Why Bristol City boss must increase his win ratio
BRISTOL City manager Derek McInnes will have to significantly improve his win ratio if he is to keep the team in the npower Championship this season.
Under pressure in the wake of a seven-match losing streak that saw the Robins slip to the bottom of the table, the Scot last week received public backing from club owner Steve Lansdown.
Last Saturday's 1-1 draw against Blackpool stopped the rot, averting an unwanted club-record eighth consecutive league defeat and lifting City off the bottom and above fellow strugglers Peterborough United.
Yet, McInnes knows only a return to winning ways will keep the Robins in the second tier and, if that is to happen, City must achieve the kind of points return that has proved beyond them since Gary Johnson was sacked as manager in March 2010.
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Based on figures taken from the last five seasons in the Championship, the probability is that City will require a minimum of 45 points to avoid a return to League One.
City have accrued just 12 points from 17 games this season and will, in all likelihood, need to muster a further 33 from their remaining 29 fixtures if they are to retain their Championship status.
For that target to be met, McInnes must preside over a higher percentage of victories than he has managed during 13 months at the helm.
The former St Johnstone boss has taken charge of 51 games since succeeding Keith Millen in October last year, presiding over 12 wins, 13 draws and 26 defeats. His win ratio to date is 23.52 per cent.
Millen stepped into the breach when Steve Coppell stunned City by resigning after just two games at the helm in August 2010 and was sacked 14 months later following a poor start to the 2011-12 campaign.
But his record was actually better than that of his successor, the Londoner taking charge of 56 games, 18 of which resulted in victories. His win ratio at the time of his departure stood at 32.04 per cent.
The task confronting McInnes after a third of the season is demanding to say the least.
Not only must he better Millen's win ratio if he is to keep City up, he will very likely have to emulate that achieved by Gary Johnson, one of the club's most successful post-war managers.
Appointed manager following Brian Tinnion's resignation in September 2005, Johnson won automatic promotion from League One 18 months later and then took City to the Championship play-off final at Wembley the following season.
His win ratio after 242 games in charge stood at a healthy 37.44 per cent, similar to what will be required between now and the end of this season if McInnes is to guide the club to safety.
Of course, none of this is an exact science and draws will no doubt have to be factored into any assessment of City's requirements during the final 29 games. So too, will the performance of those clubs at the wrong end of the table.
Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson stated publicly this week that his team must win 13 more games to guarantee Championship football next season.
But it could be fewer if last season is anything to go by. Portsmouth finished 22nd and were relegated with 40 points.
Then again, Leicester accrued 52 points in 2007-08 and still slipped through the relegation trapdoor.
In all of this, there is only one certainty – if McInnes presides over another great escape and leads City to safety, he will deserve to still be in charge next May and Lansdown's judgment will have been shown to be correct.