How Sunderland can mathematically secure a play-off place on Tuesday night - with help from Portsmouth
Sunderland could mathematically secure a play-off place on Tuesday evening – but will be reliant on Portsmouth slipping-up.
The Black Cats have gone six games without a win in League One but have drawn their last two fixtures, edging them closer to securing a place in the top six.
It’s not the sort of momentum that you would hope for ahead of a potential play-off campaign, but Sunderland’s top six place could become mathematically certain on Tuesday night should results go their way.
First and foremost, Sunderland need to win against Blackpool – having been beaten 1-0 by the same opponents just under a fortnight ago.
That will put Lee Johnson’s side on 76 points, and in a healthy position to secure a top six finish.
And should Portsmouth drop points in their clash at Accrington Stanley, then their play-off berth will be mathematically secured.
If Pompey draw at the Wham Stadium, for example, then the maximum points haul they could obtain would be 75 points. Assuming Sunderland win, Danny Cowley’s side would then join the likes of Oxford United, Gillingham, Ipswich Town and MK Dons in being unable to overtake the Black Cats.
That set of circumstances would mean that only Hull City, Peterborough United, Blackpool, Charlton Athletic and Lincoln City could earn more points than Sunderland– guaranteeing them at least a sixth placed finish.
So simply put: if Sunderland win and Portsmouth drop points then a top six finish is secured.
But before any of that becomes relevant, the Wearsiders need to do something they haven’t done since Good Friday – win.