Date: 2nd January 2008 at 5:44pm
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P23 W11 D8 L4 Good enough?

Statistics can be very misleading at times but they`re still reliable enough to give bookies, bankers and insurers (and me) a good living. So what is there to learn from analysing the cold figures at the half way point in the season?

So far we`ve played 23 games for 41 points and so far that`s proved good enough for second place. If we do the same again over the next few months, that will give us 82 points for the season. Whilst that may sound good, historically 82 points will not be enough to guarantee automatic promotion.

It`s true that in 2006 just 79 points did the trick but you needed 86 points in 2003 and 86 points again in 2005. In fact over the last 5 seasons the average number of points needed for automatic promotion has been 84. Using that as our target, we therefore need to get at least another 43 points from the next 23 games – more if possible.

43 points won`t be easy. Whilst we`ve not been bad at home, our away form has been patchy and unfortunately the second half of the season gives us 12 games away to11 at home. Not only that but 5 of the away matches will be against top10 teams including Leeds, Doncaster and Carlisle. If we fail to improve on our current away form of 16 points from 11, these upcoming 12 away games will bring us just 17 points.

That would leave us looking for 26 points from 11 home games to meet our target – that`s 8 wins, 2 draws and one defeat . So far this season we`ve managed 7 wins, 4 draws and 1 defeat (25 points from 12) so that`s got to improve too..

We can also look at current form. Halfway through the season we should have settled down to a regular pattern of performance. Well let`s hope we haven`t because a regular pattern of performance like December`s 8 points from 6 games would drop us right out of the frame. Our form needs to stabilise.

To sum up, the figures suggest we will need a minimum of 43 more points to get automatic promotion. This is a very big ask for what is turning out to be yet another unpredictable team, proved by the fact that Forest are no longer the bookies favourite for either of the two top places. It`s going to be very close – too close to call right now.

On past history a projected 82 points would make a place in the play-offs a certainty. Little consolation there with the odds of winning the play-offs 3-1 against before you even kick a ball – not to mention last season`s fiasco plus our record this season in knock out games. Playing off is not a nice prospect but very much on the cards..

But what the stats demonstrate more than anything else is the long term effect of short term dropped points. “We were pleased with the draw” “Look on it as a good bonus point gained” “We played well without much luck” You know the sort of thing.
Fact: every point you drop in the Autumn comes back to haunt you in the Spring.

Cholo.

 

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