Five victories and Blackburn Rovers can dare to dream
TAKE it one game at a time – it is the well-worn football cliché that becomes simply unavoidable at this stage of the Championship season.
But in defence of the managers and players who trot it out can they do anything but given they operate in the most competitive and unpredictable of divisions?
But what is certain as we enter the busiest and most important month of the season so far is that Blackburn Rovers are now very much in the race for a play-off place after Saturday’s 1-0 win at Reading.
Now don’t expect boss Gary Bowyer or any of his squad to come out any time soon and publicly declare a points target for March.
But that will not stop supporters from looking over the seven fixtures Rovers will play next month and predicting how many points their team will need if they are to be enclosed in the top six come the start of April.
History suggests 16 from a possible 21.
Of the sides who sat in sixth position on April Fools’ Day on each of the last nine seasons since the Championship’s inception, they had an average of 62 points.
Rovers currently sit ninth, with 46 points from 31 matches.
So can they win five and draw one of their next seven games?
Seeing as Rovers have yet to win more than two matches in succession all season it will be difficult. But they start March without defeat in their last five games, their longest unbeaten run of the campaign.
Two of their three home matches next month are tricky, against teams in the top two – second-placed Burnley in the East Lancashire derby and runaway leaders Leicester City.
But form is often an irrelevance on derby day and the Clarets have not beaten Rovers for 35 years while only one top-half side – Nottingham Forest in August – have left Ewood Park with maximum points this season.
Rovers also entertain Bournemouth in a game that would be deemed winnable at any stage of the campaign.
The four March away matches – at Bolton on Saturday and then Huddersfield, Watford and Millwall – also offer encouragement.
So the task is difficult, but not impossible.