Assessing The Championship Survival Race With Birmingham In Danger

The final day and Championship relegation scraps, it feels like a match made in heaven.  

This year is no different. Five teams are still in trouble, with one almost certainly down, barring a miracle. Two teams only require a draw to survive, while only a point separates the final two sides, and they both face Play-Off chasers at home.

It promises to be a day full of drama that the Championship is capable of producing. Strap yourselves in, the final day of the second-tier season has finally arrived!

Let’s take a look to see what is needed for each side to survive the drop….

 

19th: Blackburn Rovers (50 Points) (-16)

Rovers are safe from the drop, barring a desperately unfortunate set of results. The goals of Championship top goalscorer Sammie Szmodics have helped their head above water for most of the season, but they will face a desperately difficult battle to keep hold of their prized asset. Losing Adam Wharton in the winter window has also hindered their progress. An eight-point gap to the bottom three when the 20-year-old departed for Crystal Palace is now down to just three ahead of their final game.

Opponents: Leicester City (A) (1st)

Win: A win in the East Midlands would dampen the Foxes title party, but ultimately both would be celebrating at the final whistle.

Draw: If the sides can’t be separated after 90 minutes then that is also good enough to keep Rovers up.

Loss: Starting the day as the highest-ranked side of all five teams still in trouble means that several results need to go against Blackburn. As long as the following scenario doesn’t occur, Rovers will still survive with a defeat: Sheffield Wednesday avoid defeat, Plymouth and Birmingham win. Mathematically, only a Wednesday defeat would be enough to keep them up, unless Blackburn lost by eleven more goals than the South Yorkshire side, and the two other sides both won.

 

20th: Sheffield Wednesday (50 Points) (-26)

Danny Röhl has embarked on one of the second tier’s greatest survival stories. A first win of the campaign didn’t arrive until the end of October, collecting just three points from thirteen games before victory over Rotherham United. Wednesday though have turned their fortunes around like never seen before, and enter the final day with destiny in their own hands. That is a sentence that seemed unfathomable half a year ago.

Opponents: Sunderland (A) (15th)

Win: Three points against Sunderland would be the fitting send-off for Wednesday to seal survival.

Draw: But Danny Röhl’s’ side only need a point at the Stadium of Light to be assured of safety, regardless of results elsewhere.

Loss: The blue side of Sheffield will still be celebrating so long as one of Plymouth or Birmingham drop points. Alternatively, Wednesday would also be safe with a loss if they lost by eleven fewer goals than Blackburn, a highly unrealistic scenario.

 

21st: Plymouth Argyle (48 Points) (-12)

The Pilgrims were only promoted to the second tier last term, but enter the final day on the right side of the dotted line 45 games in. After Ian Foster was sacked, Argyle’s fortunes appear to have changed with two wins and a draw from Neil Dewsnip’s first three games in interim charge. But two defeats without scoring means they have been dragged right back into it, starting the final day with exactly the same margin to the drop as when Foster left.

Opponents: Hull City (H) (7th)

Win: Safety is assured with a win.

Draw: A point means that Huddersfield are down, but Birmingham can still catch the side from Devon. As long as Birmingham don’t win, there will still be celebrations in the South-west.

Loss: Defeat though leaves the door open for two sides to survive. Huddersfield are down unless there is a fifteen-goal swing in favour of the Terriers. A Birmingham win would see the Blues safe at Plymouth’s expense, while a draw for the West Midlands side would send them down unless the Pilgrims lost by a five-goal margin.

 

22nd: Birmingham City (47 Points) (-16)

Ten years yesterday, Paul Caddis memorably sent thousands of Blues fans into ecstasy at Bolton Wanderers, and Birmingham have work to do on the final day once again. Beginning tomorrow in the drop zone means that realistically three points are needed in the Second City to seal survival. St. Andrew’s will be a cauldron of noise, but their opponents are another side in the division still with something to fight for.

Opponents: Norwich City (H) (5th)

Win: Three points aren’t good enough on their own. If Plymouth drop points, or if either Sheffield Wednesday or Blackburn lose, then the Blues will survive. Only one of the three though are needed to happen.

Draw: A point would only be enough if Plymouth lost by five goals.

Loss: N/A

 

23rd: Huddersfield Town (45 Points) (-27)

Owing to their vastly inferior goal difference, the Terriers are already planning for League One football next season. Overturning a double-digit deficit in terms of goal difference would be difficult enough, but coupled with a trip to Ipswich who need to avoid defeat to go up means their task is almost impossible.

Opponents: Ipswich Town (A) (2nd)

Win: A win is likely to be in vain, but let’s run through the permutations anyway. To stay up, firstly Birmingham would have to lose (or not win, dependent on the scale of Huddersfield’s win). Then Plymouth would have to lose, and a mammoth fifteen-goal swing is needed. Such results for the Terriers’ survival are as follows: Ipswich 0-7 Huddersfield, Birmingham 0-1 Norwich, Plymouth 0-8 Hull. Huddersfield would stay up on goals scored in this scenario over Plymouth.

Draw: N/A

Loss: N/A

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