Belfast Telegraph

Ups and downs

This weekend could see the first promotions clinched in the Football League, while other clubs may follow Rotherham in being consigned to relegation.

Champagne bottles could be uncorked for Sheffield United and Doncaster's players if everything goes to plan for the South Yorkshire clubs this weekend.

Here Press Association Sport looks at what can be decided this weekend.


There is still plenty to play for at the top of the Premier League, despite Chelsea's sizeable advantage, and Antonio Conte's men are still some way off confirming a top-four place even though Arsenal and Manchester United, who have nine games left, are 18 points off the leaders.

Rock-bottom Sunderland have a possible 24 points still to play for and will need to start picking some up soon if they are to close the 10-point gap between themselves and safety.


Newcastle and Brighton have already guaranteed play-off spots but neither can secure a place in next season's Premier League just yet. Third-placed Huddersfield start this round of games nine points adrift of the Seagulls and still have a game in hand, though they cannot join the two clubs above them in securing a top-six finish this weekend.

At the bottom Rotherham became the first team in the entire Football League to have their relegation confirmed following last weekend's loss to Sheffield Wednesday. Wigan, the Millers' opponents on Saturday, are seven points adrift of safety with only six to play and will be staring at the trap door if they fail to win this weekend. Blackburn, Bristol City, Nottingham Forest, Burton and Birmingham are separated by just six points, suggesting the fight for survival could rumble on until the final day.


Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder visits his old club Northampton this weekend knowing three points will see the Blades finally win promotion back to the second tier of English football. A draw would still be enough for Wilder's team if Fleetwood fail to beat Oldham, while a victory for Latics over the Cod Army would see Sheffield United go up regardless of their own result. Bolton could also be assured of at least a play-off spot this weekend.

At the other end of the table, Coventry, winners of the Checkatrade Trophy last weekend, will be demoted to League Two should they lose at home to Peterborough. A draw may not be enough to fight on for another week and even a win would see them relegated should Port Vale, Gillingham, Oldham, Bury all win and Charlton pick up at least a point. That series of results would also confirm Chesterfield, who face Vale, dropping out of the division.


Doncaster are on the brink of returning to League One and will secure promotion should they defeat Mansfield at home. A share of the spoils against the Stags will also start the party providing Stevenage do not defeat Colchester and Darren Ferguson's team will also go up even if they are defeated and Stevenage lose and Luton fail to defeat Barnet.

Leyton Orient's seemingly inevitable slide out of the Football League is still some way of being realised as the gap between themselves and safety is nine points with six to play.

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