Seems we've already reached the "if" time where we spent hours wondering what's going to happen if who beats whom at the weekend ( although there are some people that are already whispering under their breath, if pigs could fly). And like that ghastly thing on eBay that you really must have for the wife's birthday and the auction ends in ten minutes with the bids climbing, so it seems that the clock is slowly ticking down on our Premiership life.
So to save us the trouble of using pencils and bits of paper we can thank the beeb this morning for its succinctness for laying it out very clearly for us - "Charlton will be relegated next Monday if two of Fulham, Wigan and West Ham win next Saturday and the Addicks fail to win. Charlton are also down if one of the three teams win, Fulham draw and the Addicks lose."
Not surprisingly after last weekend they already assume that we can't reach Sheff U who are 5 points clear of us with 2 games left. And after cheering Liverpool to victory last night over the Ruskies, with the bonus that they wouldn't be too interested in their last League game of the season, it then dawned on me that on Saturday the tired heroes of Anfield are away to Fulham...
Summing up then, after Villa and Man.City have got themselves sorted out, there's now only 6 teams in the s**t and with Watford already doomed its a choice of 2 from 5 for the remaining slots on the "Big R". The Addicks are on 33 points ( -24), West Ham 35 (-27), Wigan 35 (-22), Fulham 36 (-21) and Sheff U 38 (-19).
And Saturday afternoon sees all four of our opponents taking the field for their penultimate game. The three clubs nearest all play at home with the Hamsters taking on Sammy Lee's Bolton, Wigan hosting mid-table Middlesbrough, and Fulham playing Liverpool at the Cottage while Sheff U are away to Villa.
Ever optimistic, we only need to overtake 2 of the 4 and by far the worst performers recently have been Wigan and Fulham. Bearing in mind the old adage that teams can somehow "forget" how to win, Wigan have a record of only 3 wins in the last 21 games with none in the last 7, while Fulham are even worst with only 2 wins in the last 21 and none in the last 10. The Addicks in comparison have 5 wins in Pardews' 17 games in charge, although the bad news is, of course, that there's been no wins in the last 5 games.
But unfortunately for everyone down there its not all about Relegation and there's several teams trying to reach that pathetic dream that was offered us a few years back - Europe. Apparently, if anyone cares, three out of Bolton, Everton, Portsmouth, Tottenham and Reading will claim the coveted spots in the UEFA Cup next season and low and behold both the Hamsters and the Addicks are at home to 2 of them.
As for the Hamsters, Curbs has somehow galvanised his team recently, maybe Tevez has had something to do with it, they now have 5 wins in the last 7 games and increasingly look to be able to avoid the Big Drop. So don't be surprised if they achieve 3 points against a new-look Bolton with Number 2 Sammy Lee now in charge with Gary Speed as coach. Unfortunately for them they have to visit Old Trafford next week.
All that remains is for the Addicks to somehow, anyhow, lift themselves for one last push and grab a win over Spurs come Monday. Back in December at White Hot lane we had what will probably be the same back four come Monday - Young, El Karkouri, Diawara and Hreidarsson and we conceded 5! But at least the midfield now will be different. For that 5-1 defeat Sam, Kish, Faye and Hughes told the field, none of whom will be seen on Monday. The shame is that neither will that lidle Irish Fella. I think praying is in order..