League 1 permutations: 14 Feb 2017

What’s possible

Here are the highest and lowest possible positions that each club can occupy after the forthcoming round of fixtures. I’ve drawn lines under the automatic promotion and play-off spots, mid-table and the last spot above the relegation zone on both “axes” for ease of reference.

These graphics are explained here, but in a nutshell I crunch through every possible combination of results to work out how far it’s mathematically possible for each club to rise and fall.


There’s no shifting the top two this evening, with respective five and four point cushions keeping Sheffield United and Scunthorpe in place for now.

Another four point advantage keeps Bradford in fifth whatever happens, but any of the five clubs beneath them could start Wednesday in the final play-off spot.

Bury and Swindon are both able to move out of the relegation zone this evening, with Port Vale and Oldham the only clubs who can replace them.

What’s likely

The above shows what’s mathematically possible but doesn’t make any allowances for what’s likely to happen, so I’ve come up with a second graphic that uses my E Ratings prediction model (used to simulate the forthcoming round of games thousands of times) to assign some probabilities to all these potential changes.

It’s structured very similarly to the one above: the clubs are still listed in the same order as the current league table down the side and the dividing lines are all in the same place, but now across each row is the percentage chance of them moving to other positions in the table. As above, green indicates a rise, red a drop and grey staying put. The darker the red or green, the higher the probability. If there’s no number in a square, it means that the club didn’t fill that position in any of the thousands of simulations I ran and is therefore very unlikely.


Millwall look likely to hold onto sixth place for now: they’re at home to struggling Port Vale while nearest challengers Rochdale and Southend have tough away trips.

MK Dons‘ chances of overtaking former boss Karl Robinson – now in charge at Charlton – appear slim-to-nonexistent. They’d need to win at Bury while the Addicks lose at Oldham with a combined swing of seven goals.

At the bottom Bury‘s chances of leaving the relegation zone are a shade better than one in three (14+22=36%). The aforementioned visit of MK Dons is far from a guarantee of victory even if Oldham lose at home to Charlton and Millwall beat Port Vale.