Middlesbrough scraped a win against relegation-threatened Sheffield Wednesday, with a deflected Scott Macdonald goal, which keeps their playoff dreams alive for now. They now sit four points behind sixth spot with nine points available from the last three games.
Middlesbrough also have a better goal difference margin than Swansea, who currently sit in the final playoff position. Their final three games also lend themselves to the optimist, as they face West Brom, Coventry, and Leicester.
West Brom have already secured promotion back to the top flight, and Boro fans will be hoping they already have their minds on their summer holidays enough to secure a tricky win at the Hawthorns.
Coventry are safely in mid-table, threatening neither the playoffs nor the relegation zone, and playing at home should lead to a comfortable win.
The final day of the season takes Boro to Leicester. If Middlesbrough have kept themselves in contention then, this will be the crucial tie, with both teams hoping for a playoff place. It would be a mouth-watering tie with the ex-Middlesbrough captain now in charge at Leicester.
Three wins in those games, and Boro’s season could well finish with a chance of promotion. However, even the most optimistic fan will know how unlikely three wins are from the last three games.
The three wins required, combined with the two recent wins, would see Boro winning five games in a row, a feat which wasn’t even achieved when they last secured promotion in 1997-1998.
In all likelihood, the playoff charge will finally whimper out next week, as they fail to beat West Brom and their rivals win. However, Middlesbrough have a habit of keeping their fans on edge till the bitter end, and though the playoffs have always looked out of reach, it once again will be in the last few weeks when Boro find out their fate.