Belfast Telegraph

Swansea boss Paul Clement hoping to avoid historic relegation play-off with Hull

Swansea boss Paul Clement hopes to avoid a historic Premier League relegation play-off with Hull.

The so-called "39th game" would happen if Hull and Swansea finished in joint-18th place, level on points, goal difference and goals scored.

At the moment Hull have a two-point advantage over Swansea with three games remaining b ut the two clubs' goal difference and goals scored are similar.

Swansea's goal difference is -29 compared with Hull's -31, and the Welsh club have scored four more goals.

Should those records be identical come the end of the season, with a relegation place at stake, the Premier League would take the unprecedented step of organising a one-off match.

This is in line with the rules laid out in its annual handbook to decide which club retain their top-flight status, with the game to be played at a neutral venue.

"It is a possibility, isn't it?" Swansea head coach Clement said. "We're +2 better on goal difference, four goals better. So it is tight.

"Obviously you want to try to avoid it b ut at the same time I'd take it (rather than go down)."

Hull have the chance to steal a march on Swansea on Saturday afternoon when they entertain already-relegated Sunderland.

Swansea host Everton in the Saturday evening kick-off and conclude their season against Sunderland and West Brom.

Crystal Palace - still not safe from relegation themselves - and second-placed Tottenham are Hull's last two opponents.

"Although it's two points, for me it's much tighter than that because of what we've got, what they've got, all the different ramifications," Clement said.

"It's definitely the case when you involve Palace, and when you involve Tottenham and the Chelsea (title) situation.

"I think it's more even than the table shows, certainly from a mental point of view."

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