On February 24th, we were on the wrong end of a 2-0 defeat against Barnsley at home. Fast forward two months later to April 24th and the Tykes’ 3-0 loss to Nottingham Forest means we are within touching distance of safety; five points ahead of our rivals in the battle to avoid the drop.
A lot has happened at our club between those two results. The decision to get rid of Steve Cotterill and bring in Garry Monk has been vindicated many times over, and although I am not counting my chickens quite yet, we are so near to keeping our Championship status.
I won’t look too far forward about what we could achieve under our current manager but the signs are there that we do have a very positive future under him if he continues in the role.
I must admit when speculation grew at the beginning of March about replacing Cotterill, I wasn’t too convinced that the former Leeds and Middlesbrough boss would be open to a move to the Blues. It’s not that we don’t have a similar stature to the teams he previously managed, but we were in such dire straits, I thought he might have seen it as a hiding to nothing.
Really though, I shouldn’t have questioned the man’s readiness for taking on a challenge. He took on the job with a huge amount of gusto, and it must be said, the turnaround we have witnessed since his arrival has been much to do with his force of personality than anything else.
Convincing players is one thing, but to get a dispirited fanbase onside in a matter of weeks was really quite special. Playing a positive brand of football definitely helped, but also his utterances in interviews and tweets galvanised the club, which never seemed possible under Cotterill.
Of course, I want to see us get over the line with a win against QPR first, but if we do manage to get the points needed, we could survive with a game to spare. Two months ago, that certainly looked a long way off. Another great escape was always a possibility, but the way Monk has pulled this team out of the mire has been great to see.