Now the dust has settled..

After digesting yesterday’s surprising turn of events, and the fact that we suddenly appear to have a much more tangible chance at automatic promotion than we thought, I’ve tried to take stock of it.  I think the bottom line is that not only do we really need to win our two remaining games, we also need to depend upon both Doncaster and Carlisle to drop sufficient points for us to catch up with them.  Whilst not beyond the realms of possibility, it still feels like a tall order.

If we take a look at the fixtures left, Carlisle dropping points isn’t beyond the realms of possibility – they’re on a self-destruct run of form that will be only too familiar to Forest fans, and with games against Millwall and Bournemouth to come, still scrapping for points, they are not home and dry.  Bournemouth in particular have started to seriously fight after their point deduction, and this is the game that is more likely to provide the upset.  From our point of view, Carlisle will remain above us if they can win and draw their last games regardless of our results.  Two draws would be okay though!

Doncaster Rovers have arguably the easiest run in, and will be getting excited at the prospect of grabbing second place themselves – a home game against our recent opponents Luton Town, who are already relegated and – on yesterday’s showing – aren’t very good, and then a final day trip to Cheltenham which, with all due respect to ’em, isn’t exactly a challenging fixture on paper.  We only have one point to make up over Donny, so any slip up by the South Yorkshire side will be enough for us to be able to catch them.

However, probably the most challenging ask in this is Forest’s remaining fixtures, a trip to Hartlepool – a scene of a last gap failure to qualify for the playoffs not that long ago, is a tough trip, and we all know what Yeovil Town are capable of achieving at the City Ground.  Forest need to take positivity into these games and get maximum points.  Even that might not be enough depending on what goes on elsewhere, but if we can go to Hartlepool United next week and win, we are guaranteed to take it to the last day of the season.

Of course, the sod’s law factor in this is that we’ll somehow haul ourselves into that improbably second spot, only for Leeds to be awarded their 15 point deduction back, consigning us back down to third!  The other potential factor in the mix is AFC Bournemouth’s financial struggles, which seem to have quietened down in the media – which I’m pleased about, as whilst we would have benefitted from this, I wouldn’t want to see an honest and decent club like Bournemouth going out of business.

So, in summary it’s certainly achievable for us – but it does put a certain amount of pressure back on to the side, pressure they probably weren’t feeling for the Luton Town game – and that wasn’t exactly an exemplary display of football.  Should we get to the final day with it still in the balance it will prove to be a tense day of checking results on mobile phones constantly, so we could all be in for a huge WAP bill!

As for us fans, it’s surely time to quell the negativity on matchdays – put an end to the half time boos, no more banners against the manager, as long as there’s even the slightest possibility of us nicking that second spot, no matter how tiny, then our role should be to get behind the team and try to spur them on to victory.  Stranger things have certainly happened, it seems silly to be formulating protests whilst a successful season is still possible.