Fixtures, dates & teams in contention

With us now into the second half of the League One season, it’s time for fans to start looking up and booking off the dates of the play-offs.

Seeing their team lose in the play-offs is one of the most painful things a football fan can endure, but it doesn’t get much better than seeing your team win them to gain promotion.

It’s unclear exactly which teams will contest them in League One this year, but we can at least tell you who’s in the mix and when the matches will take place.

Three teams are promoted from League One to the Championship each season. The title winners and runners-up go up automatically with the final place determined by two-legged semi-finals and a final at Wembley. The teams finishing third to sixth qualify for the play-offs. Those three teams are replaced by sides relegated from the Championship.

Meanwhile, the bottom four teams drop out of League One and down to League Two, which sends up another four sides as their replacements.

The weekend of May 6 will be the final one of the League One season and determine what the play-off fixtures will be. After that, the play-off semi-final dates will be announced, but it’s already safe to asuume the first legs will be played the following week.

The team that finishes third takes on sixth place, while fourth and fifth will go head to head in the other tie.

When is the 2023 League One play-off final?

The winners of the two semi-finals will face one another at Wembley in a one-legged final, with the winner being promoted to the Championship and the loser remaining in League One.

It has aldready been confirmed that the match will take place between May 27 and May 29, and will most likely kick off in the afternoon.

As is always the case in League One, a high number of teams are still in with a real chance of qualfiying for the play-offs.

Plymouth and Sheffield Wednesday have a healthy margin to those below them and will be confident of claiming the two automatic promotion spots, but how things pan out beyond that is very much unclear.

Third-placed Ipswich look a safe bet to play in one of the two-semi finals as do Derby, but Bolton and Barnsley – currently fifth and sixth – will be in serious danger of dropping out if they slip up, especially if Peterborough and Port Vale win their games in hand.

Position

Team

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goal difference

Points

1

Plymouth

27

17

7

3

+20

58

2

Sheffield Wednesday

26

16

7

3

+28

55

3

Ipswich

26

14

9

3

+22

51

4

Derby

25

12

8

5

+17

44

5

Bolton

26

12

8

6

+13

44

6

Barnsley

24

12

4

8

+7

40

7

Wycombe

26

11

5

10

+6

38

8

Bristol Rovers

27

10

7

10

-3

37

9

Peterborough

24

11

2

11

+8

35

10

Exeter City

26

9

8

9

+2

35

11

Port Vale

24

10

5

9

-5

35

As of 15 January 2023.

Sky Sports hold the broadcasting rights for Football League matches in the United Kingdom. They will show playoff games from across the Championship, League One and League Two on their various television and streaming services such as Sky Sports Football/Main Event and Sky GO.

For those in the USA, streaming service ESPN+ will show the games. A subscription costs $9.99 or $99.99 a year, with purchases available on ESPN.com or their app.

Huddersfield, Walsall and Peterborough have won the League One play-offs most often, with each of them gaining promotion via that route on two occasions.

None of those sides have prevailed in over a decade though, since Huddersfield Town beat Sheffield United on penalties in 2012, a year after they were beaten 3-0 by Peterborough at Wembley.

Sunderland won the final last year, beating Wycombe 2-0 after losing the same fixture to Charlton in 2019.

Clubs that win the League One play-offs earn a considerable amount by doing so due to the promotion to the Championship that follows.

Combining basic awards and solidarity payments from Premier League clubs, League One sides receive around £1.5m at the start of a season. In the Championship meanwhile, that figure is much higher at around £6.7m

Championship clubs also earn more money for hosting matches shown on TV, and given the higher level, can expect to sell more tickets.