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Those old playoff Blues....

Those old playoff Blues....

Zero points from a possible six; an average of 1.4 points per game during this season.

Birmingham City`s automatic promotion place is no longer in their hands. They are now reliant upon either Sunderland or Derby crashing during their own run-ins.

Although the Rams have faltered a little in the last few weeks, Keano`s Cats have the impetus of the proverbial train and it`s difficult to see them dropping many points before May 6th.

A haul of 12 goals in the last 14 games is hardly the sort of scoring record that will stand them in good stead for promotion, particularly with teams like Southampton making a late rush for a chance at the road to Wembley.

Even the three points from the game in hand against Leicester, to be played on April 17th, will still only put Blues within one point of second-placed Derby. Within the space of three days the fans have seen their hopes dwindle from promotion probability to miss-out misery - a feeling they have known all too well in the last ten years.

The statisticians have played with the figures many times since the playoff system came into being, but the sad fact is that the team placed third is rarely the one that finds their way to the Premiership via the playoffs; the dents to confidence and morale are usually too great and they exit at the first or second stage, often suffering the loss of key players at the end of the season.

Many times this season, Blues have stepped up to the plate against lower-table opposition and failed - miserably on one or two occasions. With the defeat at Barnsley on Easter Monday, they have now lost to every one of the current bottom five teams. This now seems to be coming back to haunt them.

A playoff place is now their most likely fate - provided, of course, that their form does not continue in the vein of Easter weekend, or they could conceivably struggle to retain sixth place.

It could be said that Birmingham have flattered to deceive for long periods this season. Despite the funds given to Steve Bruce to rebuild his team, particularly at the front, they still have not been free-scoring apart from their purple patch in November and December.

It`s also not the time for the Board to wheel out the usual mantra of lack of support being the problem. Saturday`s game was played to a capacity crowd and over 7,000 made the trip to Barnsley and were behind the team throughout, only voicing their displeasure after the final whistle - when most of the players were more concerned getting themselves involved with the display of handbags by Bendtner and Kay.

Despite all the changes, all the rhetoric and all the promises of a new tomorrow, something is still rotten in the state of St Andrew`s.

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Writer:
Date:Tuesday April 10 2007
Time: 12:33PM

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