Bosses determined to avoid Premier League relegation
While West Ham are already down, Wigan currently sit in the bottom three with Blackpool, with both on the same points (39) as 17th-placed Birmingham.
Wolves and Blackburn have 40 points but know they could yet be playing Championship football next season.
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez said: “We could win and be relegated or lose and stay up but it’s out of our hands.”
The Spaniard added: “It’s very simple, we need to be in a position where we can compete against Stoke, who are very strong at home, and we have to try to win.
Blackpool face the toughest task away at Premier League champions Manchester United, Birmingham are at Tottenham, while the winner of the huge Wolves v Blackburn fixture will guarantee survival.
Martinez’s side kept their survival hopes alive with an injury-time winner against West Ham last Sunday that relegated the east London team and the Spanish manager is likening the game at Stoke as the club’s second cup final in a week.
“To win the first cup final in the 94th minute, it gives you a real feeling of victory and of joy. That’s why you work so hard, to get those small margins,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.
“It will be a phenomenal achievement to be successful in this campaign because in my eyes it has been one of the hardest seasons we have had in the Premier League.
“To be able to finish the season with least number of defeats since we have been in the Premier League shows you a very good sign of this squad and the way they have played throughout the season without getting the credit or the rewards that we deserve.”
Blackpool boss Ian Holloway knows even a win at Old Trafford may not be enough to keep his team in the top flight.
Asked how it would feel to be relegated, he said: “It will be the end of the world. It will definitely feel like that.
“You can’t be a football manager, or a player, or have anything to do with a club and be happy if you go down. All you can do is let the dust settle and go on.”
But Holloway remains bullish about getting a result at Old Trafford.
“This weekend, we have to do something no-one else has managed this season – beat the champions on their own ground,” he said.
“I take great motivation from the way we played against them earlier this season. For 70 minutes we were absolutely magnificent.
“Then they brought on Ryan Giggs and Javier Hernandez and we ran out of steam [and lost 3-2 at home].
“But this is an opportunity for us to achieve the best thing we could ever have dreamed of. Keeping a club like ours at this level.”
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy insists that he is relishing the tension as his side head into the final day with their destiny still in their own hands.
“Am I enjoying it? I am enjoying it all,” he said. “What is the alternative – to go and play golf?
“It is an absolutely fabulous job despite all the pressures and attention I get. I don’t want to do anything else – I love it.”
He believes that fellow relegation candidates Wolves may not be tougher opponents than a mid-table side with far less at stake.
“It probably helps that it makes them as nervous as we will be,” he added.
“I am never quite sure whether it is a good thing or a bad thing when you go into a game against a team that is relaxed and nothing to lose.
“Does it take the edge off their performance or does it give them an ability to relax with a bit of gay abandon?”
Birmingham manager Alex McLeish is refusing to be distracted ahead of facing Spurs by speculation linking him with the vacant hotseat at West Ham.
“It’s hypothetical stuff. I’m not going to get involved in ifs and buts [about my future],” said the Scot, who guided his team to Carling Cup glory earlier this season.
“But I do know [Sunday’s game] is probably the biggest of my career. It is certainly the biggest of my managerial career – so bring it on.
“I believe we will stay up. We have to try and play to the strengths the players possess. We know opening up against a Spurs team could be deadly.
“We’ve got our own strategy and we have to try and be good on the day to get a positive result at White Hart Lane.”
Blackburn manager Steve Kean said his team were in confident mood ahead of their trip to Wolves after picking up five points from their last three games.
Both sides need to win to be certain of avoiding the drop.
Kean said: “Wolves have been quite animated – it’s ‘Beat Blackburn Weekend’, it’s ‘Survival Sunday’ down there – but we want to view it as ‘Success Sunday’ because we are in good form.
“It’s not a case of us fearing going to Wolves, we are going into the game really looking forward to it and to have a really good ding-dong.
“We have been positive against City, United and West Ham and we are not going to sit back and play into their hands, and let them batter us with balls into the box.”