The Championship relegation battle is excruciatingly tight with Charlton Athletic one of a number of sides involved in the fight for survival.
The Addicks currently sit 19th in the table, two points off the bottom three after two wins and a draw in their last four matches.
It may just be enough for Lee Bowyer’s side to stay up while Wigan’s recent financial issues further complicates matters as any expectant 12 point deduction is likely to see a reprieve for others.
Below Lucas Ball assesses those in the relegation battle and predicts the three teams he expects to go down…
16: Wigan Athletic (Points: 50)
A shock announcement earlier this week revealed the Latics’ new owners, who had taken over just a matter of weeks ago, had placed the club into administration, meaning they could be deducted 12 points.
Currently that would put them bottom of the table with the Latics relying on the likes of Kieffer Moore and Jamal Lowe to add to their six goals apiece to pick up the much needed wins in their final five games to move clear of the dreaded drop zone.
Fixtures: QPR (H), Barnsley (A), Hull (H), Charlton (A), Fulham (H)
Verdict: Relegated – Paul Cook’s men are one of the better sides of the nine candidates to go down but it appears unlikely they’ll be able to pick up enough points to counter any 12 point deduction.
17: Birmingham City (Points: 49)
Pep Clotet’s final few games as manager of the Blues will decide whether he’ll be remembered for the wrong reasons or hardly remembered at all.
He has helped nurture the young talent of Jude Bellingham, but Clotet’s tactics have, at times been questionable, with the likes of Dan Crowley and Bellingham himself being played out of position on numerous occasions.
Despite their inconsistency this season, Birmingham have distanced themselves enough from the bottom three to have relatively few worries at this stage of the season – particularly after Wigan’s likely points deduction.
Fixtures: Swansea (H), Stoke (A), Charlton (H), Preston (A), Derby (H)
Verdict: Stay up – Pep Clotet’s team have had a largely inconsistent season but they have enough quality to keep their heads above water, especially with on-loan striker Scott Hogan in their ranks, who has scored seven goals in 12 games.
18: Stoke City (Points: 46)
The appointment of progressive manager Nathan Jones brought hope to the bet365 Stadium in the summer but it was a managerial appointment that never worked out.
Jones was replaced by then-Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill, who has overseen their rise from bottom of the table to 18th.
Improvement next season is a must but, for now, survival is paramount for The Potters who have plenty of talented players on above average wages for the Championship.
Fixtures: Leeds (A), Birmingham (H), Bristol City (A), Brentford (H), Nottingham Forest (A)
Verdict: The star quality possessed by the likes of Tom Ince means this Stoke side, on their day, can be a match for most teams in the division and will ultimately stay up.
19: Charlton Athletic (Points: 46)
Charlton’s 1-0 defeat to Millwall on Friday night was their first loss since the restart and the Addicks again showed defensive resilience.
Without Lyle Taylor, goals are harder to come by for Lee Bowyer’s men but they are a hard side to beat when their key men are fit, which could be vital in the final five games.
Former Leyton Orient striker Macauley Bonne has netted eight goals after making the step-up from non-league and will be hoping to add to his tally in the coming weeks.
Fixtures: Brentford (A), Reading (H), Birmingham (A), Wigan (H), Leeds (A)
Verdict: Stay up – Charlton’s defensive strength compared to those around them means they should be able to pick up enough points to stay up – particularly with lots of the relegation candidates taking on each other.
20: Huddersfield Town (Points: 46)
Another early season managerial change has seen some improvement for the Terriers.
The Cowley brothers replaced Jan Siewart in September after a poor start to the campaign and have done enough to keep the Terriers above the dreaded dotted line since.
A normal summer transfer window would’ve allowed the new managerial team to put their own stamp on an average squad, but it remains to be seen what this upcoming window will look like.
Nonetheless, the quality that they have with the likes of Karlan Grant and Alex Pritchard (when fit) means they should have enough to stay up.
Fixtures: Reading (A), Luton (H), Sheffield Wednesday (A), West Brom (H), Millwall (A)
Verdict: Stay up – games against two sides with relatively little to play for and fellow strugglers Luton give the Terriers good opportunities to pick up points, which should be enough to keep them up.
21: Hull City (Points: 45)
The loss of key men Kamil Grosicki and Jarrod Bowen to West Brom and West Ham respectively in January was catastrophic for Hull’s season.
Just two wins in sixteen Championship matches since have seen them slide down the table, though the likes of Tom Eaves returning from injury since the restart has meant goals have been easier to come by.
Mallik Wilks has been particularly impressive for Grant McCann’s side and signed a permanent deal following a loan spell with Hull hoping he can establish himself as a consistent performer at this level.
Fixtures: Bristol City (A), Millwall (H), Wigan (A), Luton (H), Cardiff (A)
Verdict: Wigan’s expected points deduction should mean Hull just about stay up, despite their obvious lack of defensive quality after conceding nine goals in four matches.
22: Middlesbrough (Points: 44)
Middlesbrough opted to test their youth this season, an experiment which has seen them struggle and dismiss their former player Jonathan Woodgate as manager.
Neil Warnock has since taken the reins and a win in his first match in charge gave Boro hope, though a defeat to the recently lethargic QPR has once again left them in the bottom three.
They have some tough games to come as well and will rely on the likes of Ashley Fletcher – who has 14 goal contributions in 2019/20 (nine goals and five assists) to be at their best to stay up.
Fixtures: Millwall (A), Bristol City (H), Reading (A), Cardiff (H), Sheffield Wednesday (A)
Verdict: Stay up – Boro’s Woodgate experiment did not at all go to plan, leaving Warnock with a difficult task. Despite that, the Teesiders should stay up – although it could be at the expense of Wigan.
23: Barnsley (Points: 41)
Barnsley’s budget makes it hard for them to compete at this level, with this season no exception for the Tykes.
Stoke tore through them with ease in their most recent defeat, their 20th of the season, with the Oakwell side’s mental resilience in question having lost many games by two or more goals.
Two wins and a draw in their first three after the restart gave false hope to their fans with the gap simply too big to make up with the fixtures they have left to play.
Fixtures: Luton (A), Wigan (H), Leeds (A), Nottingham Forest (H), Brentford (A)
Verdict: Relegated – Playing three of the top five in their final three games is far from ideal for the Oakwell outfit while they do not have enough quality in their ranks to take many points from those games, if any.
24: Luton Town (Points: 40)
Luton are another side whose financial constraints mean their time in the second tier is likely to be cut short after just one season.
The Hatters turned to former manager Nathan Jones in the hope they could stay up, though Graeme Jones had put his own stamp on the squad with players that did not necessarily suit the returning boss’s style.
Luton will harbour hopes of returning to this level on their almost inevitable relegation, with Jones’ style having previously seen them romp to the League One title.
Fixtures: Barnsley (H), Huddersfield (A), QPR (H), Hull (A), Blackburn (H)
Verdict: Relegated – the Hatters do not have enough players who are able to turn games on their head to pick up unlikely results and have some tough fixtures against teams in and around them.