Birmingham City manager Lee Bowyer has warned his players that they still have work to do to secure their survival and suggested that they will know more about their situation this week after Rotherham United’s games.
The Blues picked up their third successive win at St Andrews since Bowyer took over as manager on Saturday with a vital 2-0 win against Stoke City. The three points were enough to move Birmingham up to 18th place in the table. While following Rotherham’s goalless draw at fellow strugglers Huddersfield Town, they are now nine points clear of the drop with five to play.
However, Rotherham still have four matches in hand on the Blues to claw back some of those points. The Millers are set for a hectic week which will see them play QPR on Tuesday and Coventry City on Thursday. Those two matches both come ahead of their potentially crucial meeting with Birmingham next Sunday and the table could look a lot different by then.
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Speaking to Birmingham Live, Bowyer insisted that the Blues should not think they have already done the job with their being so much football left to play. While he revealed he plans to attend Rotherham’s game against Coventry on Thursday and that he will know more about his side’s position after the Millers two games in mid-week.
He said: “We are not safe. There’s a lot of football to go, loads of points, 15 to play for, that’s a lot.
“We are only nine in front of them and they have got four games in hand. And we have got to play them – that’s our next game.
“We have got to get our rest right now and get ready for next weekend because it is going to be a tough game.
“We have given ourselves a chance – that’s all we can ask for. If we keep putting performances in like that and keep picking up points then we should be OK but we can’t come off what’s getting us to this situation.
“I will be going to the Coventry game – I will go and watch that live. That will be half their games in hand before we play them, we will have more of an idea of what’s what.”
You can fully understand why Bowyer is wanting to be cautious at the moment considering the position the Blues were in when he took over as manager. He is experienced enough to realise that it is never over in terms of a relegation battle until you are mathematically over the line to safety. Birmingham, therefore, still have a lot of work to do to get over the line
However, they now have the cushion of knowing the likes of Coventry, Derby County and Huddersfield are below them in the table in case Rotherham start to make up the ground on them. Bowyer is right that the Millers’ results over the next week will go a long way to suggesting how comfortable or otherwise they are ahead of their meeting with them next weekend.
Were Rotherham to pick up six points in mid-week it would put a lot of pressure back onto the two side’s meeting next weekend. However, conversely were the Millers not pick up many points then the Blues could be a little more relaxed heading into the match.