Realistically, this is probably better than any of us could have thought. Worryingly, perhaps, the final three games see us take on three of the big six, with two games away from home.
So, how should David Wagner set out his stall? After the last two games against the other newly promoted sides, who both sit above us in the table, I have no doubts.
We have to go out in every game with a mind-set of getting into our opponents faces when they have the ball, and using it effectively when we have it.
The Newcastle United performance crystallised an opinion I’ve held for most of the season – our system and players are not equipped to set out to simply nullify an opponent and hope to feed on scraps and half chances.
I cannot remember winning a point in any game this season with a passive approach of trying to soak up pressure while letting the opponents have the ball.
Our best performances, bar none, and the ones that have earned us 32 points from 33 games, are those where we have been aggressive and had some attacking intent.
Let’s look at the opposition – Watford visit this Saturday; we put four past them at Vicarage Road and their away form is, frankly, awful. In 2018 they’ve scored once away, drawing one game and losing five. I believe we need to start the game aggressively and put in the kind of performance we last saw at home to AFC Bournemouth.
We then entertain Everton, who are safe with Big Sam having done the job he was hired to do but rumblings of discontent among the fans persist and rumours of a change of manager won’t go away. They also have a poor away record. In fact, they’ve won one fewer game on the road than we have and have only scored one more than us on the road, and our goal scoring record has been woeful on the road, especially if you remove our visits to Crystal Palace and Watford from the equation.
We then travel to Manchester City, who will have won the league by then and events of the last week show them to be vulnerable to an effective pressing game. This if followed by the re-arranged Chelsea fixture, and they may well have a Cup Final on the horizon, which is Conte’s only hope of success this season.
Finally, we entertain Arsenal on the final day. Hopefully we won’t need anything from the game, but if we do a full stadium and bouncing atmosphere could lend itself to us not losing the game.
Of course, I could easily look at each of these fixtures and argue we’ll fail to win any of the five and rely on others to maybe keep us safe. I don’t think that’s the case, but looking at the run-ins for Stoke City, Southampton, Brighton & Hove Albion, even Swansea City, we have cause for hope.
Ultimately, two good home performances with results to match, and we’re safe. Let’s reflect on that for a moment, and add in a thought for our vanquished Play-Off rivals last year.
Both Sheffield Wednesday and Reading have had comparatively awful seasons, changed their managers, and look a shadow of the teams we failed to beat in open play in three Play-Off matches last year. Reading are five points ahead of third bottom Barnsley, having played a game more – they’re not safe by any means.
When we reflect on this season in May, no matter what happens, we should count ourselves lucky and look at Wednesday and Reading, as there but for the grace of God go us.
Graeme has been a Town fan since the "Young Guns" promotion season 2003/4, and enjoys attending games with his father-in-law, Richard, and his eight-year-old son, Archie (who is regularly warned that "it won't always be this good" and reminded that "you don't know you're born, son").
Graeme is running this year's London Marathon to raise funds for Cancer Research in memory of his mum and to celebrate his wife beating cancer last year. If you want to sponsor him then visit his Just Giving Fundraising Page .