LAST week I allowed for a loss to Norwich (albeit not such an embarrassing one), a loss to Villa and then a draw in the next few games.
This would be the very worst case scenario which would still result in a play-off place at the end of the season.
I’m pleased to be able to say we’ve exceeded the targets for those two tricky trips to Norfolk and the Midlands, while a win against Rotherham was expected but nonetheless needed.
In our penultimate away game next weekend we face Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
Mark Warburton’s men haven’t had a great run of form recently, winning just two out of their last 10 league games. Those two wins have come against recently-promoted league leaders Brighton and high-flying Huddersfield, so Forest boast the ability to beat top teams in this league.
Their recent form may not provide much worry to Jaap Stam and his excelling Royals, but they currently sit just one point clear of relegation to League One and will be desperately fighting for every possible point between now and the end of the season on May 7.
The Reds haven’t got an easy ride until the end of the campaign either – they face QPR away next week and then Ipswich at home – which will only make them desperate to win.
It’s now very unlikely we will drop out of the play-offs as we will have to lose all three remaining fixtures and our competition will have to win all three.
Therefore it is in Stam’s best interests to be testing his back-up plans such as playing Joseph Mendes up front at least once again, and using Reece Oxford in defence as a potential replacement for a dodgy-looking Tyler Blackett.
We must not allow complacency to creep in, not just to avoid falling out of the places or even a repeat of the 7-1 defeat at Norwich, but instead to avoid a disappointing display in the play-offs.
Our trip to Nottingham, hopefully in the sun, should be an interesting encounter to test our resolve against a team fighting for their survival and I look forward to a feisty display from both sides.