rooney’s Derby County saw their relegation confirmed back on April 18

Peterborough United, Derby County and Barnsley will be going down to League One

Peterborough United, Derby County and Barnsley will be going down to League One 

Championship fixtures 

FRIDAY

Queens Park Rangers 1-3 Sheffield United   

SATURDAY

3pm kick-off unless stated

Barnsley vs Preston North End (12.30pm)

Live on Sky Sports Red Button

Blackburn Rovers vs AFC Bournemouth

Blackpool vs Derby County 

Bristol City vs Hull City 

Cardiff City vs Birmingham City

Coventry City vs Huddersfield Town

Middlesbrough vs Stoke City

Millwall vs Peterborough United

Nottingham Forest vs Swansea City

Reading vs West Bromwich Albion

MONDAY

Fulham vs Luton Town (5.15pm)

Live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football

LEAGUE ONE

Which two of Wigan, Rotherham or MK Dons will be going up automatically?

The final day of the League One season on Saturday is shaping up to be a real nerve-shredder with issues unresolved at both ends of the table.

Wigan Athletic, Rotherham United and MK Dons are all going for the two automatic promotion places.

Wigan are in the box seat ahead of their trip to Shrewsbury Town, sitting two points ahead of Rotherham and three ahead of MK Dons.

So the Latics need only to draw to secure promotion but may have to win to secure the title depending on how Rotherham get on at Gillingham and the Dons fare away to Plymouth Argyle.

Rotherham will need to win their game if MK win theirs. If MK only draw, a point will be good enough for the Millers. MK will need to win and hope one of the pair above them stumble.

Title hopefuls Wigan threw away a two-goal lead to lose to Portsmouth on Tuesday night

Title hopefuls Wigan threw away a two-goal lead to lose to Portsmouth on Tuesday night

Action from the match between Sunderland and Rotherham, which ended 1-1, in midweek

Action from the match between Sunderland and Rotherham, which ended 1-1, in midweek

The situation at the top end of League One as three teams duel it out for two automatic places

The situation at the top end of League One as three teams duel it out for two automatic places

A final afternoon play-off dogfight

The unlucky club to miss out will have to refocus on the play-offs. Below them, a four-way fight for just three places will add to the final day intrigue.

Entering the action, Sheffield Wednesday are fourth, Sunderland fifth and Plymouth sixth. But Plymouth and seventh-placed Wycombe are level on 80 points, with Argyle two better off in the goal difference column.

Wycombe are playing at Burton Albion and will need to better Plymouth’s result against MK Dons to sneak in. Alternatively, Wycombe will need to rack up the goals if both teams win.

Wednesday are at home to Portsmouth and Sunderland travel to Morecambe in the other key games, with each kicking off early at 12.30pm.

The first legs of the League One play-off semi-finals are scheduled for May 5/6 with the second legs on May 8/9. The final is on May 21.

Lee Gregory's goals have been crucial as Sheffield Wednesday push for a play-off place

Lee Gregory’s goals have been crucial as Sheffield Wednesday push for a play-off place

Who will pull off a great escape from relegation?

We already know that Crewe Alexandra are going down – that was confirmed back on April 9 when they lost 2-0 to Doncaster Rovers – but everything else at the bottom is still to be decided on the last day.

Doncaster are as good as down given they would need a 27-goal swing to survive even if they do take all three points at Oxford United.

AFC Wimbledon are three points from safety ahead of their home game with Accrington Stanley and they require a seven-goal swing to escape.

Fleetwood (20th) and Gillingham (21st) are locked together on 40 points either side of the relegation divide. Fleetwood have the far healthier goal difference, which could prove decisive.

The Gills host promotion-chasing Rotherham, while Fleetwood make the trip to Bolton Wanderers.

Morecambe are two points above Fleetwood and Gillingham so could still go down if they lose to Sunderland and the other two both win.

