Countdown to the end of the football season - what's in store for our teams?

Welcome to the Endgames. The part of the football season where the stakes are at their highest and the ticking of the clock becomes deafening.

Teams and fans have spent six months talking about survival, or promotion, but now it's time to actually survive, actually get promoted, or fail and live with the consequences. Nervous?

  • Newcastle United

Target: Stay in the Premier League.

Look, if you want me to create some jeopardy for you here, I can do that. I can pretend that Norwich, Burnley and Watford are going to go on a run. I can try and argue that Everton isn't a complete toxic disaster. I can spin you a yarn that Leeds, Brentford and Brighton are all better than the Premier League Table suggests. But none of that would be true.

Newcastle United are going to be just fine. You know it and I know it and if you have any lingering doubts, remember that both Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson should be back from injury before the end of the season. More important now is that Eddie Howe and his team continue to build momentum. Matchdays at St James Park are fun again. It's a long time since anyone could say that. Newcastle United's future will always be complicated under this ownership, but it may also be bright.

Outcome: Newcastle stay up. Comfortably.

  • Middlesbrough

Target: Reach the Championship Playoffs. Win the Championship Playoffs.

I'm not sure which of these twin targets is harder. This Championship Promotion Race is a beast. Don't worry too much about the top two - the automatic ship has surely sailed as far as Boro are concerned. But the playoff race is fierce. Luton are a revelation. Huddersfield and Blackburn have been up there all season. Sheffield United have momentum. QPR are under-rated and Nottingham Forest are just flat out good.

There's no easy path for Middlesbrough, but they do have at least one game in hand on every playoff contender except Forest. Truthfully, Middlesbrough's league results have been patchy recently, but the FA Cup run showed everyone what's possible under Chris Wilder. It's rare to find such a good fit between a manager, a club and a fanbase. Chris Wilder "gets" Boro. Boro Fans "get" Chris Wilder. They're still in with a chance.

Outcome: Middlesbrough reach the playoffs and then, who knows?

  • Sunderland

Target: Reach the League 1 Playoffs. Win the League 1 Playoffs.

The problem with Sunderland is there's always a problem. At the turn of the year, they were top of the league and it didn't look like there was a problem. But it's Sunderland. There's always a problem, it's often self-inflicted and a team that looked like League 1 title favourites are now promotion outsiders. The Black Cats are out of the playoff places and out of games in hand.

It's been 3 solid months of "Typical Sunderland" - The indecisive head coaching change, the whole Roy Keane thing, the whole Jermain Defoe thing, the muddled January Transfer window and the whole ownership and shareholding thing. And yet, hope springs eternal.

Alex Neil saw the problem straight away but he's running out of time to find the right solution. Lee Johnson's team were great going forward but too easy to score against - Neil is trying to turn them into a more consistent, streetwise unit that can win the playoffs. Except they might not even reach the playoffs and if they do, there's the whole "Sunderland in the playoffs" existential crisis to deal with.

Outcome: No clue. The bad outcome is easier to imagine. I can still just about talk myself into a good outcome.

  • Hartlepool United

Target: Finish off a good season in a professional manner.

There are still vague mathematical possibilities for Hartlepool. But they've known for a while they're staying put in League 2 and that's just fine. In fact, all things considered, I think Hartlepool's first season back in the football league has been great. They've never looked in any real trouble. They negotiated a potentially ruinous managerial walk-out in a calm and successful manner - Dave Challinor was a really good manager and a really good fit. He was replaced by Graeme Lee, who's been a really good manager and a really good fit.

The big bonus was the knockout adventures. They were good in the FA Cup and great in the Trophy. Their penalty shoot-out defeat to Rotherham in the Trophy semifinal was probably the most exciting game I've seen this season and definitely the most heartbreaking. So really, the only thing left to do is make sure they don't spoil it. Don't sleepwalk to the finish line. Keep pushing, win some more games and enjoy the party at the end.

Outcome: Pats on the back all round.

  • Harrogate Town

Target: Understand the context of another mid-table finish.

Last season Simon Weaver's team finished 17th in League 2 and, at the time of writing, they're 15th. They spent the first few months of this season looking like genuine promotion contenders, but they've drifted away from the top end since then. So you could say this is a year that promised much, but will ultimately deliver the same outcome as last time and that might feel a little disappointing. But remember this is only the second season in 108 years of history that Harrogate Town has been a Football League Club.

They're doing fine. Better than fine. This is still the best time there's ever been to be a fan of Harrogate Town. Every match, including those remaining this season, should be relished. Every season at this level is it's own little miracle. If you look at the way the club has climbed the ladder over the past decade, you can see how upwardly mobile it is. But sometimes it's OK to stand still and admire the scenery.

Outcome: Another useful year of learning and, hopefully, a highest-ever finishing league position.