Barnsley and Peterborough results up the ante for Bristol City and Wolves
Results elsewhere in the npower Championship this week have thrown Saturday’s relegation battle between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bristol City into even sharper focus.
If supporters of both clubs were hoping Leeds United and Brighton and Hove Albion could do them favours by beating fellow strugglers Peterborough United and Barnsley respectively on Tuesday evening, they were left disappointed.
Out of the FA Cup and able to focus on the league once more, Barnsley beat the Seagulls 2-1 at Oakwell to register a win that lifted them out of the relegation zone at a stroke.
And Peterborough also improved their position, a 1-1 draw at Elland Road propelling them above Wolves and City on goal difference.
All of which means City are back on the bottom of the pile and Wolves, a Premier League club only last season, are just one place above them going into what could prove an absolutely crucial fixture at Molineux this weekend.
Of course, those with a vested interest in talking down the significance of a contest neither side can afford to lose, will speak in terms of it being just another game. And in a sense, it is. After all, three points is three points, no matter who the opposition.
But less us not kid ourselves either; events in the West Midlands on Saturday will undoubtedly have a profound influence on the landscape of the Championship basement.
Lose the game and either club could conceivably find themselves five points adrift of safety with only eight matches remaining.
While nothing will be decided one way or another on Saturday, victory will afford either side a much-needed psychological lift going into the two-week break for international matches.
Unbeaten in their last four outings, City are improving under Sean O’Driscoll. But they require the stimulus of tangible results if they are to maintain the belief that they can escape the drop and Saturday’s contest against opponents who are above them only by virtue of a superior goal difference, is one they cannot afford to lose.
If anything, Wolves are under even greater pressure, given that they have won just once in 11 games since Dean Saunders took over as manager in January and are bereft of confidence following a poor run of results that means the threat of back-to-back relegations looms large over a club in apparent turmoil.
Momentum is with the Robins at this moment in time and a first away win under head coach Sean O’Driscoll will serve to keep them in touch with those sides immediately above them in the table and further fuel the belief that they can perform a remarkable escape.
What do you think? Is this a must-win game for both sides or would a draw suffice for either one?