Last season Blackburn; Wigan and Rotherham all did it, and both Sunderland and Barnsley are in a strong position to do it this season, but if Ipswich Town are to follow suit and bounce back from relegation to League One at the first attempt, then results like Saturday’s 1-1 draw at West Brom could prove vital.
With the Tractor Boys twelve points from safety and just ten games remaining, many observers appear to have written off any chance of survival for Paul Lambert’s side. The likelihood is that those inside the club are also preparing for a first campaign in the third tier since the 1950s, and they would do well to stress the importance of on the pitch results to that preparation as well.
If Ipswich are to go down, then the importance of going down fighting to confidence and momentum when they pick up in League One could be crucial, and they didn’t have to look very far on Saturday to see an example of that.
Saturday’s stalemate may have unexpectedly cost Darren Moore his job in the West Brom dugout, but the impressive end to their ultimately doomed Premier League campaign last season did at least allow him to give them a start in the Championship that means his successor could yet achieve the club’s aim of an immediate return to the top tier.
Contrast that with Stoke and Swansea, who both dropped out of the top tier without little more than a whimper, and despite expectations, have barely challenged for the playoffs, let alone automatic promotion.
Another key factor in Ipswich’s hopes of an immediate will be keeping hold of and attracting new players to the club.
With a number of first team regulars out of contract at the end of the season, coming up with the sort of results that will show Ipswich have the potential to bounce back will be key in keeping a squad together for next season, and who knows, this season isn’t mathematically over yet.