In theory, Wanderers need about 5 more wins to survive this season. 48 points should be enough to keep us up, therefore, it is the time to be pragmatic. We have 6 home games left; PNE, Villa, Millwall, Birmingham, Wolves and Forest. Now, if you look at that, you immediately earmark Millwall, Birmingham and Forest as winnable fixtures but then you weigh up the potential factor that we face a Wolves side that could already be promoted, an inconsistent Preston side in a derby and... you are safe? It is feasible we could withdraw from our away matches and still survive, however, I perhaps would suggest that is inadvisable. (Cheaper though). Away from home, ignore the March fixtures, yes I know that is extremely reductionist and downbeat, but focus on trips to Yorkshire and Derbyshire. The final two away games of the season at relegation rivals Barnsley and Burton. Those are the pivotal fixtures. It is unrealistic to expect the expected for Wanderers so we cannot rely on the home wins, therefore, the 2nd and 3rd victories on the road will be very well timed indeed. I've absolutely no doubt the Whites will get the sufficient results to stay up.
I have hypothesised two potential lineups for the Whites' run-in when all players are fit and available. A home XI and an away XI. At the start of the season, I suggested our recruitment was suited to a 3-4-3 and although we do still have the players for that out-wide, the sale of Gary Madine and inadequate replacement has left that suggestion null and void. However, the 3-4-1-2 formation could be used away from home with the straight forward 4-2-3-1 used for home matches; a combination of the two systems that got the Trotters promoted last season. The 3-4-1-2 requires pace out in the wing-back positions and therefore there is no room for Filipe Morais because it is a counter-attacking system. It relies heavily on Vela's pressing to be a link between Kirchhoff and Henry's calmness and the intricacy of Clough when in possession. Ameobi is obviously the key man to stretch the play for Clough and Vela to manoeuvre. The 4-2-3-1 is the more functional approach. Le Fondre, fans' favourite (still) would be extremely suited to Mark Little's over-lapping runs down the right because Ameobi's tendency to cut inside creates a lot of space and therefore ALF's near-post runs should be complimented by Vela's late runs into the box. The issue with this is the lack of ingenuity at the base of midfield but that is where one of Henry or Kirchhoff can perhaps be replaced by Karacan.