Peterborough United have 12 games to save themselves from the drop to League Two.
A nine-point gap to the bottom four appears considerable, but Posh are playing so poorly it’s tough to see where the next point is coming from, never mind the next win.
Something can be salvaged from the wreckage of five straight League One defeats (the club record is eight) though and here are the Peterborough Telegraph’s helpful suggestions.
1) Pick a starting line-up and stick with it for a few games as far as it is possible. A minimum of five changes to the side has become the norm (many of them unforced) and it’s difficult to expect fluency and good form when that’s happening. Posh haven’t name an unchanged side since January 16.
Posh were at their best before Christmas playing a midfield diamond so the following team should be given a shot, providing they are all fit and well.
Smith, Baldwin, Bostwick, Toffolo
2)The above team is surely capable of picking up the six points or so Posh still need to stay up, if League One history proves to be a reliable guide. The average points required to finish just outside the bottom four over the last 10 years is 49. Last season though (and for two other seasons in the last decade) 51 points were required.
Posh must not be complacent about their task. They were relegated from the Championship with a record 54 points in 2013.
3) Play the kids like Leo Da Silva, and the rookies like Callum Chettle, if and when survival has been secured. Away games at places like Bury are not ideal for untried teenagers.
It’s unfair to put them under that much pressure.
4) Posh need to become a lot more streetwise. They are suffering at the hands of referees, and experienced players who know how to milk minor incidents.
Posh collected five yellow cards at Bury on Tuesday (March 1) whereas the home side picked up none despite regularly fouling Marcus Maddison.
Maddison needs to keep running forward and not stop when he feels a slight tug on his shirt. He has a reputation which is why officials ignore his regular bleating.
5) Stick with manager Graham Westley for the rest of the season at least. It would do no-one any good if he started to believe he was only one more defeat from the chop.
After Saturday’s trip to Wigan (March 5) Posh’s remaining fixtures don’t look too testing, but again complacency must be avoided.
Recent home matches against Oldham and Swindon didn’t look too taxing either and they were both lost.