Palace need four points for play-offs

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The Independent Online
Crystal Palace travel to Swindon today knowing they need four points from their last two games to be certain of a place in the First Division play-offs.

With four of their promotion rivals playing last night, and a crucial six-pointer tomorrow between Port Vale and Wolverhampton Wanderers, Palace need to win at the County Ground today to ease the pressure they will be under when they face Port Vale in their last match. Palace ensured they remained in contention with a 3-2 win over Reading in midweek and will be bolstered by the return of Dougie Freedman.

In the other crucial promotion game, Tranmere Rovers travel to Queen's Park Rangers with both sides knowing that anything but a win will end all chance of elevation to the Premiership this season.

Barnsley will secure automatic promotion to the Premiership with a win at home against Bradford City, who may still need to take maximum points from their last games to avoid demotion. Bradford are one of four teams trying to avoid the three relegation spots. Of the others, Grimsby need a win at West Bromwich Albion to edge closer to safety, while defeats today for Oldham (away at Reading) or Southend (at home to Huddersfield) would condemn them to the Second Division.

At the top of the Second Division, Bury require a point at Watford to secure a second successive promotion under their manager, Stan Ternent.

Stockport County could take a step closer to automatic promotion with a home win against Wycombe Wanderers, while Luton (at home to relegation- threatened Peterborough), Brentford (away to Walsall) and Crewe (at home to FA Cup heroes Chesterfield) can all secure places in the play-offs with victories this afternoon.

In the Third Division, where Wigan, Fulham and Carlisle are already promoted and another eight teams are still in with a chance of a play-off place, the spotlight falls on the bottom club, Brighton. Brighton must beat Doncaster in the final game at the Goldstone if they are to stand any chance of preserving their League status. Hereford, second from bottom and three points clear of Brighton, play Leyton Orient tomorrow and meet Brighton in what might be the mother-of-all six-pointers at Edgar Street a week today.

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