After Shrewsbury drew 0-0 last night, it means we need 11 more points from our last six games to clinch promotion back to the Championship. The Shrews’ can now only reach 97 points, and with our vastly superior goal difference, it means three wins and two draws will secure an automatic place.
Momentum is much talked about when you are getting close to the end of the season, and it looks as though that the backlog of matches that we’ve had to catch up on has actually helped us, rather than proving too much for us to cope with.
Some of that is down to the depth in the squad that Paul Cook has built this season, but also I think rhythm is another key component. As Gavin Massey said to Wigan Today, playing Tuesday-Saturday looks to have helped the team build up the confidence and determination to seal a top two finish:
“We know it’ll be Saturday-Tuesday- Saturday for the rest of the season, but we’re ready for it. The squad’s good enough and big enough to be able to cope. I don’t think you really get tired at this stage of the season. You just want to games to come thick and fast, tick them off one by one, and be where you want to be at the end of the season.”
Of course, tiredness can play a role. I have no doubt the two day turnaround between Good Friday and Easter Monday contributed to the defeat to Pompey, but the way the team responded with two emphatic victories in the space of a few days, showed there is a real desire in the squad to finish the job.
In contrast, our opponents tomorrow have not managed to recover their composure from defeats as readily. Rotherham’s back to back losses against relegation threatened Rochdale and MK Dons early in March has seen the Millers undergo a major wobble.
With just two wins in seven games, Paul Warne’s side now find themselves 17 points behind us, and although they did win last time against Fleetwood, they had to come from behind after conceding early to scrape a 3-2 win.
At home, I’m confident that after two convincing wins we can make it three in a row. Considering that we have already beaten them away from home this season, we will be starting as favourites, and let’s hope the likes of Massey and Grigg keep up their excellent recent performances.