Facts are: Town are in the mire

STRIPPED to the bone, here are the bare statistics of what Ipswich Town must achieve to avoid relegation.

Carl Marston

Ipswich soccer (to go with fact-file)

By Carl Marston

STRIPPED to the bone, here are the bare statistics of what Ipswich Town must achieve to avoid relegation.

To be virtually certain of retaining their Championship status, they need to accumulate a final total of 53 points.

That means finding a further 46 points from the remaining 33 games, which amounts to an average of 1.4 points per fixture. At the moment, with just seven points from 13 fixtures, Roy Keane's men are averaging just 0.54 points per game.

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Effectively, then, Town need to be winning one in every two games between now and the end of the season, to stay up.

That is the worst scenario, because whereas Leicester City went down with 52 points in 2008, four other teams during the last 10 years have stayed up with 49 points - Hull, Rotherham, Crystal Palace and West Brom.

There is no doubt that if Town lose at second-from-bottom Plymouth on Saturday, then they are well and truly embroiled in a relegation fight.

On the other hand, anyone who was at Portman Road on Tuesday night, for the cruel 1-1 draw against Watford, cannot hope but have been impressed with Town - the exception of being the poor finishing in front of goal, and the slack defending for Nathan Ellington's 94th minute equaliser.

You were again left with the feeling that one win, and Town could go on a run. All the frustrations would ebb away.

So if Ipswich do manage to leapfrog Plymouth by recording their first victory at the 14th attempt, then a slow climb up the table could be on the cards.

Which brings me to the second part of this statistical overview. As preposterous as it might sound at present, what would Town need to make the play-offs?

The figures are daunting. Bolton finished sixth with 76 points to reach the play-offs in 2000, although Watford only needed 70 two season ago. On that basis, I have taken a middle-of-the-road figure of 73 as the target.

That would require Town to pocket another 66 points from their last 33 games, which quite conveniently works out at two points per game.

This amounts to four points every two games - the classic scenario of winning at home and drawing away.

For the moment, this is a pipedream.

Best to concentrate on achieving target No. 1, which is avoiding the drop, starting with a positive result at Plymouth.