PREVIEW: Bristol City vs Brighton
Paul Anderson is convinced Bristol City will require a minimum tally of 50 points f they are to retain their npower Championship status at the end of this season.
Although the Robins averted the threat of relegation with 49 points last year, the current battle for Championship survival is fast turning out to be an altogether more competitive affair.
If the struggle to finish outside of the bottom three was made easier by the financial constraints that weakened Portsmouth, Coventry and Doncaster 12 months ago, there appear to be now weak links this time around.
City may have improved since Sean O’Driscoll took over as head coach in January, accruing 13 points from nine games, but the form shown by fellow strugglers Peterborough, Barnsley, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich means the Robins go into tonight’s home game against promotion-chasing Brighton lodged firmly at the foot of the table.
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Winger Anderson and his colleagues have 11 games remaining in which to reach safety and the former Nottingham Forest star reckons a further five wins will be needed.
He told The Post: “My personal opinion is that it is going to take a minimum 50 points to stay up this year.
“It’s usually a bit less than that and last year it slumped a bit because there were a few teams that really struggled.
“But everybody is beating everybody else this year and we have seen the likes of Peterborough and Sheffield Wednesday go away from home and beat the top clubs.
“There have been a lot of unexpected results and all the teams around us have been winning.
“When that happens, it raises the bar for everyone and we are going to need at least 50 points if we are going to be safe.
“Hopefully, we can get out of it and, if we don’t, then we will know we have given it our all. We’re all desperate to get out of the position we are in.”
City have won their last four games at Ashton Gate and the team’s home form will very likely determine which division they are playing in next season.
Notwithstanding the difficulty of taking points off a Brighton side that has proved a thorn in City flesh in recent times, Anderson speaks of a real conviction to survive within the dressing room.
He explained: “There is a firm belief within the squad that we are good enough to take points off anyone in the league and, hopefully, we can do that this week.
“We have really tough games against Brighton and Middlesbrough, but then come up against a lot of the teams around us in the league table.
“You don’t have to win every game and draws are very important in this league as well. You just have to keep clocking up the points steadily and build momentum.”
City claimed their first point on the road at Blackpool on Saturday and Anderson added: “If you can take away draws, it keeps you rolling and keeps the points ticking up.
“Our home form has been excellent and we need to keep that going until the end of the season. I’ve said for as long as I’ve been in football that you have to win your home games and then pick up the odd point away if you want to be successful.2