The big talking point among Blues and Wolves fans as the teams head into the final straight in this most stressful of seasons is still about if they will win enough points to stay in the Championship? As any fan knows they face 8 and 9 cup ties respectively in their fight to avoid the drop and let us be absolutely clear it is vital that they do avoid relegation as that would be a cosmic sized disaster for either club.
As I see it, and I could be wrong, with Rotherham definitely down and Wigan needing snookers there is only one relegation place to be decided and although Blackburn Rovers are currently in that position it ain’t over till the fat lady sings. However she is definitely gargling but the big question is what colours will she be singing about come May?
Wolves and Blues just have to keep pace with the points earned by any of the four teams currently below them in the table over the remaining eight games-Bristol City, Nottingham Forest, Burton and Blackburn. That is a lot easier to say than it is to do in this division of unpredictable results.
However if they do manage to do that then safety is guaranteed. Of course if Wigan did manage to string a run of wins together no matter how unlikely that is with the Latics 11 points adrift of Wolves and Blues then they would both have to match the points earned by any two of the four teams.
Over the last eight games Bristol City have taken 9 points, Forest 5 points, Burton 10 points, and Rovers 11 points. In the same period Wolves have taken 10 points and Blues 5.
Within the remaining 8 games there are a few cup finals that will have a massive say on who eventually goes down. Bristol City v Wolves, Bristol City v Blues, Blues v Burton, Wolves v Forest and Blackburn v Wolves. Although winning those games would be brilliant what will be absolutely vital is NOT losing them.
Of course there are other games any of the 4 teams below Wolves and Blues could win and there are other games our teams could win but those above are key games based on form and current results.
I have been talking to a number of current and ex-players and ex managers about what is needed in any fight against relegation and the most important thing is mental strength. This is the thing that enables you to overcome a confidence sapping loss or going behind in a game. Do Wolves and Blues have the mental strength required is the question. I am sure Gianfranco Zola and Paul lambert will say yes but the proof of the pudding will be in how they deal with these last 8 matches and the set-backs that are bound to happen in this most unpredictable of sports.
However the people I spoke too also said, albeit reluctantly, that what was needed was a large slice of luck, the rub of the green or whatever you like to call it. I know exactly what they mean because any of us would be delighted to stay up thanks to a very lucky own goal despite the performance. Then the owners’ directors and managers can analyse what went wrong and what is needed to ensure the club is not in the same position next season from the comfort of the Championship and not League One.