Often Partisan

The Race For The Playoffs

It’s been a tough few weeks for Blues and their fellow competitors for a top six slot, with most of the teams in and around the current top six having dropped points here and there. I made the point in my match reflections that I’m starting to think Blues might have blown their chances of promotion – which may be a bit reactionary as we’re still top six – and I thought having read the comments I should expand on that.

It’s a cliché that the playoffs are a lottery, but it’s a cliché that holds some truth. Once a team is in the playoffs it’s like being in a cup competition in that teams have to get things right on the button from the off; it’s like the sprint at the end of a marathon. It’s a generalisation, but I’ve always been of the belief if a team is on a run they have a better chance in the playoffs because the momentum and belief is there; obviously you have to have that little bit of luck with injuries and suspensions too (to paraphrase S Bruce Esquire).

I’m also working on the points total I associate with being in the playoffs – which is seventy-five. As Blues have sixty currently, with eight to play that means Blues would require fifteen points from twenty-four available – essentially, five wins. Bearing in mind Blues’ fairly poor away record, and the fact five of those eight games are away, I’m pessimistic that Blues can reach that target – which throws it into the laps of the Gods.

I accept that the teams around us are dropping points also – and it’s not them I fear. I think it’s a given one of the top three (probably West Ham) will get one slot in the playoffs thus that leaves three slots left. Between Brighton in fourth and Watford in thirteenth there are just nine points which I think gives nine clubs who can reasonably make those three slots.

Watford, who lie in thirteenth are unbeaten in March, having won four and drawn two of their last six games. They play five teams in that little nine team mini league between now and the end of the season – Blackpool, Hull and Middlesbrough at Vicarage Road and Cardiff and Brighton on their travels. If Watford can continue their fine March form into April, you’d have to say they’re probably likely to catch the top six and propel themselves into contention. Derby who lie twelfth have won four of their last six and Leicester City who lie eleventh are sixth best currently on form, having beaten both Blues and Hull in amongst their last six games.

It’s this chasing pack that worry me; if Blues keep dropping points we cannot rely on everyone else to do the same – it’s imperative if Blues do want to be promoted that they start picking up points now, starting with a win at the Keepmoat and build a run that takes them to the end of the season. For Blues to do that in my opinion they need David Murphy to be fit for every game, they need Keith Fahey to be fit and continuing in his fine vein of form and they need to keep the strikers firing. It’s starting to be a bigger ask and whilst I didn’t expect to be promoted at the start of the season I will feel disappointed if we can’t do it after all that we’ve been through.

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24 Responses to “The Race For The Playoffs”

  • Wingman Blue says:

    In a word, Murphy. If we can get the win against Doncaster (quite possible) and keep him fit once he’s back, we’re in with a chance. Without him we’re stuffed. Simple as.

  • bluenose08 says:

    If we had everyone fit and available i would give us a chance but looking at our run in its not good,doncaster are fighting for their lives and could do a portsmouth on us, burnley will not be easy having just drawn with west ham,got to make home advantage count against palace, west ham away could nick a point,bristol at home should win ! ipswich away like burnley tough one,brighton away could be a 6pointer if they are in the mix, reading at home we will know where we are by then.
    So 3 home games 9 points, doncaster our best bet 3points and and maybe 2points from the rest.
    Whatever happens the team have exceeded my expectations in europa,f.a.cup and league and i dont think anybody can say we have had a poor season and who knows anything could happen yet !!
    k.r.o.

  • Paulo says:

    ..and to quote Bruce Forsythe.. What do points make..?????? (All together now..)

  • KK says:

    I never thought the day would come when Murphy would become our saviour how the mighty have fallen

  • andy says:

    Its been a very interesting season to say the least and we have to be fair and cannot expect promotion after the turmoil surrounding the club since relegation. CH had his own agenda this season and that was to be competative at the right end of the table. That has certainly been the case and still is. Blues are competing with a number of clubs to enter a mini cup competition with the prize of premiership football at the end of it. A return to Wembley following on from last seasons Carling Cup triumph is in our sights and we should be grateful that we are competing for that and not languishing further down and competing at the wrong end of the table.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    I would give our chances of getting in the play off positions as about 50 50. Once in the playoffs, the outcome is a lottery, but 50% are won by the horse on the rails, which Blues are not. So from here, our chances af gaining promotion through the play offs is worse than 25%!. Now is the time to begin squad planning for next year’s propmotion push.
    So priorities are :-
    1. Offload Zigic
    2. Get a good price for Foster
    3. Sell Redmond if the price is right
    4. Promote Doyle and Butland (Doyle new contract)
    5. Resist sales of key players, especially Burke and Davies
    6. Accept reasonable offers for journeymen
    7. Renegotiate key loans terminate others
    8. Agree a budget for squad enhancements and ensure we are not left with last minute panic buys

    We need a higher proportion of own players to loan players next season as this is critical to the psychological bondng and commitment of the squad.

    But then again – we may win the play offs!!

  • mitchell says:

    Gutted about the result yesterday, and the fact that the attendance was carp. BUT a win on Friday and we’ll be in the play offs with 7 games to go.

    Leeds are starting to worry me a little ( even after the tonking from Forest they have a proven manager in this league), as are Watford & Leicester.

    I think 70/72 points should be enough for a play off spot this year.

