Reality Check Time
Article from member REDROBIN
Do you get fed up with all those post-match interviews where the reply to the question 'are you going up?' is 'we have to take one match at a time'.
I suspect footballers are trained to say this and so it is with some surprise that you find Saint's players being quoted as believing they still expect to achieve one of the automatic promotion slots.
I suspect not many of the fans leaving St Mary's last Saturday would have agreed with this expectation, especially with a visit to WBA next up.
The hard money goes along with the pessimists (realists?), with Betfair quoting Saints at 18/1 against winning the Championship. This compares with Derby and Birmingham at around 2/1 and 3/1.
I made my own assessment of the likely points that will be won by each of the sides currently holding the top 8 positions and ended up with Derby 94, PNE 84, WBA 83, BR'M 77, Cardiff 75, Saints 73, Sund 70, Stoke 70.
This would put Saints right on the cut line, not a very comfortable position, and it may be that I have been a little hard on them, given their excellent away form.
However, uppermost in my mind is the continuing lack of a reliable match winning strike force.
Just before the end of the January window, I made a plea in this column for the Saint's board to be bold and cure this weakness.
Well, they got Marek Saganowski on loan. Not exactly bold bold but Saga didn't do too badly on his first outing and there were signs that he and Grzegorz Rasiak may find a useful partnership. And what price Saga playing well with Kenwyne? Because, above all, Saints need to get some pace and power into that striking outfit.
The battle for promotion has a long way to run and there are some crunch times still to come. From February 20 to March 04 both Cardiff and Sunderland face 3 of the other top 8 and from March 04 to March 18 Birmingham and Saints meet 3 of the top 8.
So come mid March, Saints fans could be feeling a whole lot better or a whole lot worse. Any odds on which it will be?