Crewe are already down but the remaining three relegation places are still undecided

Crewe are already down but the remaining three relegation places are still undecided 

League One fixtures 

SATURDAY

All 12.30pm kick-off

AFC Wimbledon vs Accrington Stanley

Bolton Wanderers vs Fleetwood Town

Burton Albion vs Wycombe Wanderers

Cambridge United vs Cheltenham Town

Gillingham vs Rotherham United

Live on Sky Sports Main Event  

Ipswich Town vs Charlton Athletic

Lincoln City vs Crewe Alexandra

Morecambe vs Sunderland

Oxford United vs Doncaster Rovers

Plymouth Argyle vs Milton Keynes Dons

Live on Sky Sports Football 

Sheffield Wednesday vs Portsmouth

Shrewsbury Town vs Wigan Athletic

 

LEAGUE TWO

Who’ll join Forest Green and Exeter in League One next season?

Three go up automatically from League Two and we already know the identity of two of them. Eco-club Forest Green Rovers sealed promotion with a 0-0 draw at Bristol Rovers last weekend, while Exeter City went up after they beat Barrow on Tuesday night.

Locked on 83 points, the title will go down to the final day next weekend. This Saturday, Forest Green host Harrogate Town and Exeter are away to Northampton Town.

That is certainly an important one for Northampton, who are currently in the third promotion place but can be overhauled by Port Vale, Mansfield Town, Bristol Rovers, Sutton United and Swindon Town in the final two games.

The Cobblers are just a point ahead of Port Vale and Mansfield so there’s still everything to play for.

The players of Forest Green Rovers celebrate their promotion up to League One last weekend

The players of Forest Green Rovers celebrate their promotion up to League One last weekend

Celebrations for Exeter City as they sealed their elevation into League One during midweek

Celebrations for Exeter City as they sealed their elevation into League One during midweek

The situation in League Two as several clubs look to join promoted Forest Green and Exeter

The situation in League Two as several clubs look to join promoted Forest Green and Exeter

Who will be the play-off quartet?

Those sides that don’t finish third will contest the play-offs. Port Vale, Mansfield, Bristol Rovers and Sutton are currently extending their season but Swindon, Salford City and Tranmere Rovers have a chance of catching them.

On Saturday, Sutton host Bradford City, Bristol Rovers make the journey to Rochdale and Swindon Town are at home to Barrow. On Bank Holiday Monday, Salford play Mansfield and Port Vale host Newport County.

The League Two play-off semi-final first legs will be on May 14/15 with the return games on May 18/19. The final is at Wembley on May 28.

Who is dropping down into non-league?

The two going down to the National League are Scunthorpe United and Oldham Athletic.

Scunthorpe were relegated on April 15 after they lost 3-0 at Leyton Orient. Oldham’s fate was sealed last weekend with their game against Salford finished behind closed doors when Latics fans angry at the epic mismanagement of the club invaded the pitch to protest.

There was chaos at Oldham last weekend as their relegation saw fan protest on the pitch

There was chaos at Oldham last weekend as their relegation saw fan protest on the pitch

Oldham Athletic and Scunthorpe United have already had their relegation confirmed

Oldham Athletic and Scunthorpe United have already had their relegation confirmed 

League Two fixtures

SATURDAY

All 3pm kick-off

Carlisle United vs Stevenage

Colchester United vs Walsall

Crawley Town vs Leyton Orient

Forest Green Rovers vs Harrogate Town

Rochdale vs Bristol Rovers

Scunthorpe United vs Hartlepool United 

Sutton United vs Bradford City

Swindon Town vs Barrow

Tranmere Rovers vs Oldham Athletic

MONDAY

Salford City vs Mansfield Town (12.30pm)

Live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football

Port Vale vs Newport County (3pm)

Live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Which teams are heading up into the EFL?

Stockport County are sitting pretty in the National League’s one automatic promotion place. They are four points ahead of Wrexham with a game in hand.

Wrexham, FC Halifax Town, Solihull Moors, Notts County, Chesterfield and Grimsby Town currently occupy the play-off positions.

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