Sunderland U18s must win at Liverpool tomorrow to clinch a place in the elite group for the final stage of the U18 Premier League season.
The top four from the Northern Division join the top four from the south in the end-of-season group to decide the destination of the title.
Sunderland are fifth in the Northern Division and face third-top Liverpool, who are guaranteed a top-four finish. Blackburn, in fourth, are a point better off than the Wearsiders, and have a better goal difference, so only a win will do for Elliott Dickman’s charges.
If Sunderland miss out, they will join Group Two, for the teams finishing fifth to eighth in the regionalised divisions, for the run-in.