EFL Permutations This Weekend

Johnny Reynolds

Championship

Fulham eased past Preston to seal their Premier League return as Aleksandar Mitrovic's double took his season's tally to 40 goals, after the Serbian striker netted twice in the first half.

The first of the 92 clubs to seal promotion, Fulham, faces second-placed Bournemouth this weekend, and though Bournemouth can’t confirm their promotion this weekend it seems that it will be only a matter of time for the Cherries, as they look to bounce back to the Premier League, after two seasons in the second tier. If Huddersfield were to defeat Barnsley they would also ensure themselves a play-off spot as they seek promotion back to the Premier League.

At the other end of the Championship, Derby County have already been relegated and it looks almost certain that Barnsley and Peterborough will join them. Derby were relegated from the Championship on Monday after suffering a dramatic late defeat at Queens Park Rangers. Luke Amos' 88th-minute winner for QPR, coupled with Reading's extraordinary 4-4 draw against Swansea, consigned Wayne Rooney's Rams to League One.

The fate of Peterborough and Barnsley is out of their hands, and a victory for Reading at Hull City will see the two teams return to the third-tier of English football, regardless of their own results. Even if Reading were not able to win, Barnsley would have to win away at third-place Huddersfield., and defeat for either team if Reading fails to win would also confirm their relegation.

League One

The race for promotion in League One has arguably been the most exciting area of the Football League this year.

Wigan Athletic can confirm their promotion to the second tier this weekend, and if they defeat Plymouth and Rotherham lose to Oxford United, Wigan can be crowned champions.

Regardless of other results, a win for the Latics would guarantee their return to the Championship. While Rotherham will not mathematically get promoted on Saturday, a win against Oxford combined with their already superior +7 goal difference would give the Millers a huge advantage over MK Dons, who are level on 83 points.

MK Dons host Morecambe on Saturday and could go second if Rotherham fails to win, though they have played a game more than the Yorkshire club.

At the bottom of League One, while Doncaster Rovers are not mathematically relegated, Gillingham have a substantial goal difference lead, which means the Dons will likely play in League 2 next season.

The 21st vs 22nd match between Fleetwood Town and AFC Wimbledon is one of the most important games of the weekend. If Fleetwood win, they will relegate their opponents, however, if Wimbledon win they may be able to drag Fleetwood back into the relegation scrap, though Fleetwood have a better goal difference and a game in hand over their relegation rivals.

Bottom placed Crew Alexandra have already been relegated, and a distraught David Artell, apologised to fans after his Crewe side were beaten 2-0 at fellow strugglers Doncaster United, the result which confirmed their demise to League Two.

League Two

Forest Green Rovers look destined for promotion this weekend, and they’ll confirm their promotion with a singular point from any of their remaining four fixtures, they face a tough game away to inform Bristol Rovers on saturday.

If for whatever reason Forest Green are unable to win any of their remaining fixtures, they still look at odds on favourites to go up as they have a five-point lead on second-placed Exeter City, and a further two-point lead on third-placed Port Vale.

Forest Green can be promoted this weekend, if Port Vale loses, or if Northampton and or Sutton fail to win. It’s just a matter of time now for Rob Edwards’ team.

Exeter will also be promoted if they win at home to Rochdale and other results go their way. No play-off places can be confirmed this weekend due to Mansfield’s game in hand. As it stands, every club down to Crawley Town in 12th can still mathematically make the play-offs.

At the other end of the table, Scunthorpe United have already been relegated and will finish bottom, and Oldham Athletic could join them this weekend. Oldham faces Salford at home this weekend, in a Greater Manchester Derby. If they lose to Salford and Stevenage beat Mansfield Town away, Oldham will be relegated from the Football League. Stevenage are four points clear of the drop, and have a game in hand over the bottom two clubs, they face Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.


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