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Championship and League Two: Who needs what on the final day

The Championship and League Two regular seasons draw to a close on Saturday, with a number of sides battling for play-off berths and one remaining automatic promotion spot.

This article was originally published on 5 September 2022

Fulham and Bournemouth have already secured first and second spots respectively in the Championship and are guaranteed to be playing Premier League football next term.

In League Two, Exeter City and Forest Green Rovers go into the final round of fixtures safe in the knowledge that they'll be heading up, although the title is still up for grabs with the former only a point clear of the latter.

Championship play-off picture

PositionTeam NamePlayedPoints
3Nottingham Forest4579
4Huddersfield Town4579
5Sheffield United4572
6Luton Town4572

Forest looking to bounce back

Nottingham Forest's hopes of automatic promotion were extinguished on Tuesday after they fell to a 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth.

That loss left Forest sitting third and six points adrift of the Cherries as they prepare for a trip to Hull City on Saturday.

Forest, who have the fourth-best away record in the division, can be backed at 5/6 to beat the Tigers and are 11/4 to triumph by a one-goal margin.

Steve Cooper's men will need to wipe disappointment from their memory as swiftly as possible with a play-off campaign on the horizon.

They are guaranteed of a top-six finish, but they face a battle to retain third spot with fourth-placed Huddersfield Town only below them on goal difference.

Huddersfield are 10/11 to earn a fourth successive win at the expense of Bristol City at the John Smith's Stadium, while the draw is available at 13/5.

Forest, 7/4 to be promoted, and 4/1 Huddersfield at least have the safety net of knowing they are going to be in the play-offs even if they lose on the final day, although both will be keen to end on a high.

Last two spots go down to the wire

There are four teams in contention for the final two places - fifth and sixth - with Sheffield United, Luton Town, Middlesbrough and Millwall facing a nervous final day.

United and Luton will start Saturday in fifth and sixth respectively, both on 72 points, while Boro are two points adrift in seventh and the Lions are a point further back in eighth.

Champions Fulham are the visitors to Bramall Lane and the Blades will hope the Cottagers have already switched off, although a 7-0 win over Luton on Monday doesn't suggest that they have.

The Blades ran out 1-0 winners at Craven Cottage on 20th December and are 1/1 to pick up another victory, with the hosts 11/4 to edge home by a one-goal margin.

Of the four sides in contention for a play-off berth, Luton arguably have the most favourable fixture when they host Reading.

The Hatters are 1/2 to overcome the Royals, who have only picked up six away wins all season.

Boro, who need a win and at least one of the two sides above them to lose, head to Preston North End, while Millwall hit the road to take on already-promoted Bournemouth.

League Two play-off picture

PositionTeam NamePlayedPoints
3Northampton Town4577
4Bristol Rovers4577
5Mansfield Town4576
6Port Vale4575
7Swindon Town4574
8Sutton United4573
9Tranmere Rovers4572

Final automatic place up for grabs

The picture in League Two is slightly different with three teams offered the chance to secure automatic promotion.

Exeter and Forest Green are already up, but third place is far from secure for Northampton Town.

The Cobblers and Bristol Rovers are guaranteed at least a top-seven finish, but both will be keen to avoid the lottery of the play-offs if possible.

Rovers, Mansfield Town, Port Vale and Swindon Town can all still catch the Cobblers and it looks set to be a dramatic finale.

Northampton, 4/7 to secure a top-three finish, are unbeaten in five and that momentum could be key as they attempt to overcome a Barrow side who sit 21st and who have nothing to play for.

Rovers, priced at 13/8 to claim an automatic berth, will also be confident of picking up three points when they host already-relegated Scunthorpe United.

Mansfield, who are a point adrift of Northampton in fifth, play host to already-promoted Forest Green, but the visitors have their eyes on top spot and are unlikely to roll over.

Vale head to current leaders Exeter and Swindon also hit the road to take on a Walsall side with little to play for.

Duo eyeing last-gasp climb

Sutton United and Tranmere Rovers start Saturday's final round of fixtures in eighth and ninth respectively and both could still sneak into the top seven.

Sutton, 6/5 to snatch a top-seven spot, are one point behind seventh-placed Swindon and Tranmere are a point further back ahead of trips to Harrogate Town and Leyton Orient respectively.

With Mansfield and Port Vale facing tricky fixtures against the top two in the division, there's a distinct possibility that one or both could slip up.

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