THERE has never been a more chaotic end to the Championship season, but amid all the uncertainty about points deductions, appeals and ongoing investigations into Financial Fair Play, one element of Middlesbrough’s survival mission ahead of tomorrow’s final round of matches could not be clearer.

If the Teessiders claim a point from their final game at Sheffield Wednesday, then their goal difference is such that they will be guaranteed to remain in the Championship. No ifs, no buts, no worrying about what might happen with Wigan.

Take care of their own business against an Owls side that have not won a home game since February, and Boro will be 100 per cent certain of their fate.

“We can take care of things on the field of play, and we are aware that we need another point to do that,” said Neil Warnock, who has been involved in plenty of final-day dramas during his 40-year managerial career.

“We’re all guessing and surmising about this and that. But at the end of the day, we’ve just got to get a point then we don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen with all of these situations.”

In truth, Boro might not even need that. For Warnock’s side to finish in the relegation zone, not only would they have to lose tomorrow, but Luton would have to beat Blackburn, Charlton would have to win at Leeds, and Birmingham would have to get at least a point from their game at home to Derby.

It is an unlikely set of events, although not impossible. But even then, Boro’s spell in the relegation zone would be brief, lasting only as long as it took the EFL to impose the 12-point deduction on Wigan Athletic they have repeatedly promised to enact immediately after the final whistle blows at the Latics’ final game against Fulham. Then, however, depending how Wigan have fared, all hell could break loose.

While the EFL issued a statement last night reaffirming their intention to dock Wigan 12 points – a penalty that means they would be unable to finish ahead of Boro no matter what unfolds this evening – the governing body was also forced to concede that an appeal could render their sanction unenforceable.

Wigan’s appeal is in the hands of an independent body appointed by Sports Resolutions, the arbiters who ruled on a similar case involving Birmingham, with the Latics claiming their entry into administration was a ‘force majeure’ event caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Wigan are therefore arguing that the EFL’s current rules should not apply, and a verdict is not expected ahead of tomorrow’s games.

As a result, someone will find their Championship fate hanging in the balance until the fate of Wigan’s appeal is known, and that is before the even thornier issue of a possible points deduction from Sheffield Wednesday is considered.

The Owls are facing a possible deduction of 21 points after the EFL charged the club with misconduct and accused owner Dejphon Chansiri of selling Hillsborough to try to avoid breaking spending rules, but despite the case being opened in November, the governing body are yet to deliver a ruling or even provide an indication of when they expect the issue to be resolved. Consequently, tomorrow’s Championship finale will take place amid a backdrop of uncertainty and confusion.

“It’s all a bit chaotic really, isn’t it,” said Warnock. “I think we should know what we’re up against really. But it doesn’t appear to be that that will happen before the game.

“At the level we’re talking about, it’s wrong that it’s not already been decided, one way or the other so that the clubs concerned and the rest of the league can get on with it.

“We’re all guessing and surmising, and it’s not an ideal situation. It’s not just Wigan, it’s the Sheffield Wednesday carry on as well. It’s very difficult for the managers and clubs concerned, and also for everybody else down the bottom end too.

"For me, things like that should be clarified before the last game, and if anything, the statement that came out only muddied the waters. But it is what it is so we have to just carry on.”