What the latest League One results mean for Sunderland and their likely play-off opponents
The League One play-off picture became far clearer on Tuesday evening – as both Lincoln City and Blackpool played their games in hand.
While the Imps and Sunderland had already mathematically guaranteed their places in the top six, Blackpool required at least a point to secure their place in the play-offs.
And they got all three courtesy of a 2-0 win over Doncaster Rovers, with Everton loanee Ellis Simms netting both goals in the comfortable triumph at Bloomfield Road.
That result lifts the Seasiders up to third in League One and above Sunderland – who avoided slipping further down the table after Lincoln City were beaten at Charlton Athletic.
The Addicks knew a victory was essential if they were to keep their own play-off hopes alive and goals from Jayden Stockley, Ryan Inniss and Chuks Aneke secured a 3-1 triumph.
Those results leave Blackpool in third on 77 points, Sunderland in fourth on 76 points and Lincoln City in fifth on 76 points – but with an inferior goal difference.
All eyes on the final day will be on who will secure the final place in the top six.
Portsmouth remain in the driving seat on 72 points and a win will seal them a spot in the play-offs, but if they slip-up against Accrington Stanley on Sunday then Oxford United and Charlton (both on 71 points) are prepared to pounce.
For Sunderland, the results leave them in a strong position to secure a home tie in the second leg in the play-offs.
Barring a nine-goal swing in Lincoln’s favour, simply matching the Imps’ result will be enough for the Black Cats to seal fourth – with Michael Appleton’s side looking increasingly likely to be Sunderland’s play-off semi-final opponents.
But should Blackpool slip-up, then victory on the final day could see the Wearsiders climb to third.
Sunderland welcome already relegated Northampton Town in their final fixture of the regular season, while Blackpool face another side already consigned to the drop in Bristol Rovers. Lincoln City host a resurgent AFC Wimbledon.
All games on the final day will be played at Noon on Sunday, May 9.