Sean Dyche’s Burnley will play their last game in the Championship until August 2017 at the earliest this afternoon away to Charlton Athletic.
However, it won’t be party time yet for the Clarets, as they have the chance to secure the title with a win. Full permutations for that is below, but who will be the team that will get it done?
Dean Marney might be on the sidelines after missing the QPR game last Monday, with David Jones or Matty Taylor his likely replacements.
Charlton are already relegated, but still have the chance to finish above MK Dons. If they better the Dons’s result, they will finish 22nd.
They will probably have to do it without Yaya Sanogo and Reza Ghoochannejhad, however, who are both doubts, whilst Patrick Bauer will miss out again. Good news for manager Jose Riga sees Jordan Cousins perhaps return to the starting XI.
There’s likely to be a cocktail of atmospheres happening in South London, with the Burnley party meeting the doom and gloom surrounding Charlton right now.
FootballLeagueWorld writer Ryan Evans identifies THREE things to look out for in this final day match…
As is traditional with the final day, all the Championship games will kick off at the same time, and it will again be at 12.30pm this year.
Burnley secured promotion to the top-flight last Monday with their win over QPR at Turf Moor, and another win will secure the trophy for Dyche’s side. This marks an improvement from the last time they were in this division, where they ‘only’ came second to Leicester City.
If Middlesbrough were to beat Brighton and Burnley were to draw with the Addicks, as long as there isn’t a two-goal swing, the trophy would be on it’s way to Lancashire.
The same result would happen if the Clarets draw and Brighton win, as long as there isn’t a four-goal swing.
A defeat would also be enough providing that Brighton and Boro draw in their match at the Riverside.
Is there one last twist in this amazing Championship season, or will Burnley prevail?
2) Title party to be put on hold?
So they still have work to do, but should they do the job, Burnley will not be presented with trophy this afternoon.
The Football League have decided that, as they are playing away from home, they should lift the trophy at a later date, to allow more fans to be a part of the celebrations.
The same will happen if Brighton were to win the league at Middlesbrough, so it turns out that only Boro can lift the trophy today.
Will this dampen the eventual celebrations, or will it just add an another day for the relevant fans to celebrate?
3) Stormy waters at the Valley
It’s fair to say there’s plenty of anger in Charlton.
This has been aimed mainly at owner Roland Duchatelet, with recent matches against fellow promotion candidates Boro and Brighton being disrupted, including an incredible scene of hundreds of black and white beach balls thrown on to the pitch against the latter. That stopped the game then, and a similar result could cause even more disruption.
As former referee Jeff Winter reports in the Gazette, both halves have to start at the same time in the Boro and Burnley matches. That means, if there is a 15-minute delay in the first half for any reason at the Valley, then the ‘Boro vs Brighton game will be delayed at half-time so that both can start in sync.
If either team were winning at half time, and they wanted to get back out and continue their dominance, it could prove disastrous as it would disrupt the momentum. It could be even worse for Boro or the Seagulls if the disruption is in the second half, meaning their game would finish well before Burnley’s.
The ‘Coalition Against Roland Duchatelet’ have said they have no intentions of abandoning the match in similar scenes to what we saw at Blackpool on the final day of last season, but even a delay could swing the title unintentionally in Burnley’s favour, as they will know exactly what to do.
Burnley fans… what do you think? Are you confident of winning the title this weekend?
Charlton fans… can you finish above MK Dons this season? Let us know your score predictions in the comments below!