It’s the final weekend of the regular season in Leagues One and Two and there is still plenty to play for.
We know the four teams who will be relegated from One to Two and we know the pair who will be tumbling out of the Football League, in Southend United’s case for the first time in their long history.
But the promotion and play-off pictures from both sections are yet to be cleared up with plenty of potential for some final-day dramas.
Can Mariners Make it Grim for Cambridge?
The battle for promotion from League Two has reached a tense climax with plenty on the line.
There’s a title fight shoot-out between Cheltenham Town and Cambridge United that both seem reluctant to claim.
There is also a three-way tussle for two automatic promotion places between Cambridge, Bolton Wanderers and Morecambe and there are five sides – Newport County, Tranmere Rovers, Forest Green Rovers, Exeter City and Salford City – jostling for three play-off berths.
The U’s, though, are looking over their shoulders as well. Twice in the last two weeks they’ve had a chance to secure promotion and twice they’ve blown it. Third time lucky?
They are still in the box seat to go up and they are at home to relegated Grimsby Town, which looks like it should be a formality – except that the Mariners have lost only three of their last 14 and are going down fighting.
Bolton, a point behind Cambridge in third, are 1/4 to be promoted, but they have themselves a tricky test at Crawley and, having blown their own chances of clinching a top-three spot last weekend by losing at home to Exeter, how bullish will they be feeling?
20/21 to go up, will probably feel they are being handed a top-three spot and will hope to pile on the pressure on the two sides directly above them by beating Bradford City.
FGR can Defy Odds to Book Play-off Spot
Whichever of Cambridge, Bolton and Morecambe misses out on automatic promotion will, of course, have a second bite via the play-offs.
Newport, in fifth, need a point at Southend to nail their own play-off place (and may not even need that) and are
11/4 to go up. Then come Tranmere at
11/4 and Forest Green at
6/1, who are a place better off than Exeter, yet the Grecians are
Forest Green have stuttered more than any side in the top eight or so and have to go to Oldham Athletic, whereas fast-finishing Exeter are at home to Barrow.
However, Forest Green did beat Tranmere 2-1 last weekend, so have proved they are up for the fight and they look a nice price for a team who will be around half those odds for promotion if they can win at Boundary Park.
Pompey in Pole for Play-off Place
The only issue outstanding in League One is which of Portsmouth, Charlton Athletic or Oxford United get to claim the fourth and final play-off spot.
These three big-hitters were among the pre-season favourites to go up and all have very recent play-off pedigree.
Portsmouth are bidding to make it three play-off campaigns in a row, Charlton three in the last four seasons, while Oxford are hoping to go one better than last year when they missed out in the final to Wycombe Wanderers.
Pompey, a point clear of the other two and at home to Accrington Stanley in their finale, are
9/2 to be promoted. Charlton entertain champions Hull City, while Oxford welcome much-improved Burton Albion.
*All odds correct at time of writing