5 things we learned from the Football League this weekend


The penultimate weekend in the Football League regular season settled some promotion and relegation issues - but plenty remains up in the air for next week.

Wigan celebrated promotion from Sky Bet League One, with Burton on the brink of the same, but League Two will go right to the wire.

We look at five key talking points after the latest round of Football League fixtures.

1. Bigger than the play-off final?

Aitor Karanka

Regardless of what happens between Brighton and Derby on Monday - or Burnley against QPR - whoever wins at the Riverside Stadium next Saturday will be playing in the Premier League next season. Middlesbrough's 2-2 draw against Birmingham moved them a point clear at the top but they will go into the final weekend third if the Clarets and Seagulls both win their penultimate games. However, Aitor Karanka's men host Brighton next weekend in a true winner-takes-all clash and, with home advantage, the Teessiders must be in a confident mood.

2. Too close to call

Oxford United

It is not just the Championship that has a three-way tussle for promotion. Accrington, Oxford and Bristol Rovers are all separated by just two points as they look to join Northampton in League One next season. All three won this weekend and each will need to do the same next Saturday. Accrington and Oxford each know home wins against Stevenage and Wycombe respectively will secure automatic promotion, but anything less and it allows Bristol Rovers the chance to leapfrog them into the top three, providing they beat already-relegated Dagenham.

3. Almost there

Nigel Clough

Wigan's promotion back to the Championship at the first time of asking was expected, but Burton completing back-to-back promotions was not. Nigel Clough is a point away from finishing the journey started by former manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink as the Brewers beat Gillingham 2-1. Burton need only a draw at Doncaster and could even be promoted on Monday should Walsall fail to beat Fleetwood. Albion only became a Football League club in 2009. Now they are within touching distance of being in the same league as fellow Midlands outfit Aston Villa.

4. Going down

Doncaster Rovers

A third relegation in five years is coming for Doncaster. Darren Ferguson's side lost 3-1 at Crewe and are three points and 12 goals behind Fleetwood. If the Cod Army do not gain a point against promotion-chasing Walsall on Monday, Doncaster's relegation will be rubber stamped at home to Burton on Sunday barring a miraculous turn of events. Rovers were among the teams tipped to battle for promotion at the start of the campaign but are likely to be back playing in the bottom tier of the Football League for the first time since 2004.

5. Waiting for a call

Mark Cooper

Notts County caretaker manager Mark Cooper must be feeling good about his chances of getting the full deal. Set a points target after he replaced Jamie Fullarton, Cooper has since managed to stave off relegation and is close to reaching the mark. Things were helped by the 1-0 away win over Newport, which also ended their three-match losing run in the league. A home win against Carlisle next week and perhaps the dotted line will be his for the signing?