Whitehaven will clinch the League One title and automatic promotion if they can win their last three games of the season.

The 12-12 derby draw with Workington Town, watched by a superb crowd of 2,360 at the Recreation Ground on Sunday, effectively kept them far enough ahead of their pursuers to keep their destiny in their own hands.

The games left to play now are against the bottom three teams in the league, which means Haven are strongly fancied to earn promotion into the Championship.

Of those three remaining fixtures, the toughest is in a fortnight on August 18 at Keighley, who have actually won eight games this season.

But they were deducted 12 points for their close-season problems and transfer of club membership.

With those 12 points intact, they would be level with Workington pushing for the final play-off place.

Coach Gary Charlton said: “We certainly won’t be going there thinking we just have to turn up.

“The Cougars will want to make it hard for us and it won’t be easy.

“We have got this far taking one game at a time and we are not going to change anything now.

“Keighley on August 18 is all we are thinking about.

“We have a free weekend, but the players will be training as normal on Wednesday and Friday this week.”

Keighley are playing this Saturday, however, with a home game against Hunslet, one of the teams jockeying for a play-off place.

But the big game is on Sunday when third-placed Oldham entertain second-in-the-table Newcastle. Workington Town, meanwhile, are in sixth.

This is their game in hand on Whitehaven, with Newcastle three points behind and Oldham four.

The strangest statistic, however, from the latest league table is

that leaders Whitehaven have a poorer points differential than the four teams immediately behind them.

It must be the first time this has ever happened as the Cumbrians have won more games than the others and lost fewer.

If they can get past Keighley, Haven will then entertain West Wales Raiders (only one win in 17 games) before finishing off at Coventry (four wins in 16 games).

Whitehaven’s final game at Coventry has now been switched to the Saturday – September 7.