Championship Preview: Last chance saloon for Birmingham, play-off spot up for grabs
By Football News
Beleaguered Birmingham City will have one last chance to stave off relegation on the final day of the regular Championship season.
Lee Clark's side occupy the last relegation spot in the second tier of English football and must avoid defeat at Bolton Wanderers on Saturday to have any chance of staying up.
After slumping to five straight league defeats, Birmingham will have to rise to the occasion when it matters most and the Midlands outfit may be glad of an away fixture, having only won twice at St Andrews this season in the league.
Despite their perilous position, Clark is confident his side can clinch all three points at the Reebok Stadium and avoid a second relegation in three years - particularly given that they have secured nine Championship victories on their travels in the current campaign.
"Yes (we can avoid relegation), definitely, because our away form has been very good," he said. "It's imperative we get a result on Saturday."
Yeovil Town and Barnsley have already been consigned to League One and one of four teams will join them after an intriguing final round of fixtures, although Blackpool appear to be all-but safe.
Paul Dickov takes his Doncaster Rovers side to his former club Leicester City knowing a defeat will send them down if Birmingham secure at least a point, as Clark's men have a better goal difference.
Leicester already have the title wrapped up, but Nigel Pearson's men can still reach 100 points and will be eager to sign off in style at the King Power Stadium and possibly send Rovers straight back down to the third tier.
Millwall are two points better off than Birmingham with a vastly inferior goal difference, but three points at home to Bournemouth will ensure Ian Holloway's side are safe, while a draw would be enough for Blackpool at home to Charlton Athletic - who secured their Championship status by beating Watford 3-1 on Tuesday.
There is also one play-off spot up for grabs on Saturday, with Reading needing three points against Premier League-bound Burnley at the Madejski Stadium to assure they will take sixth spot.
Waiting to pounce on any Reading slip-up are seventh-placed Brighton and Hove Albion, with Oscar Garcia's men - who are a point behind Nigel Adkins' side - aiming to extend their season by beating Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
If Brighton secure a point and Reading lose, then the south-coast club will also sneak into the play-offs and face Derby County.
Blackburn Rovers remain within mathematical reach of the top six, but need Reading to lose and Brighton not to win, as well as a seven-goal swing, as they attempt to secure a victory at Wigan Althletic - who have already sealed a play-off spot.
Barnsley and Yeovil will bow out of the league in home matches against QPR and Middlesbrough respectively, while Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield Town hit the road to face Ipswich Town and Watford.
Steve McClaren's Derby look to maintain their momentum for the play-offs against Leeds United at Elland Road, and will be confident of doing so having won their last 10 games against the Yorkshire club.