Paul Goodwin: One more win should avoid potentially cruel twist of fate

James Husband and Reece Wabara try to clear water off the pitch at Charlton. Photo: Steve Uttley.
James Husband and Reece Wabara try to clear water off the pitch at Charlton. Photo: Steve Uttley.

Beat Reading and you could be safe; the motivation for Saturday could not be more straightforward.

Granted, that’s a lot easier said than done. Rovers have not beaten the Royals in their last 12 attempts.

But the carrot of potentially being safe by 5pm on Saturday, and avoiding any final day drama at champions elect Leicester City, should drive Paul Dickov’s men on this weekend. Victory could also avoid what would be a cruel twist of fate too.

Rovers will only be mathematically safe if two results go their way this weekend. They must beat Reading and third bottom Blackpool must lose at Wigan.

It’s all ifs, buts and maybes, of course. And the permutations at the bottom are endless. But Rovers are still in a position in which they can look after themselves, and one more win in all likelihood will see them safe. Anything less, and their poor goal difference could come into play.

The bottom two now need a miracle to escape. Yeovil will be relegated on Friday night if they fail to win at Brighton, and Barnsley will follow them through the trap door if they lose at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Above the bottom two, however, it’s less than clear cut as five teams bid to avoid the chop from the Championship.

And there is one particular purmutation, involving Charlton, that will bring Rovers fans out in a cold sweat.

Charlton’s comeback win at Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend means there is now a real chance that the Addicks could be mathematically safe by the time they go to Blackpool on the final day - and those three points that slipped away from Doncaster at a rain-drenched Valley would have played no small part in that feat.

If Charlton were to ensure survival by winning their game in hand at home to Watford next Tuesday, there’s every chance their minds will be on the beach by the time they go to Bloomfield Road. That would be a nightmare scenario for Rovers. Doncaster’s get out of jail card, should Blackpool take advantage of that worst case scenario, is that Millwall have two tough remaining games against QPR and Bournemouth, and bungling Birmingham have lost three on the spin since winning at the Keepmoat.

But, while it’s tempting to rely on favours, and the mathematics of the situation mean Rovers fans will have more than a passing interest on the game at the DW Stadium on Saturday, Rovers have no choice but to do the business themselves.

And to be on the safe side, one more win - be it this weekend or next - now looks like an absolute must.