Relegation form, but any risk of relegation?

I’m writing this on Sunday night after losing away at Wycombe 3-1 on Saturday and before we play away at Tranmere on Tuesday. Therefore this could all be proven wrong by the time you are reading it!

Ben Garner is still searching for his first win as Rovers boss. Our form since he took the reigns has been awful, taking just four points from our last 10 league games. This is relegation form in anyone’s book. However thanks to the amazing first half of the season under Graham Coughlan we sit 13th with 16 points between us and Tranmere in 21st.

So considering the form we’re in, and that there is still a decent chunk of the season still to play, should we be worried about relegation? I decided to run the numbers.

I wanted to start off by looking at the points tally historically needed to stay up. In the last three seasons 51 points has been enough to guarantee safety with 50 being enough in the last three seasons:

2018/19

19. Southend United         46 14 8 24 55-68 50
20.AFC Wimbledon           46 13 11 22 42-63 50
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21.Plymouth Argyle         46 13 11 22 56-80 50   Relegated

2017/18

19.Walsall                 46 13 13 20 53-66 52
20.Rochdale                46 11 18 17 49-57 51
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21.Oldham Athletic         46 11 17 18 58-75 50   Relegated

2016/17

19.Bury                    46 13 11 22 61-73 50
20.Gillingham              46 12 14 20 59-79 50
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21.Port Vale               46 12 13 21 45-70 49   Relegated

That would mean we need to get another 13 points to be certain of safety. That’s four wins and a draw in the 15 games we have remaining. However there are six less points available this season with Bury going out of business and an unusual situation with Bolton pretty much being relegated already. Frustratingly Bolton have taken four points from us this season which is a whopping 36% of their points tally.

So I’ve decided to take the points per game average for the last 10 games for Rovers and the three teams currently occupying the relegation places and then use that to predict the points total at the end of the season for each team:

Bristol Rovers league position
The relegation zone

Over the last 10 games here is how many points per game (PPG) each team has won:

Rovers 0.4
Tranmere 0.5
Southend 1
Bolton 0.9

If we take the PPG and multiply it by the games remaining then we have the following points total for each team

Rovers (15 games left) – 6
Tranmere (15 games left) –  7.5 – Round up to 8
Southend (15 games left) – 15
Bolton (17 games left) –  15.3 – Round down to 15

This gives us a points total of

Rovers – 44
Tranmere – 30
Southend – 31
Bolton – 26

My incredibly unscientific maths puts us well clear of the relegation battle. However there are a TON of assumptions in here and it’s only based on the form in the last 10 games. I’d also add the caveat that stats only give part of the picture, based on the stats alone we should have battered Wycombe Saturday but we lost 3-1.

We have a pretty crucial game against Tranmere at Prenton Park on Tuesday. If we lose there it gives them a lifeline, if we win it will get that monkey off Garners back. Momentum is a big thing in football and ours is heading in the wrong direction at the moment. A win, however it comes, will hopefully turn that around for us.

I’m going into Tuesday’s game optimistic. I’ve seen some flashes of the team Ben wants us to be. The opening 30 minutes against Coventry were excellent, we created some brilliant chances against Wycome, dominated Bolton. The signs are there for us.

We just need that first win to kick start the Garner revolution!