It now seems a long time since we won at Plymouth with ten men. I went to that game, and as it was such a long journey I was very disappointed when we had Weaver sent off in the first five minutes.
We were not playing all that well when we went there, and by contrast they had been on a decent run. This time around we are both in terrible form. We have managed just three wins between us in a combined total of 35 games. We both have just one win in our last 14. Thus I think we can conclude that it will be a draw.
I read that we are favourites to win this match, but as delightful at that would be, I suspect that neither side will have the 'cutting edge' to kill off the other. Having said that, with their current form Plymouth could well be one of the sides we would have to catch to avoid relegation this season.
There have been signs that we are better prepared for the battle ahead in recent weeks, and despite the fact that we are ten (plus goal difference) behind teams that are winning, a victory could leave us ten points behind a team with significantly worse form than us, with fifteen games left (45 points to play for).
Clearly I have been at the straws again, but if Southampton do go into Administration as has been suggested we then only need to catch two more. A win this weekend and there could be seven teams (and Southampton) that are no more than ten points away - of which two could be as close as 5 and 7 points.
I know this is all crazy talking, but it would mean two wins in four, back to back home wins and ignoring the Bristol City defeat (attributed to having Holland targeted due to his height) we could have won the other one, and would have drawn had the game ended two minutes earlier.
Rather like the UK Economy, the thing needed the most is confidence. I am not going to say that I think we will avoid relegation, as you would call me a mad man, but the more of us believe it is possible, the more the players will believe it. I think we have been very supportive this season. As fans I genuinely believe that the club couldn't have asked for more since we last recorded back to back wins in December 2007. This Saturday is an opportunity for the players to show that they care and believe enough to secure a win, and it will no doubt be rewarded with much more optimism and hope from the fans.
Those seven teams all have to play one another; they all have to play the teams at the top fighting for promotion; we have demonstrated recently that we can perform in fits and starts, and those performances are becoming more and more consistent. A win on Saturday followed up by beating Barnsley at Oakwell would change the forecasts massively. Assuming Barnsley lose their derby at Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday, we could find ourselves just four points behind them (and safety). That would really make it interesting.
With sixteen games to go it is a little early for me to be building spreadsheets with the teams we might have to catch, but if we find ourselves less than two wins away from safety by the time we entertain Doncaster in just under three weeks I might not be able to resist.
In the meantime I think I will pick up all these straws and put them away.
Up the Addicks!