FOLLOWING the hammering we got at Derby (yeah, who?!) on Tuesday and our subsequent surrender of top spot to West Brom, may of us may have been tempted to start fretting about the damage done to our promotion hopes. After all, it was our sixth successive away game without a victory, ahead of another road trip, to in-form Swansea on Saturday, looming. However, by the end of Saturday we once again have reason to believe. No, really!
Despite a poor performance (again) and the controversy surrounding Carroll’s goal (whether he should have been on the pitch depends on which manager you ask), the reality is that a draw at the Liberty is a decent result for any side in this division. Swansea are now nine league matches unbeaten and don’t really do conceding at home, as proven by the fact that no opposition player had scored a league goal there for just over two months prior to big Andy’s equaliser.
Add to this the fact that Forest lost again (they’re on an even worse away run than us!) and you have a good day for the Toon. The once-lethal-but-more-recently-rubbish Reds are now five points behind us, and having played a game more, following their third successive reverse on the road. And despite those irritating Baggies threatening to nick the title from us, it is Forest whose results we should be more concerned with. After all, whether we go up in first or in second shouldn’t matter as long as we do go up.
Furthermore, with the Swansea game out of the way, Forest at home is our only remaining fixture against a side currently in the top six, which has to be a good thing. I’m not about to do a Fergie and ramble on about timings of fixtures, but in the first six or seven weeks of the year we have had to face West Brom, Leicester, Cardiff and now Swansea. And not forgetting Derby, who I’m starting to think are our genuine bogey team (isn’t that now two points from our last four league meetings?!)
You look at the fixtures remaining and even the most cynical of Geordies will find it hard to plot our downfall now.
The next four games at home, where let’s not forget we haven’t lost yet this season, read Coventry, Preston, Barnsley and Scunthorpe. Add to that that six of our remaining eight away clashes are at sides presently in the bottom half of the table, and hey presto! It all suddenly looks rather rosy.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case. The path has been cleared for our final push in our titanic march on the Premier League!