Wednesday, 22 February 2017

So, will they, won't they? (The importance of the Bury result)

It was a question I posed 12 days ago. Then I was referring to the optimistic notion that Charlton might be making a genuine play-off push, but having proved fairly comprehensively since then that there was no realistic chance of that, I am now talking about the possibility of a relegation charge.

We sit in 13th place having played 32 matches and having reached 42 points. Perceived wisdom tells us we should be safe. We probably need another dozen point or so to be sure, so where will they come from and should we be any more than mildly worried? The one thing you need to avoid at this stage of the season is a loss of confidence or the manager losing the dressing room. A seemingly comfortable points gap can quickly be eroded. I don't believe either of those things have happened but there must be cause for concern given February's results with a full squad to choose from and some mediocre opposition. 'Seasonoveritus' has afflicted us many times in the past, usually when we have been at the higher end of the table but it could be argued we have seen some that already in the last few weeks.

I have looked at the remaining fixtures and, unsurprisingly for a side in mid-table, we still have a fair balance of sides to play, six currently above and eight below us in the table. Given our points advantage on the bottom five (8 points), it's the games against those below us which will probably determine where we finish. Interestingly, three of those are next up and four of them are the last four games of the season with only Robinson's nemesis, MK Dons, in between. My thoughts are as follows...

Bury (H) - Lost away, we should win but will we bounce back - we didn't yesterday?
Shrewsbury Town (A) - Tuesday night game with a small away following
Northampton Town (A) - Likely to be the biggest remaining turn-out on a big CAFC day
Scunthorpe United (H) - Automatic promotion spot - won't compete on current form
Walsall (H) - Just above us and a side who don't travel and should have little to play for
Bradford City (H) - Still likely to be competing for the play-offs
Sheffield United (A) - Going up and Chris Wilder's chance to show us what we missed
MK Dons (H) - Likely to be scrapping with us and three tight games so far against them
Peterborough United (A) - Won at the Valley and good value for it
Southend United (H) - Surprisingly in play-off contention
Coventry City (A) - Russell Slade could be getting a tune out of them - six pointer?
Gillingham (H) - I always expect to beat this lot but we don't always do it - six pointer?
Chesterfield (A) - Will be another six-pointer if we are in trouble
Swindon Town (H) - Beat us earlier and cost Slade his job - six pointer if in trouble

I am not seriously concerned but the next three could be pivotal. We need to beat Bury on Saturday to open an 11 point gap over them. Lose and it could be cut to 5 - the first six pointer there. Lose (or draw) and we have two away games with a side clearly spluttering against sides desperate to overhaul us.

5 comments:

Richie said...

It's come to this - worrying about relegation to tier four. We used to be known as the club that wouldn't die, but now we are in terminal decline.

John White said...

I have always thought that a drop straight through Div 1 was a real possibility. Clearly the current regime do not and that is exactly why it might happen. They did not think it would last season and are totally ignorant of the realities of the British game. In each of the leagues there a few good clubs who will challenge at the top, there are medioca clubs who will survive until something goes wrong, injury to one or more key players, loss of form etc, and those who will only survive when lady luck shines on them.The new squad just do not balance together nor has lady luck cast more than just a casual glance on SE7. The tradegy is that they are all trying so hard without reaping the just rewards. Thats called Life.

Glyn Hopping said...

Now that we know the result against Bury, there are no matches home or away that we have any right to confident of a win
Relegation, however unlikely, is nevertheless not impossible

Dave said...

John - we should have done enough but what you don't want is a collapse at this stage of the season and we are threatening one. We need three points this week from Shrewsbury or Northampton.

Dave said...

John - we should have done enough but what you don't want is a collapse at this stage of the season and we are threatening one. We need three points this week from Shrewsbury or Northampton.