We may only find ourselves just past the halfway point of another gruelling League One season, but teams are already eyeing promotion to the Championship.
There are a host of clubs vying for the automatic promotion spots in the third tier of English football as they dream of a fairy tale rise through the divisions, or in the case of some teams, a return to former glory.
However, there is the safety net of the play-offs in League One, a mini knockout tournament that sees four sides fight it out for one last shot at a spot in the Championship.
Here is everything you need to know about the 2023/24 League One play-offs, including dates, prize money and the teams in contention.
As per usual, three teams will be promoted from League One during the 2023/24 season. The sides placed first and second in the table will automatically move up to the Championship, with the final promotion spot decided by the play-offs.
The four teams placed from third to sixth will compete against one another, with two-legged semi-finals followed by a lucrative final at Wembley Stadium. The winner of that showpiece event in the capital will join the two automatically promoted sides in the Championship.
In terms of relegation, things are much simpler, with the four sides at the bottom of the table dropping into the fourth tier. They will be replaced by four clubs promoted from League Two.
The League One season will draw to a close in late April, with the play-offs taking place after the 46-game campaign has come to an end.
While dates have not yet been confirmed for the two-legged semi-finals, the final will take place on Saturday 18 May 2024, with kick-off times to be confirmed closer to the game.
The League Two play-off final will be played at Wembley the day after, with the Championship play-off final being held the following weekend.
Getting promoted is one of the few guaranteed ways of raising a club’s financial stature, with League One clubs earning big money for sealing promotion to the Championship.
When combining basic awards with solidarity payments from the Premier League, League One sides receive around £1.4m at the start of a season, a figure that rises to £6-7m in the Championship. However, clubs who win the play-off final don’t receive any extra payments.
Second-tier clubs also bring in far more through TV deals and ticket sales, the reason why promotion can be so transformative for a football club.