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We attempt to predict how the League One promotion run-in will play out - starting with tomorrow

With only a handful of games left Mark Carrick dares to take a look at how the upcoming games may go and where that leaves Sunderland in the race for promotion - starting with tomorrow and Saturday’s fixtures.

As the dust settles on our first home defeat of the season the table is as tight as ever.

Image: BBC Sport

Reading through social media, there are various offers of ‘final league table’ based on predictions and opinion: four wins and a draw; one win, three draws and a defeat; three wins and two draws; four draws and a win.

For some we take second spot by the odd point, whilst for others we finish fifth with the prospect of playing both Charlton and Portsmouth in the Play-Offs.

I, for one, don’t fancy having to play either of them with promotion on the line!

There are four games left for the majority of clubs in League One, with a few - including Sunderland and Portsmouth - having five. So just what can we expect from the next few days?

April 19th

13:00: Oxford United vs Charlton Athletic

Charlton get the ball rolling in the early kick-off on Good Friday. Having won five from their last six, including victories over Portsmouth and Luton Town, Lee Bowyer’s team is in excellent form. Their last defeat came on their visit to Fleetwood Town on February 2nd, where they finished the game with ten man once Patrick Bauer had been dismissed for a second yellow card. Their last home defeat was way back on October 6th, when Coventry took all three points from The Valley.

Oxford are in fine form too, having won four of their last five games. The last time The U’s lost at home was against Peterborough on February 16th. They have conceded just four goals in their last nine games, which will make this a tough game for The Addicks.


AFC Wimbledon v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League One
Can Oxford put a dent in Charlton’s run of form?
Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images

15:00: Barnsley vs Shrewsbury Town

Barnsley had drawn three, won one and lost one before the visit of Fleetwood on Saturday. Having secured a 4-2 victory, The Tykes leapfrogged Sunderland back into second and edged two points clear.

Another home fixture, this time against midtable Shrewsbury Town, presents Daniel Stendel’s side with the opportunity of pulling further clear before Sunderland next kick a ball.

Beating Shrewsbury is not a forgone conclusion, however.

Seven points from their last three games and conceding only once in that time suggest Barnsley will have to dig deep to take all three points.


Burnley v Barnsley - FA Cup Third Round
Will Shrewsbury leave Barnsley frustrated?
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

15:00: Burton Albion vs Portsmouth

Burton have been impressive in their last five games.

They had a hard run on paper, yet the Brewers took three points from Barnsley and a point from Sunderland, smashed five past Accrington and saw off both Blackpool and Scunthorpe. In fact only Charlton have taken maximum points off Nigel Clough’s side since the end of February.

Charlton are also the only side to stop Portsmouth taking maximum points in the last six games. Five wins and a Checkatrade trophy means Kenny Jackett’s team have hit form at precisely the right time.

This game proves to be their biggest league challenge, having not played a top ten side since February.


Portsmouth v Queens Park Rangers - FA Cup Fourth Round
Will Portsmouth leave Burton with any more than a point?
Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

17:15: Sunderland vs Doncaster Rovers

Sunderland will know how all their promotion rivals have got on before the early evening televised game. Having lost our unbeaten home record this is a great chance to put things back on track.

If results have gone as predicted, Sunderland will sit three points behind Barnsley with a four goal deficit in terms of goal difference, whilst Portsmouth will have moved a point ahead of us into fourth spot.

Charlton will be breathing down our necks, level on points with a worse goal difference.

Doncaster visit the Stadium of Light having won their last four and conceding just twice. In March they took a point from Charlton and again against Barnsley, so they will be tough opponents for Jack Ross’s side.


Will Sunderland fall again on Good Friday?
Image: Getty Images

April 20th

17:30: Accrington Stanley vs Luton Town

Leaders Luton Town have the luxury of playing the next day, Saturday at 5.30pm.

Sitting pretty on top of the pile with 87 points, they could remain four points clear of Barnsley as they take to the pitch at Accrington.

Having lost against Charlton, Mick Harford will be keen for his side to reach 90 points with a victory at the Wham Stadium.

Four defeats, one draw and a solitary win would suggest Accrington won’t be able to stop the juggernaut that is Luton Town.


Bristol Rovers v Luton Town - Sky Bet League One
Luton can reach 90 points with victory on Saturday
Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Do you agree with our predictions or do you see things panning out another way? Will the table on Saturday evening resemble the image below?

Leave us your thoughts below! Visit us again as we preview the Easter Monday games over the weekend.

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