CHERRIES are all but mathematically certain of taking their place in this season's Championship play-offs.

Jonathan Woodgate's men thumped Millwall 4-1 at The Den this evening, their seventh league victory in succession.

That win lifts Cherries up to third in the table. They do still have a slim chance of catching Watford in second, but that appears unlikely, trailing by eight points with just nine left to play for.

However, they should now at least be able to plan with some certainly for next month's play-offs after seventh-placed Reading's result tonight.

The Royals could only manage a 0-0 draw at mid-table Luton Town, which leaves them now nine points behind Cherries with three games to play, but Woodgate's charges boast a goal difference 20 goals better than Reading, meaning it would take a big swing of results for the Dorset club to miss out on a place in the top six.

Swansea City currently sit fourth with Brentford and Barnsley making up the rest of the play-off places, with just three points separating the sides between third and seventh.

Cherries host Brentford on Saturday.

Reflecting on his side's disappointing draw at Luton, Reading boss Veljko Paunovic said: “We have to convert our opportunities and it’s not going to be many opportunities at this point of the season.

“You have to be clinical, we have to know it’s not going to be an easy or perfect opportunity, it’s probably going to be a sloppy ball, or a bounce back or a rebound and you’re going to have an opponent on top of you, but that’s what teams do in order to get results and that’s what we’re going to have to get better at.

“They defended very well in a lot of numbers and first half we didn’t understand the importance of finishing our actions, and that’s not a criticism, it’s just the fact.

“We have to have that killer instinct and at this point of the season that shouldn’t even be mentioned, understanding how important that you get in the final third, you get set, finish, score. We’ve got to work on that.”

Luton went closest early on, Jordan Clark volleying wide from eight yards out, but Reading also threatened on the stroke of half-time, George Puscas heading wide.

After the break, the Royals’ only effort that tested keeper Simon Sluga saw the Croatian hang on to John Swift’s free-kick inside the final 10 minutes.

The Hatters should have won it late on too, George Moncur denied by Rafael, before both Glen Rea and James Collins put headers over.