Date: 20th February 2006 at 10:10am
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Getting stick from your work mates or school mates this morning after the Derby defeat? Look no further than new Vital Sheffield Wednesday contributor David to lift those spirits!…

The Sheffield derby match left me with that all too familiar numb feeling that accompanies any Wednesday defeat. The disappointment was heightened by the knowledge that we were well beaten, even allowing for the late rally that briefly threatened an equaliser. Whilst our city rivals now look destined for automatic promotion, only a fight to avoid a swift return to League One awaits the blue half of Sheffield.

It is difficult to see Wednesday being able to break out of the bottom six or seven, as even after a good mini run a winless streak seems to follow. Fortunately the bottom three teams, Crewe, Brighton and Millwall routinely avoid winning, though I am not necessarily assuming this will continue to the end of the season. It would not be unusual for one of the bottom three to make a good fight of it and start to pick up late points. If this happens then which of the other teams near the bottom are most likely to be relegated?

Leicester appear to be heading away from the relegation zone, though the recent improvement in results following the departure of Craig Levein could peter out. Derby and Southampton have gained downward momentum and could end up being one of those teams that manage to achieve a surprising relegation. Hull have held their own all season, never really breaking free from the lower reaches of the table, but also never really getting sucked in to danger at the bottom. I am assuming this will continue.

So what of Wednesday? The current table shows we are fourth from bottom and so the next most likely to get relegated. However, I have always liked statistics and current form guides and have found some to cheer my spirits. Looking at the last nine games, since the defeat to Wolves, Wednesday have comfortably the best record of the teams seeking to avoid the drop.

During this nine game period Wednesday have won four games. In comparison, over the same period Crewe are without a win, whilst Brighton, Derby and Southampton have managed a single victory each. Millwall have registered two wins, with Leicester being the most successful of our rivals in picking up three wins, all of which have come in the last five games. Incidentally, Stoke have dropped from a play-off contending ninth place to sixteenth over this period and have failed to win, though they have only played seven league games.

Wednesday’s only real target between now and the end of the season is Championship survival. Even in the aftermath of derby day defeat there is reason for cautious optimism, as Wednesday are winning more frequently than our fellow strugglers. I hope that you find this thought cheering and that the statistics do not lie.