As each week passes I am sure lots of Blues and Villa fans are thinking more and more about the mouth-watering possibility of reaching or even meeting in the Championship promotion playoffs. However I am sure both managers will say they have not written off automatic promotion yet and with 28 games still to be played why should they in this crazy league?
As of this week Blues are 4th on 34 points while Villa sit in 11th place on 25 points. Both have shown this season that they have the knowhow to win games in which they have not played particularly well and that is always a sign of a good team.
However there is only 11 points between Wolves sitting just above the relegation trapdoor on 18 points and Huddersfield who are currently sitting in 6th place the final playoff place.
With some team still to play each other twice and the rest to meet once there can and will be lots of twists and turns before the end of the season.
Both Wolves and Blackburn have been to the leaders Newcastle and won and that just proves what most people believe and that is that any team can beat any other on any given day in this most intense, relentless, unforgiving and unsympathetic of leagues.
Only Brighton with two have lost fewer games than Blues and Villa who have lost 3 each. Villa’s biggest problem has been drawing too many games but it looks as if the Steve Bruce championship knowhow and Midas touch has changed that. Over at St Andrews Gary Rowett has performed what can only be described as a magnificent job in getting his relatively cheap and cheerful team into 4th place.
Both Bruce and Rowett have similar ideas about the way the game should be played and that is the starting place is being hard to beat with organisation and hard work they key.
Home form is definitely the key and so far Villa are unbeaten while Blues have lost just one.
If Gary Rowett can maintain the points return for the rest of the season they will comfortably make the playoffs based on points needed to make the playoffs in previous years. Steve Bruce’s return in his seven games so far suggest he will also finish with more than enough points to make the playoffs.
However it all seems so easy to write but is much more difficult to achieve. Lots of factors will affect their aims, for example injuries and suspensions, January transfer activity, and of course players going away to play in the Africa Cup of Nations.
This is set to be an exciting chase for the City of Birmingham and once again proves that the Championship is the toughest of all leagues to get out of and with life changing prize of a minimum 100 million pounds for the three teams that do manage it you will see why every point is a prisoner and that winning/not losing is far more important than style, stats, or tricks and flicks.
I am sure Wolves will be thinking they have a chance of making a late surge under the stewardship of Paul Lambert. They are 11 points away from the playoffs but there are plenty of points to play for but they will need some massive results against the teams who are in and around the playoffs if they are to do it.
Nothing is decided in December and it only matters where you are in the table come the end of the season. So hold on tight for what promises to be a bumpy, emotional roller coaster Championship ride with lots of ups and downs between now and May.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have bought my autobiography “The Game’s Gone”. I am amazed to see that It has not been out of the Amazon best sellers since it was published in August and believe me that has left me humbled and speechless. Those who have listened to me over my 35 year career will know that has not happened too many times. Thank you so much to all those who wrote reviews on Amazon they have touched me greatly.
It has stories about all our local teams, Villa, Blues, Baggies, Wolves, Walsall and Coventry and much more plus an insight into my childhood growing up in the inner city slums in the 50’s/60s.
One of the reasons I decided to write the book was because I wanted to show every youngster that you are not a second class citizen just because you don’t go to university. I detest the negative way some schools make their pupils feel about not going to university.
I hope it shows youngsters that if you work hard and show enthusiasm and desire you can be anything you want to be.
As we enter December and thoughts turn to Christmas it would make a nice Xmas present for any football/music lover. And of course you will be helping Help Harry Help Others charity as well as all author profits are go directly to them.
And just in case you didn’t know it’s available at Waterstones, WH Smiths and also on line at Amazon.