Former Sunderland striker Marco Gabbiadini has claimed that the battle for promotion from League One will go down to the final day of the season, with some clubs harbouring hopes of automatic promotion failing to even make the play-offs.
As things stand, there are currently just three points separating Rotherham United in the second automatic promotion spot in the third-tier standings, and Wycombe Wanderers in eighth in the division, with those teams still to play anywhere between eight and ten games this season.
As a result, Gabbiadini believes that the picture with regards to just who will secure a place in the Championship for next season will be too close to call right up until the end of the campaign.
Speaking on the BBC Sounds Sunderland AFC podcast about the battle for promotion, Gabbiadini said: “It’s going to be a situation where on the last day of the season there’ll be two or three teams who could be third or fourth and then end of not even being in the play-offs. That’s the way it’s going.”
Sunderland themselves have endured a poor recent run of form to put their own place in the top six under threat, with the Blacks Cats dropping out of the top-six on goal difference as a result.”
Discussing the situation Sunderland now find themselves in as an example of the unpredictability of that battle for promotion, Gabbiadini continued: “Since we played Oxford (a 1-0 win six games ago) I think they’ve taken 15 points and we’ve taken four.
“It’s up to us to pull a rabbit out of the hat and keep moving forward and recover from this run of form.”
It is hard to disagree with Gabbiadini here.
When you look at how tight things are with so little of the season still to go, it seems inevitable that there will be some clubs who will have to wait all the way until the final day of the campaign to learn their fate one way or another.
While that means there is likely to be plenty of nerves around those teams, it does at least make for an exciting and fascinating spectacle for those neutrals watching on from further afar.
For Sunderland themselves, it does feel as though they something quick from somewhere if they are to keep their own hopes of promotion alive, although their recent run of nine wins in 12 games should at least give them hope that they are still capable of doing that.