Roper Reports will endeavour to make sense of the recent happenings at North End and offer general comment on the world of Football.
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The Run-in is underway
Friday 7th March 2014
We are into the second week in March and the run-in for the season in underway. Two objectives for North End, firstly to secure a play-off spot and secondly to achieve automatic promotion. North End's first object is well on the way to being complete as we sit 17 points clear of the 7th place team with only 12 games to go. Assuming we want a home game in the second leg we do need to keep up the momentum that has taken us to where we are in the league table and to secure that all important third or fourth place. The second objective is, of course, an automatic return to the Championship and you have to say that this looks a tad trickier for North End based on our current position. I have read several interesting estimates to what it would take to win promotion outright and in my view I think we would need 94 points. This would mean collecting 30 points from the final 36 on offer which indeed would be a tall order. I suppose the intangible is if two of the other three blow up during the run in. I can't see Wolves failing myself with the squad they have but Brentford and Orient are not infallible and may well drop unexpected points in the 8 weeks left to play. I think the best comment I heard was to try and win the next five and see where that takes us then take it from there.
The boys have had a full week on the training field this week after last Saturday's home win against Walsall. Once again it wasn't our most convincing performance but we collected the points after a bit of dodgy defending from both sides and a Bailey Wright header. I just hope we don't look back at the end of the season and rue all the lost points at home giving silly goals away very late on in the games.
This week sees an away double header with a trip to Oldham on Saturday followed by a 200 mile trip on Tuesday evening to take on Graham Westley's Stevenage. The game at Boundary Park always seems to be a tough encounter and it is not one of our luckiest venues but having said that the way we are playing away you always have to fancy us on the road. At 3:00 on Friday we had sold 2,500 tickets so we are guaranteed an excellent following. Let's hope that in Greater Manchester on Saturday and in Hertfordshire on Tuesday that the fans can cheers the boys on for those oh so important six promotion points.