Bristol City's Liam Kelly predicts a surprise in battle for Championship survival
Bristol City midfielder Liam Kelly believes the battle for npower Championship survival could yet turn out to be a tale of the unexpected.
What appeared to be a five-way contest to avoid the drop at Christmas, has since broadened out into something altogether different.
The improved form shown by Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich, Barnsley, Peterborough and even bottom club City has dragged other clubs into trouble and any three of eight or nine sides are now under threat.
Huddersfield, Wolves and Birmingham are especially at risk, while the likes of Bolton and Blackpool cannot consider themselves safe as the sides at the bottom continue to pick up points.
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"I think there could definitely be a surprise at the end of the season," said Kelly, who joined City's fight against the drop from Kilmarnock in January.
"It looked as though it was going to be a case of perm any three from five teams not so long ago. But the form shown by those five has changed everything.
"Quite a few bigger clubs, who probably thought they were safe, are now being dragged back into trouble and that has to be good for us. The more teams involved, the better."
Although City are currently six points adrift of safety at the foot of the table, Kelly insists their recent improved record at Ashton Gate offers hope of a dramatic escape.
The Robins take on fellow strugglers Barnsley on Saturday in search of a fourth successive home win under new head coach Sean O'Driscoll.
Kelly said: "Our home form holds the key to staying up. Those three wins over Ipswich, Watford and Nottingham Forest have kept us in there fighting and we need to keep the home form going.
"If we can do that against Barnsley, it will give us a chance for sure."