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The R Word Part II
With just nine games left of the season Blues find themselves in fourteenth place with forty-six points in the Championship. Have they done enough to completely avoid the relegation trap-door?
The Championship this year is tighter than the proverbial rear end of a duck. Just nine points separate the clubs below 10th in the table and just five separate Blues in 14th with Barnsley in 21st. Thus it’s understandable why Blues fans are still looking nervously over their shoulders at teams beneath them continually picking up points – it would appear that it will take a larger than normal amount of points to avoid relegation this year.
Barnsley are a good demonstration of a team that is doing everything they can to stay up. At the weekend they lay bottom but a good 2-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion last night has seen the Tykes lifted out of the bottom three with a game in hand. In their last ten games, Barnsley have taken 20 points – the best record of any team in the bottom half of the table – and the kind of form that would see a team in the automatic promotion slots over the course of a season.
Indeed, it is worrying for Blues that of the teams in the bottom six, Sheffield Wednesday have 18 points in their last ten games; Bristol City have seventeen and Peterborough have a respectable fourteen. This would confirm that as the season comes to an end teams at the bottom start picking up points as they desperately fight off the thought of going down a division.
However, before worrying too much it’s worth remembering that despite what some of the recent results might make you think, Blues are in good form too having taken four wins, four draws and only two defeats in ten games – the fourth best record of the bottom half of the table. There have been two heavy defeats within those games (Watford and Hull) but there have also been some important wins as well and as such Blues are currently in mid-table.
However, for our canine friends from Wolverhampton it’s not such good news. Having ditched Stale Solbakken their new manager Dean Saunders has only won once and as such they find themselves in the bottom three with the worst form in the division – only Middlesborough and Millwall have lost more games, but both have also won one more apiece.
I don’t want to count my chickens yet – I’ve bad experience of saying “yes we’re safe” and then watching the team getting relegated after putting in a few gutless performances in a row. However, the signs to me point to safety as I think there are enough teams playing badly who won’t pick up the points to overtake us. I do believe it may well go down to the last couple of weeks of the season – maybe even the final day but I think two wins or so should do it for us.
Is it good enough that our aim is now to just stay in the division? Based on what I thought back in August no, it’s not but then again I think I over-estimated how good a couple of signings would be and maybe under-estimated how much injuries and the like would hurt us. We’re still a little way from the final shake up and it’s entirely possible that a few more good results could see Blues finish in the upper reaches of mid-table (which bearing in mind the start to the season we had would be impressive) and as such I think there is every reason to be positive that Blues will be okay.