Three of the four relegation places have been confirmed in npower League 1 in the last week and the one remaining slot is occupied by Scunthorpe United, who travel to Milton Keynes Dons at the weekend.

Currently five points adrift of Oldham Athletic, who have a game in hand over them, their task is straightforward; they need to win both of their remaining matches and hope the Latics or Colchester United, who they can also still overtake, slip up in their remaining games.

A 2-1 defeat to bottom side Bury in midweek made the challenge even harder and left manager Brian Laws resigned to planning for life a level lower.

"It will take a miracle," Laws told Iron Player. "It is still mathematically possible but it will take a monumental collapse from other teams. I cannot wait for the summer but there are still six points to play and that is something that we will still try and achieve.

"We have got to go and try and win those games otherwise what is the point in turning up. We will prepare ourselves and we will go into them to try and win the game. I expect the players to go out there and perform, not just for us but for their own purposes because if they are not here next season they have got to try and find another club."

Their hosts, MK Dons, are just as hungry for the points to keep alive their Play-Off hopes. They currently head three teams locked on 67 points and four behind seventh-placed Swindon Town.

Should the Robins falter, they are the best placed challengers for that final Play-Off spot due to their superior goal difference, compared to the chasing pack.

"We're still in the mix - we can still hope and pray," manager Karl Robinson told the MK Citizen. "If Swindon don't win on Saturday we take it to the last day, and that is a tremendous testament to us.

"We're seventh now and we made it to the fifth round of the FA Cup - it has been a good season for us. We've got to put a performance in on Saturday for our last home game. And let's hope that if things go our way, it might not be our last."


Whilst it is close at the bottom, it is even tighter at the top. Four teams could still win the league and it is likely at least one of the automatic promotion slots will go to the wire.

Third-placed Brentford make the long trek north to take on already-relegated Hartlepool United in a televised encounter at 5.20pm on Saturday.

The Bees trail Bournemouth in second spot by one point and leaders Doncaster, who they host on the last day, by three with two games to go. A win at Victoria Park is a must if they are to force the issue into the final weekend of the campaign.

Brentford will be without skipper Tony Craig and striker Clayton Donaldson who were both sent off in the pulsating 2-2 draw with Sheffield United on Tuesday.

Experienced player Kevin O'Connor, who filled in at the back as a second-half substitute at Bramall Lane, is looking forward to a "massive" game.

He told Bees Player their aim is to get what is necessary to set up a mouthwatering showdown with Doncaster on the final day: "I hear people saying that they are relegated but that means they can play with freedom. It is on Sky so they will want to look good on that.

"It is a really, really tough game for us but if we can go there and do what we have been doing all season, hopefully we can get the result. We have to win Saturday to keep it alive, that is all our focus is on now, then we can concentrate on the next game after that."

Pools fate was confirmed on Tuesday night despite a victory over Tranmere Rovers last Saturday and manager John Hughes has called on his players to put on a performance for the fans and end the season positively.

He told the Hartlepool Mail: "I'm bitterly disappointed for the supporters because they have stuck behind us this season. But we can't feel sorry for ourselves, we have two games to go and we need to finish the season on a high.

"We want to go and give them a game, we owe that to the supporters. We will be putting it in for Hartlepool, not for anybody else. We've won the last two and we want to win the next two as well."


A win for leaders Doncaster Rovers over Notts County at the Keepmoat will see them promoted should the Bees fail to win at Hartlepool, and they could also be crowned champions if they triumph and Bournemouth drop points on Saturday.

A draw for Brian Flynn's side would mean they head into the final week with their destiny still in their own hands even if Brentford won. Under those circumstances though, a win for Bournemouth too would mean goal difference would come into play in the race for the title.

The Cherries are the division's form side and they are at home to Carlisle United. Having won their last seven matches in a row they will be confident of extending that run further to secure their place in the Championship next season, whether that comes with silverware or not.

Sheffield United, looking to keep up the pressure on the teams above them, will travel to relegated Portsmouth, hoping to force the race for a top-two finish into the final week. For that to happen they will need either, or both of, Doncaster and Bournemouth to lose and they at least draw on Saturday.

Yeovil Town are also in the mix and they will be looking to secure the highest place finish possible by beating Crewe Alexandra at Huish Park.

Swindon Town currently sit sixth with the pressure of three teams waiting in the wings should they slip up, and the added of threat of 11th-placed Crawley Town having a game in hand that could also put them in with a shout of stealing the last Play-Off place in the next eight days should the Robins not build on what was their first win in six games last time out, when they welcome Stevenage.

The Red Devils are off to Oldham Athletic who picked up a vital win in midweek to edge five points clear of Scunthorpe United in the last relegation place, and they have the added buffer of an extra match on the Iron if needed. A point might be all that is required given their considerably better goal difference.

Colchester United are five points clear of Scunthorpe in 20th but will also want to take three points from their game at home to Shrewsbury Town to secure their place in League 1 for next season. One point maybe enough for the Us too but with a goal difference of -23 heading into their penultimate fixture it is only marginally better than Scunthorpe's -27 and they won't want to go into the final weekend with relegation still a mathematically possibility should Brian Laws side manage to leave stadiummk with all the points.

Walsall and Leyton Orient are eighth and ninth respectively and on Saturday the Saddlers host bottom side Bury while Russell Slade's Orient are off to mid-table Coventry City.

Tranmere Rovers are another side who could still claim the last available Play-Off spot and they too are on the road at the weekend. They travel to 14th-placed Preston North End aiming to bring an end to four straight 1-0 defeats.

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