Wolverhampton Wanderers host relegation rivals Blackburn Rovers on Sunday in a gripping finale to the English Premier League season.Blackburn and Wolves, 15th and 16th on the table respectively and level on 40 points, are just two of five teams in danger of relegation on what promises to be a tense last day of the season.
Three teams are one point worse off than Blackburn and Wolves.
Wigan are second bottom, with Blackpool 18th and Birmingham 17th, all on 39 points.
But despite their slim advantage, neither side in the match at Molineux can afford to settle for just a draw for fear of being overtaken by the teams beneath them.
Blackburn, who beat Wolves 3-0 in their first meeting back in December, have taken five points from their last three matches, including a 1-1 draw at home to Manchester United and a potentially invaluable 1-0 win over Bolton.
But that victory was just their second in 14 league matches, a miserable run that has seen the team slide perilously close to relegation after 10 years in the top division.
If Blackburn drop into the Championship, it will raise further questions about the wisdom of club owners Venkys’ decision to dismiss Sam Allardyce as manager in December.
Wolves finished 15th in their first season back in the Premier League last year, a relatively comfortable eight points clear of the relegation zone.
But they have been battling at the wrong end of the table for much of the current campaign.
Only two victories in the last two outings, both 3-1 over West Brom and Sunderland respectively, have kept Mick McCarthy’s team in with a chance of beating the drop.
Wolves’ survival hopes were not helped by a knee injury to Kevin Doyle.
The centre-forward was a vital part of the team that stayed up last year, but he has missed six of the past seven matches, only returning for 20 minutes off the bench last weekend.
Defender Pascal Zubar and midfielder David Edwards are two more who have been missed in the run-in and are yet to recover fitness.
Blackburn’s biggest concern is the tight hamstring that forced captain and centre-back Christopher Samba out of Saturday’s home draw against United.
“Chris Samba first of all felt his groin but wanted to stay on and then his hamstring tightened up,” manager Steve Kean said.
“We know what that big fella is all about and if there is any chance he can play he will play, he will be dying to get out there.”
“You take the risks in games like this and, of course, if we can take a risk on him then we will.”