    KRO

    • NooBloo says:

      Leeds are not a good side but they are very lively up front and Ross Mc Cormack looks a very good player.

      Their midfield is very slow and cumbersome and Alex Bruce in defence says it all but their keeper is very good,, so I was surprised he lost 7 goals the other week

  • roskoe says:

    Getting in the play offs without carrying good form is useless, unless we get that form soon and maintain it then we will not get through the play offs.

    KRO

  • Bluepenguin76 says:

    I couldn’t make it to St Andrews yesterday as I had to work, but although 1-1 isn’t a bit result we do appear to be running out of steam in the run in (understandably). Let’s be honest it’s been a marathon season and it’s been great that we have competed for most of it.

    I’ve been one to champion CH on here and I still believe the job he has down has been nothing short of fantastic. I would have been happy with 8th or 9th at the seasonS start but I guess having found ourselves 4th last month I am a little disappointed to see us slowly drift out of contention. Tired legs and the lack of investment in squad strength appear to have finally caught up with us.

    Having looked at the games approaching, it’s imperative we win at least five games…three wins at home, two wins away???……I just can’t see it at the minute.

    Doncaster is suddenly a must win game and its going to be a tough trip.

    KRO

  • skareggae72 says:

    Our away form is frustrating,15th the table,no doubt- its cost us promotion,only 2 clean sheets away all season (only Peterboro,Doncaster & Coventy are worse).
    On a brighter note our home form puts us second in the table (best def record) but for whatever reason we have failed to take that form away from St Andrews..

  • Leigh says:

    Bluenosesols eight point plan.
    Agree almost everything.
    But it seems to me odd to pay Nicola his salary in this division , but to baulk at paying it in the Premiership, considering the number of games he has played this season his scoring record appears as good as anyones. So does this mean we offload all the other strikers as journeymen?
    An awful lot of goals came from Woods when Zigic was not available, where would we be in the division now without those goals ? Perhaps we might be better looking how Zigic and Redmond would combine, and who we could put around them.
    It would be folly to go into a new season with a strike force of unproved individuals, better a unit we believe could function

  • Blue Steve says:

    This is a well thought out post. I agree with the majority of points. However we are 5 points ahead of some of the teams you mentioned with a game in hand on others. With only 8 games to go this is still a bit of a margin. I think the points total will be lower for the playoffs this year as everyone seems to beat each other. A hopes do hang in the balance though. We need an upturn in form no injuries or suspensions and the return of Carr. KRO..

  • Dave says:

    I except what your saying but the picture should look like this…..

    Doncaster 1 point as they will be fighting to avoid the drop
    Burnley 3 points
    Crystal Palace 3 points
    Brighton 0 points
    West Ham 1 points
    Bristol City 3 points
    Ipswich 3 points
    Reading 1 point

    I think this will be ample to get into a play off spot

    Taking into consideration what the teams we have got to play ha e at stake

  • bluenose08 says:

    disagree dave.

    doncaster 3pts
    burnley 0
    crystal palace 3pts
    brighton 0
    west ham 1
    bristol city 3
    ipswich 0
    reading 1

    can see teams around us dropping points so could go to the wire. important to keep fahey and the defenders fit. k.r.o.

  • DoctorD says:

    Nine games to go — last nine games yielded 10 points. So if that form continues, we’ll be on 70 points, which brings us up short.

    The nine games before that brought us 21 points, however, which would put us on 81.

    But average our form over the season and you’ll expect 14 points from the last nine games, which puts us on 74 points.

    So it’s gonna be as tight as a gnat’s chuff.

  • mitchell says:

    I put the following results on ja606 the other day;

    Blues 1 -0 Cardiff
    Doncaster 0 – 1 Blues
    Burnley 2 -0 Blues
    Blues 2 – 1 Palace
    West Ham 2 – 0 Blues
    Blues 3 – 0 Bristol City
    Ipswich 1 – 1 Blues
    Brighton 3 – 1 Blues
    Blues 1 -0 Reading

    Already 2 points behind. Hopefully we’ll take a few to Donny.

  • NooBloo says:

    I am a little bit confused by how contradictory the article is: It indicates that you feel that 75 points is needed to make a play off spot but you fear Watford and their good form.

    They only have 54 points with 7 games remaining, so for them to get the 21 points to reach the 75 point mark they would need to win all 7 games and for a mid table side, that is not going to happen.

    A play off spot is Birmingham’s to lose so concentrating on our own form and making sure we dont lose to the teams around us and beating the others should secure a play off spot

    • almajir says:

      Blues need 75 points because if they don’t get them they will get overhauled by the likes of Watford.

      Does that make sense?

      • NooBloo says:

        No not really because Watford need to win 5 games from 7 to even break 70 points. i am not trying to be contradictory but the danger will not come from Watford because even if they overhauled Birmingham, there are too many sides above them that it is unlikely that all of them will drop enough points for Watford to make the play offs, because they will not win 5 games from their final 7.

        Although not mathematically certain, I do not feel that anyone below Leicester can make the play offs

  • mitchell says:

    Looking at the table as it stands I can see 70/71 points being enough. Sides like Leicester and even Leeds pose a real threat. (esp with Warnock in charge) If we can win 4 of the remaining 8 we’ll be fine.

    KRO


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