Ups and downs
Adam Bate gives a rundown of the permutations at both the top and bottom of each division.
By Adam Bate - Follow me on Twitter @GhostGo
Last Updated: 13/04/12 3:33pm
As the business end of the season approaches, fans up and down the country will be doing the maths to work out what lies in store for their team.
Here is your guide to what is at stake in English football this weekend.
The title race remains in the balance after Manchester United's defeat to Wigan on Wednesday.
The champions went into that game knowing the gap could be increased to 11 points if results went their way.
But Sir Alex Ferguson's men will now go into Sunday's game against Aston Villa just two points clear of Manchester City should they win at Norwich on Saturday.
With Tottenham and Chelsea contesting an FA Cup semi-final on Sunday and Newcastle not in action, Arsenal will have the opportunity to go eight points clear in third when they host Wigan on Monday evening.
At the bottom, Wolves travel to Sunderland already nine points from safety and that could be 12 points with four to play by Monday evening.
The intriguing question is which two clubs will be joining Terry Connor's team in the Championship next season.
Bolton are certain to spend another week in the drop zone as they do not play this weekend, but there are winnable games for QPR and Blackburn at West Brom and Swansea respectively.
That could drag Villa into an unexpected relegation battle as Alex McLeish's men may find themselves just four points outside the drop zone by Monday if results go against them.
Southampton and Reading go head-to-head at St Mary's with the winner set to move into pole position to claim the title.
The two sides are level on points with four games to play and the winner will virtually guarantee promotion by going nine points clear of West Ham.
Of course, the Hammers will have the opportunity to get within three points of the loser - or four points behind both the Saints and the Royals should they draw - when they host Brighton on Saturday.
Sam Allardyce's men are already assured a play-off spot and Birmingham can be mathematically certain of joining them if they beat Bristol City and results go their way at the weekend.
Blackpool and Cardiff are currently best-placed to complete the play-off line-up but the rest of the top half of the division can still entertain hopes of extending their season.
Any one of Brighton, Middlesbrough and Leicester could move into the play-off positions as soon as 5pm on Saturday.
Even Derby, currently down in 11th, will believe they can muscle their way into contention if they defeat rivals Middlesbrough and Cardiff in their next two games.
At the bottom of the table, Doncaster and Portsmouth play each other on Saturday and both sides could be relegated by the final whistle.
Rovers need to win to keep their hopes alive, while Pompey will be down if Bristol City better their result.
Peterborough, Barnsley, Millwall and Nottingham Forest could all mathematically guarantee survival if results go their way.
So the real battle at the bottom would appear to be between Bristol City and Coventry with the Sky Blues currently four points from safety.
But Andy Thorn's men visit Burnley on Saturday and, given that they will fancy Birmingham to do them a favour at home to the Robins, could move within one point of safety with a win.
Charlton can seal promotion back to the Championship if they win at Carlisle and Sheffield Wednesday fail to do so at Colchester.
A three-point swing in the Addicks' favour over Sheffield United, who host Leyton Orient, would also take Chris Powell's men nine points clear at the top with just three games to play.
However, it is the battle between the two Sheffield clubs that is perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the League One run-in with Wednesday currently just two points behind United.
Huddersfield and MK Dons are well-placed to join whichever Sheffield club loses that battle in the play-offs but the race for sixth spot remains heated.
Notts County are the team in possession but Carlisle are level on points with a game in hand.
Curiously, given that the game is at Stevenage on Tuesday and County play Brentford at the weekend, there is still time for matters to get even more complicated - both Stevenage and Brentford have designs of their own on the final play-off spot.
Down at the bottom, no team is mathematically relegated just yet but that could happen to no fewer than three teams on Saturday.
Rochdale need to win and Chesterfield will be down if they lose regardless of events elsewhere.
Exeter are the third team that could be relegated on Saturday but will fancy their chances of winning at Rochdale and possibly moving to within five points of safety with three games to play.
Wycombe are the fourth team currently occupying the relegation positions. They are four points behind Walsall and Leyton Orient but could also drag Oldham into the mix if they beat them at the weekend.
Swindon's impending promotion will be mathematically confirmed if they beat Plymouth and Crawley lose at home to Wimbledon.
The Robins cannot seal the title this weekend but could move 10 points clear at the top if results go their way.
Torquay, Shrewsbury and Crawley appear to be in a three-way battle for the two remaining automatic promotions spots, with Southend currently five points adrift.
That leaves two play-off places still up for grabs and, while Cheltenham and Oxford are the teams in possession, there are several sides who will fancy their chances of forcing their way into contention.
Crewe are only out of the play-off spots on goal difference after their emphatic win over Bristol Rovers on Monday and the Railwaymen will expect to keep the pressure on those above them when they visit lowly Macclesfield on Saturday.
But the form team are surely Rotherham. The Millers, now with ex-Crawley boss Steve Evans in charge, have won their last three games and find themselves four points behind that crucial seventh spot with four games remaining.
Gillingham and Aldershot are the other sides still dreaming of being in League One next season, but the Shots will need to reverse a run of two consecutive defeats if they are to stay in the race.
At the other end of the table, the key game is on Friday evening between bottom club Hereford and the team they are hoping to catch - Barnet in 22nd.
Defeat for the Bulls at Underhill would leave them six points from safety with just three games to play.
A Barnet win would also be a blow to Macclesfield. The Silkmen could clamber out of the drop zone if Barnet lose and they win.
Realistically, it is two of those three that will be losing their league status, but Bradford could guarantee their safety if they win at Northampton and results elsewhere go their way.