Cardiff City: 'Down To Wire' Finish
With ten games to go the Bluebirds lie three points outside the play-off zone. What are their chances of finishing in the top six?
On the minus side, a number of our rivals are hitting form at exactly the right time. There is an aura of invincibility surrounding some teams (Derby, Sunderland) which leads them and their fans to believe that they can win every game that they play. We are not showing the same arrogant belief in our own ability, particularly away from home.
We are also uniquely vulnerable if anything should happen to Michael Chopra. Steve Thompson is a good foil for Chopra, holds the ball up well and brings others into play but is not a prolific goal-scorer It is difficult to see us winning a play-off campaign if Chopra was injured or suspended.
Also, we don`t seem to be getting the rub of the green. We deserved results at West Brom and Birmingham and left both games empty-handed. We will need to start making our own luck, particularly in the crucial final match of the season at Portman Road, a stadium where our recent record has been poor.
More optimistically, we seemed to have regained much of our early season form and Dave Jones is selecting from a more or less fully fit squad.
Dave Jones sensibly said that if we win our home games we will be in the play-offs. Recent statistics support this view. If we pick-up another fifteen points by the end of the season we will finish on 74 points. For the last three years 72 points has guaranteed a play-off spot. To date we have averaged 1.63 points per game - if we maintain this to the end of the season we will secure 75 points.
Our last six fixtures look relatively straightforward with none of our play-off rivals being encountered. This should allow us to establish some momentum to carry with us into the knock-out phase.
Whatever happens, the next eight weeks will not be dull. I see City maintaining their challenge right to the end of the season, requiring a result at Ipswich (and possibly favourable results elsewhere) to ensure our progression.
What price our destiny being decided in the last few minutes of the final games of the season?
Article submitted by long-time Cardiff City fan Tim Edge.