AS many as nine clubs currently occupying places in the bottom half of the Premier League table could potentially join already-relegated Sunderland in the Championship next season.
Middlesbrough, not surprisingly, are favourites to go down with their North East rivals who will be replaced by Newcastle and Brighton – plus one other – in the top flight.
Boro, after a comfortable start to the season, had been in freefall until a win against Sunderland and a draw against Manchester City gave them renewed hope.
Mind you, a visit to champions-elect Chelsea on Monday and a trip to Anfield on the last day of the season would not have been on their wish list.
Hull and Swansea are making a decent fist of their respective survival bids – but we reckon it will prove to be a case of too little, too late.
The bookies would seem to agree and they have already written off Boro, with some quoting them as high as 1/1,000 to avoid the drop. Might be worth a cheeky fiver.
A number of bookies are tipping Swansea to go down with Boro and Sunderland – with odds ranging from ½ to 4/7. They reckon Hull will survive by the skin of their teeth. I tend to agree.
However, the Swans have what looks to be a relatively easy run-in, as they face Everton and West Brom at home either side of a visit to the relegated Black Cats.
The Tigers also have two home games remaining – against Sunderland on Saturday and Spurs on the final day – but their whole season could hinge on the trip to Crystal Palace in between.
History tells us Sam Allardyce is the survival expert, and we believe he will pull off another Houdini act. So it’s bye-bye Boro and Swansea. Relief for Hull. Just.
Who do you think is in most danger of the dreaded drop? Let us know.