Beat around the Bush

SUNDAY games. Difficult or what?

The whole sentiment of this article hung on the result. Five weeks since I last graced these pages and having to leave everything until the last minute, don’t they know I have a deadline to meet?

We drew – a bit inconclusive, but more of that later. I guess the thing that’s been uppermost in your mind is have I come off the fence? Well, let me put your mind at rest right away. I have! There, I knew you’d be relieved.

But which way? Let’s see.

How often have you heard the mantra ‘We need a 20 goals a season man?’ Well, Taarabt’s on 14 with just two-thirds of the season gone. Agreed, we do need a striker, but we have one in Ishmael Miller, so why, oh why do we persevere with Rob Hulse?

Miller’s shaping up for a few goals this season, Wayne Routledge is chasing an (undisclosed) target from the manager, and there’s eight or nine others, more than capable of getting on the scoresheet a few more times yet.

No problems in that department then, but let’s hope Tommy Smith’s back quickly.

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We have the meanest defence in the league – take a look at the table. If you’re like me that’s an everyday occurrence but note the goal difference, and the points total compared with the rest.

Ok, some have a game or two in hand, but we have points in the bag, and this week, while they’re taking lumps out of each other, we should have an easier ride at Preston – easier, but not guaranteed.

We must fancy ourselves with Ipswich at home, and Middlesbrough away before the end of February. After that there’s nothing we should have cause for concern about losing – we won’t win them all, of course, but there must be a rich clutch of points to be harvested.

Got the drift of where I’m going? Yep, I expect us to be travelling to Watford as champions – job done. QPR, champions of the Championship 2010/11 – got a nice ring to it, don’t it? But it’s exactly what you’d expect with the relentless shift of football dominance in west London – and no, no-one mentioned Brentford!

I had been concerned that we would gain promotion, not though our own efforts, but because none of our competitors were capable of stringing together a consistent run of results.

To an extent, that remains true, but having weathered the storm of matches against fellow promotion candidates, our destiny is in our own hands and we have the team, management and support to deliver the results that will show the rest a clean pair of heels.