This Saturday I shall be sat in front of the telly to enjoy the final day of the Championship season with a cold drink and snacks to one side of me, and a rented mathematician on the other.
The numbers are positively mind-boggling when trying to figure out the various implications of wins, losses and draws, with automatic promotion, relegation and play-off places still up for grabs.
There is no stadium that will be more confused than the City Ground, where Nottingham Forest entertain Leicester City, with both aiming to sneak into the final play-off reckoning.
Right, here goes…
The home side will have their eye on how Bolton Wanderers get on at home to Blackpool, as well as hoping Crystal Palace slip up at Selhurst Park against relegation battlers Peterborough United.
Forest currently sit level on points with the Trotters, but with a worse goal difference by three, and are two points behind Palace.
The Foxes cannot catch the Eagles (unless they fly really low), but are just two points behind Bolton. Simply put for Nigel Pearson’s men, they must beat Forest and hope that Bolton lose their Lancashire derby.
An advantage for Billy Davies’ side is that they only need one of Bolton or Palace to slip up, as long as they do the job against their fierce east Midlands rivals.
Forest have had an up and down season, with three managers in the form of Sean O’Driscoll, Alex McLeish and Davies guiding them to the edge of the play-off zone.
They have won less than half of their home games in 2012/13 (10 from 22) but have only been beaten four times at the City Ground in the Championship all campaign.
However, since Davies returned to his former stamping ground, the Reds have gone seven home games undefeated, with three wins and four draws.
A recent run of four points from a possible 18 seemed to have extinguished their shot at promotion, but a win at Millwall last time out dragged them back into contention.
Forest could still make the play-offs with a draw, but won’t want to take any chances and look good value to put away Leicester at odds of 27/20.
Only Brighton and Hove Albion have drawn more games than Forest this season, with 16 stalemates from their 45 outings so far.
The Foxes have tied more games away from home than they have won, with seven from 22, and drew 2-2 with Forest in the reverse fixture back in January.
With the Nottingham side’s last three home games ending all square, it would be no surprise if this one ends the same way at odds of 9/4, which would probably mean neither side making the play-offs.
Only three teams in the Championship have a better goal difference than Leicester, who started the season like a house on fire.
They have fallen away drastically since January, though, and have only picked up one win from their last 12 games.
However, this is the last-chance saloon for Pearson’s men and with the fact that they are up against fierce rivals thrown into the equation, don’t discount a plucky away win at 19/10.
But that said, I’m sticking my neck on the line by predicting that this will be a win for Forest, although I don’t think it’ll be enough for them to leap ahead of Bolton or Palace.
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