We’re often told that the Championship is the most unpredictable league in the world, but this season it has surpassed itself.
Every one of the teams in England’s second tier has played 45 games, with Wednesday’s round of fixtures bringing down the curtain on another frantic campaign. Usually by this stage of the season there’s only a handful of teams nervously waiting to find out which league they’ll be playing in next season, but this year absolutely everything is up for grabs.
While the automatic promotion and play-off races are going right down to the wire, the entertainment they’re providing doesn’t even come close to the Royal Rumble that’s currently taking place towards the bottom of the table.
Unbelievably, no one has been mathematically relegated yet, with ten clubs in danger of dropping down to League One.
To add further confusion into the mix, the three relegated sides won’t even be confirmed by Wednesday night, with Wigan Athletic, Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday facing points deductions (after the Latics went into administration and the Rams and the Owls were charged with financial misconduct).
So, if that’s left you absolutely bamboozled by what on earth is going on at the bottom of the Championship – never fear. He’s 90min’s rundown of the clubs facing relegation and the task ahead of them if they’re to retain their status as a second-flight club.
1. Derby County (Current Standing – 12th)
Who would have thought it? Wayne Rooney's Derby County (rolls eyes).
Incredibly, Derby find themselves in mid-table and yet still facing the threat of relegation.
The club have been far from squeaky clean in recent years, with rumours of owner Mel Morris buying Pride Park Stadium off the club to balance the books, and claims a betting site had a hand in the deal to bring Rooney to the club.
Derby travel to Birmingham on Wednesday, though in truth the result of the game is likely to matter little. Phillip Cocu's side's fate will be decided by the EFL.
They face a potential 21-point deduction for the breach of financial regulations. With the Rams currently 12 points above the drop zone, if they do receive the full penalty they'll be in League One next year.
2. Wigan Athletic (Current Standing – 13th)
The Latics were in real trouble before the three-month break, though an incredible burst of form which has seen them take 27 points from a possible 36 has seen them rocket up to 13th in the table.
However, after the club went into administration in July, they now look set to receive a 12-point deduction, though they're still awaiting confirmation of the penalty.
Despite the deduction seeming inevitable, Wigan are still in with a chance of survival. Paul Cook's side will be two points adrift of safety if they are docked 12 points, and they host Fulham on Wednesday knowing they'll need all three points if they want to avoid awaiting the outcome of Derby and Sheffield Wednesday's trials.
3. Sheffield Wednesday (Current Standing – 16th)
Sheffield Wednesday find themselves in the same position as Derby - their result at home to Middlesbrough on the final day is likely to matter little.
They currently find themselves eight points above the relegation zone, however, they too have the threat of a 21-point deduction for Financial Fair Play breaches hanging over them.
The outcome of their trial is unlikely to be confirmed before Wednesday, meaning they face an anxious wait to find out whether they'll be playing in the Championship next season.
4. Huddersfield Town (Current Standing – 18th)
The Terriers are the safest of the ten teams who could still drop into League One.
After their fantastic win over promotion-chasing West Brom, the club are almost certain to be a Championship club next year...though they rather strangely sacked manager Danny Cowley just days after the win.
Huddersfield currently sit three points above 21st-placed Luton Town, though with a substantially better goal difference (14 goals to be precise), it would take something extraordinary for them to be dragged into the bottom three. A point from their trip to Millwall would confirm survival.
5. Middlesbrough (Current Standing – 19th)
After Jonathan Woodgate appeared to be doing his best to drag his hometown club into the third tier for the first time since 1987, Neil Warnock has come in and steadied the ship.
Though Boro's home form continues to be a problem, vital points on the road have steered them away from the bottom three, picking up three away wins from four since Warnock's arrival.
Boro travel to Hillsborough to face old boss Garry Monk's Owls side on the final day. They sit two points above 22nd, and with a significantly superior goal difference, a point should be enough to see them safe.
6. Birmingham City (Current Standing – 20th)
It's often said that a team comes from nowhere to grab a place in the play-offs - Birmingham are doing the opposite at the wrong end of the table.
Pep Clotet's men have failed to pick up a win from any of their last 14 games in all competitions - a run which has seen them plummet from mid-table and they now sit perilously above the drop.
A point at home to Derby wouldn't be enough to see them mathematically safe, though their goal difference means realistically it would be sufficient.
7. Charlton Athletic (Current Standing – 21st)
Lee Bowyer did brilliantly in getting Charlton promoted from League One last season, though after just one season away they could be set for a swift return.
On paper they couldn't face a tougher assignment on the final day, with a trip to Elland Road to face newly-crowned champions Leeds United. However, with the title in the bag, could Charlton be facing the Whites at the perfect time?
Points deductions aside, only Luton can catch Charlton in the bottom three, so if they can match or better the Hatters' result they'll be safe.
8. Luton Town (Current Standing – 22nd)
Having looked dead and buried earlier in the season, Luton have somehow managed to give themselves a fighting chance ahead of the final day.
Nathan Jones' side host Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday, knowing if they can better Charlton's result they will be a Championship side next season.
However, they'll need to improve on their recent home form if they are to stay up. Having looked solid at Kenilworth Road earlier in the campaign, they've failed to win any of their last five games at home.
9. Barnsley (Current Standing – 23rd)
The appointment of Gerhard Struber was a bold one, and in fairness it hasn't really paid off.
Barnsley have languished around the drop zone for the majority of the season, though they could still avoid the drop with a win. Anything less than three points would see them relying on the points deductions of others.
The Tykes face the unenviable task of a trip to Brentford on Wednesday, but if they can pull off an upset and grab the win, they'll stay up if Luton and Charlton both lose.
10. Hull City (Current Standing – 24th)
Alright, so no club is mathematically relegated, but Hull aren’t far off.
Realistically the Tigers need to win away at Cardiff City if they’re to stand any chance of surviving, and even then they’ll be depending on teams above them getting beat as well as at least one of Derby, Sheffield Wednesday and Wigan receiving a deduction.
Nobody likes to see a team relegated, but getting beat 8-0 by Wigan and creating that 'Mauled by the Tigers' song is as a good a reason as any for a team deserving the drop.