The one good thing about Saturday's performance was that afterwards no-one could possibly say that we are too good to go down.
We cannot score for love nor money at the moment and that's in the context of a pretty barren season goal-wise. Firing three blanks on the spin has now left us having scored the fewest goals in the division. Plus, of course, we can't keep clean sheets at the moment. Not a good combination.
The result? Statistical free fall: five defeats in the last eight games; three defeats on the spin; five points from the last 24; and three points off the bottom three with seven games to go. The momentum of our unbeaten winter run, which took us to the brink of the fight for the play-offs, has well and truly receded. Unfortunately the undercurrent of the retreating wave, upon which we surged into safe waters, is in danger of dragging us back into the relegation mire.
Actually that's quite an interesting sentence Stanley has just written, in danger of being dragged back into the relegation mire?
Stanley has just looked at the table and we have just 'sleep-walked' straight back bang into it. Ever since Glenn gave his ?We're aiming for the play-offs and we're going to finish above Ipswich…? speech everyone seems to have taken their eye off the relegation ball. People who spend their lives looking behind them might run the risk of falling over ever now and again but they don't get mugged at Hillsborough on the last day of the season.
Needing to avoid defeat on the last day of the season to avoid relegation, having been dead and buried at one point. That plotline sounds all too familiar to Stanley…
Next Saturday's match against Colchester is a must win one for City. A six pointer? No not quite, Col U are down and out, they aren't going to survive at ours, or anyone elses', expense. We have one more potential six-pointer and that's in May. Beat Col U and we are probably only a win, maybe two, away from safety.
Lose it and then the sense of dreaded inevitability about our, second, shocking demise of the season will become, all of a sudden, very audible. Even in Kevin Piper's column. We are in a bit of a mess; we've all got carried away with the unbeaten run; Stanley included. That is long over. Now is the time to wake up to the genuine threat of relegation which has once again emerged.
Stanley is reluctant to start 'laying into' players or manager at this precise moment because we do really need to stick together and get behind the team. Nevertheless there are a couple of things which Stanley needs to get off his chest with regard to why City now find themselves in their second relegation struggle of the season.
First, the great run over Christmas and the New Year was thanks to the marvellous efforts of people like Shackell. The problem is Shacks isn't good enough to perform consistently over an entire season. Shacks excelled in this period, but the truth is his true level of performance is closer to the one he put in on Saturday.
Shacks isn't alone in this and in essence the unbeaten run was based upon the unsustainable: players over performing game in, game out. We are now suffering an inevitable regression to the norm.
Secondly, Glenn knows this and reinforced the team in the January window. The problem was not with 'Tiny' Taylor. For whatever reason, City didn't meet Birmingham's asking price for Taylor.
If the worst does happen then you don't need to be a counter-factualist to conclude that a City with Tiny in it wouldn't have gone down. The extra ?250,000, or whatever, Brum wanted would, under those circumstances, appear a small price to pay to avoid having been relegated. The bottom line is if City had the money they should have spent it.
Instead Glenn went down the loan route and we then have the problem of whether these players are good enough (not in terms of quality, but in terms of experience and physicality) and fully committed (not in terms of not caring, but in terms of knowing they'll be elsewhere come May 5, whatever happens on the pitch at Hillsborough). Plus there is the issue of how to fit them into the team, and at whose expense?
Stanley will no doubt go back to these points in his end of season review. Stan just hopes that they don't result in Stanley carrying out that particular post-season post-mortem from the cheery delights of League One.
That would be particularly sad as it would over-shadow the quiet miraculous job Glenn would have down up until the beginning of March.
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