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Swindon fan Nick Judd assesses the likliehood of the Robins earning automatic promotion to the Championship ahead of rivals Leeds, Millwall and Charlton
The key match this weekend is at The Valley, where Charlton Athletic take on Leeds United in a match that would have been a Premier League encounter only six years ago.
A Charlton victory is the only way Swindon or Millwall can realistically leapfrog Simon Grayson’s men.
Then the two face each other on the last day of the season at the New Den.
Personally, I think Swindon’s chance has gone after a disappointing few weeks in the hunt. A 3-0 win at Elland Road a month ago was followed by another 3-0 home win, against Tranmere, putting us second in the table for the first time this season.
Sadly, it appears as if we shot our bolt a tad early. Danny Wilson’s men have failed to win since!
It looked like another curious case of ‘second-place syndrome’.
Leeds fell spectacularly out of form after being overtaken by Norwich at the top. Before their recent run of four wins in the last five games, they won just three games in 15 following that FA Cup victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Before Leeds returned to form, Millwall went second for five minutes only to draw at Yeovil and lose away at Huddersfield. Swindon seized the opportunity before we suffered our own fall from grace.
First came a 3-0 tonking at Colchester, then three nervy draws against Exeter, Walsall and Wycombe. Curiously, we drew with all three during our last blip, when we drew five games in a row earlier in the season.
It looks as though no-one wants to go up automatically!
Nerves certainly seem to have been our downfall. Our last three games have been encapsulated by the jitters.
“There is a bit of anxiety there because everybody wants to win. And sometimes wanting to win so badly can have an adverse effect on you,” explained Wilson after our 1-1 bore draw with Walsall.
“Not only do you take an extra touch, sometimes you try the killer ball that isn’t on, you give away possession too much and overplay in key areas.”
So, with two games to go, it’s in Leeds’ hands. Everyone was writing them off, but they’ve come back and put themselves within two wins of a return to the Championship.
Still, there’s hope yet. Charlton are good at home, winning 13 of 22 – the third best record in the division. I’ll be clutching at that straw this weekend, as I’m sure Millwall fans will too.
A winner-takes-all encounter at the New Den would be a fitting way to finish what has been a scintillating campaign for both clubs.
Come on the Addicks!
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