Explained: The Socceroos still in promotion battles

Denis Genreau has become the first Socceroos promoted this season, and he just might not be the last... 

The finish line is in sight for many of our Socceroos, with promotion in England, Italy and Germany still a possibility. 

From Denis Genreau in France to Jackson Irvine in Germany and Fran Karacic in Italy, it's all coming right down to the wire - we explain what each Aussies' club needs to do, in order to secure top-flight football. 

Denis Genreau - France

Ligue 2 

1st: Toulouse - 76 points
2nd: Ajaccio - 68 points
3rd: Auxerre - 65 points
4th: Sochaux - 64 points
5th: Paris FC - 63 points

Games remaining: 3 
Top 2: Automatically Promoted

With three games remaining in Ligue 2, Genreau’s Toulouse FC secured promotion to Ligue 1 in France with a 2-0 home win over Niort. 

The focus now turns to wrapping up the title in their next match against Rodez on Tuesday, May 3 at 4:45 am AEST. If results are to go their way, Toulouse will lift their third Ligue 2 title. However, if that is not to happen, the race for the title could come down to the last matchday when Toulouse plays the current second-placed team AC Ajaccio.

Genreau has gone from strength to strength with Toulouse since his move from Macarthur FC in  July 2021. The 22-year-old has appeared in 32 Ligue 2 matches, with 19 of those coming from the start. He has also registered one goal and three assists in various roles across the Toulouse midfield. 

Jackson Irvine - Germany


2. Bundesliga 

1st: Werder Bremen - 57 points
2nd: Schalke - 56 points
3rd: Darmstadt - 54 points
4th: FC St. Pauli - 53 points
5th: Hamburger SV - 51 points

Games remaining: 3 
Top 2 - Automatically Promoted
3rd - Play-off v Bundesliga side

Irvine's push for promotion to the Bundesliga is edging closer as St Pauli approach a huge encounter with FC Nürnberg on Saturday at 2:30 am AEST. While the Socceroos midfielder will not be available for the encounter after picking up a fifth yellow card in St Pauli’s 2-1 loss to fellow promotion rivals Darmstadt over the weekend, he will be hoping his side can return to winning ways. 

Currently in fourth position on the table, automatic promotion is veering on the side of unlikely, but a play-off fixture is certainly possible. With three games remaining, St Pauli host Nürnberg and then travel to Schalke before rounding off their campaign against Fortuna Düsseldorf. The first of those two games are promotion six-pointers that will decide their fate. 

Since joining St Pauli at the start of the season and overcoming an early injury, Irvine has been instrumental in the club's promotion push. The 29-year-old has featured in every match he has been available for. With 26 starts and five substitute appearances from the 31 Bundesliga 2 matches so far, his midfielder versatility has been a real asset to Timo Schultz’s side. He also drew plaudits for his 90-minute performance in the club’s historic cup victory over Bundesliga giant Borussia Dortmund.

Jackson Irvine 2
Jackson Irvine has been a mainstay in St Pauli's lineup since returning from his injury.

Fran Karacic - Italy


Serie B

1st: Lecce - 68 points
2nd: Cremonese - 66 points
3rd: Monza - 64 points
4th: Benevento - 63 points
5th: Brescia - 63 points

Games remaining: 2 
Top 2: Automatically Promoted
3rd & 4th: Play-offs 

Karacic's Brescia are still in the hunt for promotion as they sit just three points behind the crucial automatic promotion places in Serie B. To keep their promotion hopes alive, Brescia will need to continue their seven-match unbeaten run against Cittadella on Saturday at 10 pm AEST.

With two games remaining against mid-table sides, Brescia will need to pick up maximum points if they are to secure an automatic or playoff promotion place. In Serie B, the top two teams are automatically promoted and there is a playoff for the third and fourth team unless the team in third is ten points ahead. However, this season, the playoff will be activated because there is only two points that separate third and sixth. 

While Karacic found minutes hard to come by at the start of the season, the 25-year-old has featured 12 times since the start of February. Under new manager Eugenio Corini, Karacic has had a more consistent run in the team as he looks to help his side secure promotion. 

Riley McGree


EFL Championship

1st: Fulham - 87 points 
2nd: Bournemouth - 79 points
3rd: Nottingham Forest - 76 points
4th: Huddersfield - 76 points
5th: Luton Town - 72 points
6th: Sheffield United - 69 points
7th: Blackburn Rovers - 66 points
8th: Millwall - 66 points
9th: Middlesbrough - 64 points (one game in hand)

Games remaining: 2-3 
Top 2: Automatically Promoted

3rd-6th: Promotion Play-offs

While Middlesbrough’s Championship play-off hopes suffered another setback as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Swansea City over the weekend, Riley McGree’s side are still in with a sniff. The draw sees them climb a place to eighth, but they will need to start picking up victories if they are to make it. 

Having failed to win in five games, Middlesbrough are five points off the play-offs with three games remaining. In what has been dubbed a “season-defining game” by Boro manager Chris Wilder, the first of those three takes place on Thursday morning against Cardiff City at 4:45 am AEST. 

Since joining Middlesbrough after spending the beginning of the season on loan at Birmingham City via Charlotte FC, McGree has had to overcome injury disruptions to find his feet with his new club. However, in recent weeks, the 23-year-old Socceroo has returned to form with two appearances off the bench and three starts. He even managed to score his first goal for the club in their last outing and he will be hoping to add more as Middlesbrough chase promotion to the Premier League.

Bailey Wright


EFL League One 

1st: Wigan Athletic - 89 points
2nd: Rotherham - 87 points
3rd: MK Dons - 86 points
4th: Sheffield Wednesday - 82 points
5th: Sunderland AFC - 81 points
6th: Plymouth Argyle - 80 points
7th: Wycombe Wanderers - 80 points

Games remaining: 1
Top 2: Automatically Promoted

3rd-6th: Promotion Play-offs

Bailey Wright’s Sunderland climbed to fourth in League One to boost promotion hopes after crushing Cambridge United 5-1 over the weekend. The win extended The Black Cat’s unbeaten run to 11 games and was their fifth home victory in a row. They have moved up to fourth in the table on 80 points, but they are still just a point ahead of seventh-place Sheffield Wednesday.

Though there remains much work to be done, Sunderland will go into the final two games of the season with their fate firmly in their own hands. Their next match sees them face off against second-placed Rotherham on Wednesday morning at 4:45 am AEST before rounding off the season against Morecambe on Saturday. 

Since the start of the year, Wright has played every minute for Sunderland, even donning the captain's armband on numerous occasions. The 29-year-old Socceroo will be hoping his impressive run of form can help The Black Cats return to the Championship in the coming weeks.