It was the first time he had set foot on British soil in 20 years. And after a whistle stop tour in which he caught three Brentford victories in 10 days, Reggie ‘Tallahassee Bee’ Grant felt the need to assure himself, and all Bees fans, from his perch in Florida that promotion is just around the corner.
Brentford fans think 92. As in 92 points, the magic number I believe Brentford needs to assure itself automatic promotion via the No. 2 slot.
I traveled 5,000 miles from Florida in early March and was perfect in my attendance-to-win ratio (3-for-3).
Bradford, Tranmere, and Leyton Orient victories — all wins that I predicted accurately — prove that I am clairvoyant on all things Bees.
With that said, since I returned to the USA, I felt the need to analyze what lies ahead in order for Brentford move up and avoid the possibility of the dreaded playoff.
First of all, let me say that with Wolves playing so well they are going to be near impossible to catch. They are now 6 points in front and, even though Brentford has a game in hand, Wolves have only dropped 5 points in the last 14 matches (a loss to Crawley 2-1 and a scoreless draw against Shrewsbury). Barring a late-season meltdown, Wolves will win the league.
That leaves second place, where Brentford is now and looks to stay. The Bees extended its lead over 3rd place Leyton Orient to four points. Leyton Orient has only earned 2 points in its last four matches, which includes a 1-0 loss at home to the Bees.
That is hardly an encouraging scenario for Orient fans leading up to their matchup against Sheffield United this Saturday.
But, even if Leyton Orient is in the midst of a late-season freefall, there are two teams steaming up the table, ready to leapfrog into 3rd place.
Those teams are Rotherham and Preston, both of whom are one point behind Leyton Orient and are posing a serious threat to Brentford’s goal of finishing 2nd in the table.
Rotherham has won seven of its last 10 and has not lost since New Years Day, a 3-1 loss to Coventry. They have seven matches remaining with Sheffield United scheduled on April 8 and Wolves on April 18.
Preston is tied for 4th with Rotherham, but has played one more match. Other than an April 18 date with Brentford, Preston’s schedule looks to be easier than any of the other teams in contention for automatic promotion.
Brentford has its work cut out with games against Sheffield United, Swindon, and Preston. Preston may become a must-win (or must not lose) game for the Bees considering their opponent’s relatively easy schedule.
Rotherham may not be able to keep up its momentum with its difficult late-season fixtures.
Either way, I think 92 is it. If Brentford makes it to 92 points, I think it’s academic.
Then, Leyton Orient would need to get 16 points out of its last six matches, including opponents such as Wolves, Sheffield United and Franchise FC aka MK Dons. A difficult one.
Rotherham would need 17points from its last seven matches. They are scheduled to play Wolves, Sheffield United, MK Dons, Swindon and Port Vale. Not likely.
Preston would also need 17 points from its remaining six games. Three of those games are against teams in the relegation zone (Carlisle, Crewe and Shrewsbury). The stiffest competition Preston has to play is Brentford.
Beat Preston, and it’s a six-point swing for the Bees and three points closer to the magic number.
92. Write it down.