League One promotion race: Where Sunderland, Luton, Barnsley and Portsmouth could sit after a key weekend

Sunderland and their promotion rivals face a pivotal weekend in League One - where some big steps could be taken in the race for the top two.

Friday, 26th April 2019, 11:13 am
Updated Friday, 26th April 2019, 11:19 am
What could happen in the League One promotion race this weekend

The Black Cats are battling it out alongside Luton Town, Barnsley and Portsmouth for the two automatic promotion places - and the picture could become a lot clearer after some key fixtures this weekend.

We've taken a look at the teams in with a shout of promotion, who they face this weekend and where they could stand after this weekend:


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Who they play: Burton Albion (A)

Best case scenario: If things go the Hatters' way this weekend, they could seal the title. If Luton can win at Burton, and both Barnsley and Portsmouth fail to pick up the three points, then the title will be theirs. Failing that, dropped points for either Pompey or the Tykes - coupled with a Luton victory - will seal promotion. A draw would even be enough for Luton if Barnsley lose.

Worst case scenario: Should Luton lose to the Brewers, and both Barnsley and Portsmouth claim victory, then their promotion hopes could be severely dented. That set of results would put Barnsley on level points with the Hatters - albeit with a worse goal difference - while Pompey would be two points behind but with a game in hand.


Who they play: Blackpool (H)

Best case scenario: Barnsley cannot seal automatic promotion this weekend, but could move joint-top if they can beat Blackpool and Luton lose out at Burton. The Tykes will also be crossing their fingers for a draw at the Stadium of Light - which would open up a gap between the top two and chasers Sunderland and Portsmouth.

Worst case scenario: Defeat for Barnsley, coupled with a Luton win, would rule out any chances of a late push for the title. And if Sunderland's clash with Portsmouth ends in victory for either side, that would pile the pressure on Daniel Stendel's side.


Who they play: Sunderland (A)

Best case scenario: Again, Portsmouth can't be promoted this weekend but, with a game in hand, could take a big step towards securing a top two finish. If they can beat Sunderland and Barnsley drop points then they will move joint-second, while defeat for Luton would hand them the chance to claim top spot with their game in hand.

Worst case scenario: The lowest Portsmouth could fall this weekend is fourth - and that would simply require a Sunderland win. If such a result is accompanied by a Barnsley win, though, then Pompey will be five points off the top two.


Who they play: Portsmouth (H)

Best case scenario: A push into the top two isn't possible for Sunderland this weekend - but they can pile the pressure on Barnsley. A Sunderland win coupled with a defeat for Stendel's side would see the Black Cats move within a point of the top two with a game in hand.

Worst case scenario: Sunderland could slip down to fifth this weekend - should they lose and Charlton pick up three points against Gillingham. That would see their promotion hopes all but gone.