Peter Coates reckons Stoke City will avoid relegation if they can collect four more points.
A 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday hammered home the fact that the Potters are facing a battle for survival this season. Having won just once since Boxing Day, Tony Pulis’ side are now just three points above the relegation zone with six games remaining.
However, Coates remains optimistic that they will avoid slipping into the Championship. With as many as ten teams still uncertain of their safety, the Stoke chairman has revealed his opinion that another four points would be enough for them to clinch survival.
“I suspect 38 points will do it,” he told thisisstaffordshire.co.uk. “But certainly a couple of wins and you are OK because 40 points will absolutely do it. It’s up to us now to get enough points to stay in the Premier League. We’ve got as good a chance as anybody else and it’s up to us to see it through because no-one does you any favours. When I look at the fixtures I believe there are points out there for us, but it’s up to us to get going on a run.”
Last season Stoke may have avoided the drop with a comfortable margin of nine points, yet their haul of just 36 goals was the worst in the division. And this is a problem they clearly failed to address in the summer, as their current total of 28 is again the lowest of all 20 sides.
Jonathan Walters and Peter Crouch have just 11 goals between them from a combined total of 60 appearances. Michael Owen joined when he left Manchester United at the end of last season, but he has contributed just one goal in what has been a disappointing spell in which to end his career. Cameron Jerome and Kenwyne Jones, who have been used largely as substitutes, have scored three each, the same number Michael Kightly has chipped in from midfield.
Runaway leaders Manchester United visit the Britannia on Sunday afternoon, and four of their remaining fixtures are against teams also struggling at the wrong end of the table: Queens Park Rangers (away), Norwich City (home), Sunderland (away) and, after they welcome Tottenham Hotspur, a trip to Southampton awaits on the final day of the season.