The play-off permutations that Sunderland fans need to know ahead of a key weekend - with eyes on Charlton Athletic and Portsmouth

Sunderland could seal their play-off spot at Plymouth Argyle this weekend – but what exactly needs to happen for a place in the top six to be mathematically certain?

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 4:45 pm

The Black Cats head to Home Park on the back of a seven-game winless run, having failed to capitalise on Portsmouth and Charlton Athletic’s results in midweek after slipping to defeat against Blackpool.

But a play-off spot could be secured on Saturday afternoon – even if the winless run continues.

Here, we take a look what needs to happen for that top six finish to be secured, and the fixtures that fans may want to keep a close eye on across the afternoon:

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The play-off permutations that Sunderland fans need to know ahead of a key weekend - with eyes on Charlton Athletic and Portsmouth


The simplest solution of them all!

If Sunderland win at Plymouth Argyle then they are guaranteed a spot in the top six and a run at the play-offs – regardless of results elsewhere.

Victory would take the Black Cats up to 76 points and mean that neither Portsmouth nor Oxford United could leapfrog Lee Johnson’s side in the final week of the campaign.


But even if Sunderland draw at Home Park, they can still seal their spot in the play-offs.

If the scores are level at Plymouth then Sunderland will secure a top six place providing that both Portsmouth and Oxford United also drop points.

This would leave Sunderland on 74 points and again would lead to a scenario where neither side could overtake the Wearsiders on the final day.

Alternatively, a defeat for Charlton Athletic coupled with either Pompey or Oxford dropping points would also secure a play-off berth for Sunderland if they draw in the South West.


Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to this – but Sunderland could still qualify for the play-offs on Saturday even if they lose at Plymouth Argyle.

But it would require both Oxford United and Portsmouth to also lose their games – leaving them unable to trump Sunderland’s current 73 point total in their final game.


Here’s the fixtures to be keeping an eye on this weekend:

- AFC Wimbledon v Portsmouth

- Accrington Stanley v Charlton Athletic

- Shrewsbury Town v Oxford United

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