Saturday’s 1-1 draw away to Bolton was nothing but frustrating. With the form that we have been on we would have went to the Macron Stadium with 3 points as the target but Adam Le Fondre’s wonder goal in the second half meant that that the points were shared. I have vivid memories of a 2-2 draw there a couple of seasons back when Ross McCormack scored a wonderful free kick to ensure a draw that day as well, but we have come very far since then. With the next six games all against promotion rivals, it would have been nice to have continued our winning run, but it’s done, and we have to start focusing on the next one against Aston Villa at Craven Cottage.
I thought that it would be a good time to look at our progress in comparison to last season in terms of results against the same teams and not just the same stage. As I’ve said before in these articles, six of the teams that we face this season will be different to last year because of relegations and promotions from other leagues so below is the system that I have used to deal with those situations-
Premier League to Championship
• First placed Newcastle compared with Hull who finished 18th in the PL.
• Second placed Brighton compared with Middlesbrough who finished 19th in the PL
• Play-off winners Huddersfield compared with Sunderland who finished 20th in the PL
League One to Championship-
• First placed Sheffield United compared to Blackburn who finished 22nd in Championship
• Second placed Bolton Wanderers compared to Wigan who finished 23rd in the Championship
• Play-off winners Millwall compared to Rotherham United who finished 24th in the Championship.
Last time I did this we were 6 points off where we had been in the previous season but after our run of positive results, we have closed the gap.
Yes, we are still 2 points off where we were last year but that equates to just one more defeat compared to a draw last season. The most impressive win recently for me was the one at Middlesbrough where we managed to snatch a victory from the jaws of a drab draw away from home at a ground where we haven’t had a lot of joy in the past few seasons. We also picked up 3 points at home in that impressive 6-0 victory over Burton Albion in comparison to last season’s 1-1 draw. It will be points like those that will decide our fate this year. The next 6 games are probably the hardest that we could face, starting with Aston Villa, who are currently the in-form team with 7 victories in a row and now sit in the 2nd automatic promotion spot. It will be tough, but we can beat anyone on our day.
It’s always a help when teams around us drop points, but at the end of the day, our destiny is in our own hands and we just have to keep picking up the points.