History points to high five
Reporter: Matthew Chambers
Date online: 14 March 2013
FIVE wins between now and the end of the season WILL keep Athletic safe from the drop — if the past decade is anything to go by.
The evidence points to the strong likelihood that 15 points from the last 11 games will be enough to guarantee League One football at Boundary Park.
Of all the teams relegated to the bottom-tier from League One in the previous decade, only Torquay in 2004-05 bettered the 50 points generally assumed to be enough to maintain safety.
That was the same season Athletic only retained League One status in the final game with a 2-1 win against Bradford at a relieved Boundary Park.
Since then, flirtations with relegation have been somewhat less fraught. Despite poor form towards the end of last season, the 44 points needed were quite comfortably banked.
A tougher, tighter battle against the drop seems to be brewing this time.
Gillingham, Hartlepool and Grimsby all gained 50 points in the last decade but still went down — which shows how much work Athletic may still have to do.
The tightest finish of recent years was in 2005-06. Both Hartlepool and MK Dons dropped despite gaining 50 points. Behind them, bottom club Walsall gad 47 points — which would have seen them safe in last year.
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