Ups and downs
Sky Sports gives a rundown of the permutations at both the top and bottom of each division
Last Updated: April 20, 2012 3:58pm
Reading have already clinched promotion to the Premier League
As the business end of the season approaches, fans up and down the country will be doing the maths to work out what lies in store for their team.
Here is your guide to what is at stake in English football this weekend.
Wolves could become the first team to be relegated from the Premier League this season as they head into the weekend eight points adrift of safety with just four games remaining. They face the daunting prospect of meeting Manchester City on Sunday and by the time they kick off they could be in a position where they need to win to keep their hopes of survival alive. Terry Connor's will go down if they fail to win and Queens Park Rangers beat Tottenham, while three points is only likely to delay the inevitable.
Reading celebrated promotion on Tuesday and could wrap up the title on the penultimate weekend of the Championship season if they better Southampton's result. While the Royals are at home to Crystal Palace, Nigel Adkins' Saints make the trip to Middlesbrough on Saturday night knowing that victory would guarantee a top-two finish. Southampton could also clinch automatic promotion with a draw or defeat, if third-placed West Ham then fail to beat Leicester on Monday.
Birmingham, Blackpool and Cardiff can all secure play-off spots by winning on Saturday, against Brighton, Burnley and Leeds respectively. Middlesbrough have a four-point deficit to make up if they are to get into the top six and will need to win both their remaining matches and hope other results go their way. Eighth-placed Hull City still have a mathematical chance of breaking into the play-off zone but are six points adrift with two games to go.
Doncaster are already down and everyone from Barnsley in 20th upwards is safe, meaning the final two relegation places could be decided this weekend. Portsmouth and Coventry both trail Bristol City by five points and will slip through the trapdoor if they fail to win their games against Derby and Doncaster on Saturday, or if Bristol City beat Barnsley.
Charlton are already up and will seal the League One title if they better Sheffield United's result on Saturday. Sheffield United hold a four-point lead over third-placed Sheffield Wednesday with three games to go and will celebrate promotion if they beat Milton Keynes Dons and their Steel City rivals lose at home to Carlisle.
Milton Keynes Dons and Huddersfield are almost certain to finish in the play-off zone but there is a fierce battle for sixth spot that will not be resolved this weekend, with Notts County, Stevenage, Carlisle and Brentford all in the mix.
Rochdale and Chesterfield won last time out to keep their hopes of beating the drop alive but at least one of them will be relegated this weekend as they prepare to face each other in the knowledge that they both need maximum points. Exeter also need victories from their three remaining matches to stand any chance of winning their battle for survival, and realistically all three look doomed. Wycombe occupy the final spot in the bottom four and trail both Leyton Orient and Walsall by four points ahead of their trip to champions-elect Charlton. A host of other teams could mathematically be pulled down but will feel they just need one more result to make sure of staying up.
Swindon's promotion party had to be put on hold last time out when they lost to Aldershot but a point against Gillingham would allow them to crack open the champagne. Shrewsbury could also go up with a win over Accrington if Dagenham & Redbridge beat Crawley or Torquay lose to AFC Wimbledon. Crawley and Torquay are neck-and-neck in the race for the third automatic promotion spot, with Southend still mathematically in with a chance.
Southend's main focus will be on securing a play-off berth and victory over Barnet on Friday would just about get the job done. Sixth-placed Cheltenham have a four-point cushion with three games remaining, while only goal difference is currently keeping Oxford inside the top seven ahead of Crewe. Gillingham, Rotherham and Aldershot are also in contention but will need to keep winning or their hopes will quickly be extinguished.
Bradford, Dagenham & Redbridge, Northampton and Plymouth are all on the verge of confirming their Football League status for another year, with those below them all struggling for form. Macclesfield and Hereford are level on points in the bottom two, three behind Barnet, ahead of this weekend's action. Nothing can be decided just yet, but Barnet will be looking to pile the pressure on the others by beating Southend. Macclesfield travel to Bradford on Saturday, while Hereford host Northampton.