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The state of play: The possible ups and downs in The Football League

14 April 2016

We’ve reached the business end of the 2015/16 season, and titles, promotions and relegations are on the horizon.

One promotion and two relegation places were decided last week, but there remains plenty to play for, and here’s the state of play going into Matchday 42…

Sky Bet Championship

Bolton's relegation from the Sky Bet Championship was confirmed last weekend, with a 4-1 defeat at Play-Off chasing Derby County sealing their fate.

Read more: "We have to believe that we will come back" - Bolton boss Jimmy Phillips

The Trotters won't know who will be dropping down to Sky Bet League 1 with them just yet, despite Charlton Athletic and Milton Keynes Dons sitting in perilous positions.

At a glance, it may look like the Addicks could be relegated with defeat at home to Derby, but with Rotherham United hosting Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield Town travelling to Blackburn Rovers, Jose Riga's men will remain safe regardless of the outcome at The Valley.

The leading trio continue their battle for automatic promotion, and of course the title, but Brighton & Hove Albion could guarantee themselves at least a Play-Off place with four games to spare, something already achieved by Middlesbrough and Burnley.

Down: Bolton Wanderers

Sky Bet League 1

Crewe are the only movers so far, after their 3-0 defeat at rivals Port Vale last weekend confirmed their relegation from Sky Bet League 1.

Read more: Crewe players "shouldn’t want to feel what this is like ever again" - Steve Davis

The fight for places at the top and bottom continues, but nothing can be settled in the division this the weekend. Wigan Athletic can confirm at least a Play-Off place, but Gary Caldwell's league leaders have their sights aimed much higher.

Down: Crewe Alexandra

Sky Bet League 2

Northampton sealed the first promotion of The Football League season last weekend. Their next target? The Sky Bet League 2 title.

Chris Wilder's men go to Exeter City, and must better the result of nearest challengers Oxford United if they are to have any chance of claiming the crown this weekend.

"We are really focused on having a good end to the season" - Cobblers boss Chris Wilder

However, if the U's lose and Cobblers draw, that won't necessarily send the title to Sixfields. In that scenario, a win for Accrington Stanley at home to Morecambe would keep the league leaders waiting.

Oxford, who host Luton Town, are one of three sides – alongside Accrington and Bristol Rovers – who could confirm at least a place in the Play-Offs, but there are plenty of teams firmly in the running for both automatic promotion and a place in the top seven.

At the other end, Dagenham & Redbridge's Football League status is under threat, with a number of permutations due to Stevenage and Newport County – the two teams just above the drop zone – locking horns.

Three points for the Daggers at Leyton Orient will prolong their stay regardless, as will a draw or a Newport win at the Lamex Stadium.

If Stevenage are victorious, Dagenham will need a point to retain their place in Sky Bet League 2 for the time being, at least.

Up: Northampton Town

The new arrivals

Cheltenham Town could secure an immediate return to The Football League this weekend, if they can better the result of nearest National League rivals Forest Green Rovers.

Aston Villa's place in The Football League could also be confirmed. Anything less than victory for the Villans would see them relegated to the Sky Bet Championship, and a point for Norwich City would send them down even if they are triumphant away at Manchester United.

Don't miss it!

We'll keep you up to speed with all the goings on this weekend, via our three divisional Twitter accounts - @SkyBetChamp, @SkyBetLeague1 and @SkyBetLeague2.

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