YORK City need to pick up another 12 points from a possible 39 to secure their Football League status.
That is the conclusion that can be drawn after scrutinising the 31 seasons that have been played under the three-points-for-a-win system, which was introduced during the 1981/82 season.
Since then, no team with 50 points has finished in the bottom two of what is now League Two and has, in the past, been the old Third and Fourth Division.
Indeed, City’s hosts today Oxford United remain the one side to have been relegated to the Conference on 49 points following the implementation of the current two-up, two-down system in 2002/03.
Aside from Oxford, meanwhile, Carlisle (1998/99), Halifax (1989/90) and Doncaster (1988/89) are the only other clubs to have filled the Football League’s 91st position having ended their campaigns one point short of half-a-century.
Such a study would suggest, therefore, that it must be an almost mathematical impossibility for any side to finish second-bottom of a 24-team division with 50 points.
My maths GCSE ‘A’ grade, secured in 1990, sadly has not equipped me to make a more definitive analysis.
We did, however, cover averages at Campsmount Comprehensive and, with the aid of a mobile phone calculator (nobody had that luxury back then, although we did have an England team capable of reaching the World Cup semi-finals), it becomes clearer that, if the season follows a typical pattern, even fewer points might be required to ensure survival.
Taking the ten seasons that have been played with two Football League sides being relegated and discounting point deductions, 44.6 has been the average number of points acquired by the team ending 23rd in the fourth tier of the English game.
In fact, during three campaigns, the Minstermen would have stayed up with their return of 44 points from the sorry 2003/04 season.
Even those supporters, who share City boss Gary Mills’ pint half-full persuasion, would struggle to make a case for the team reaching the play-offs now however.
If the maximum requirement was needed to secure a top-seven spot, based on the 23 seasons of 46-game tables since the play-offs were brought in, then the Minstermen would still be two points short of Wycombe’s haul of 79 in 2007/08 even if they won every match between now and season’s end.
The average number of points to finish seventh in that time of 71 would also mean Mills’ team must collect 33 from 39 up to and including the final day at Dagenham & Redbridge.
In a best-case scenario and, looking back through the history books that is provided with seventh-placed Lincoln City’s tally of 66 in 2005/06, then this season’s side would still need to drop just 11 points during the rest of the term.
DANIEL Parslow has moved a point closer to The Press Player of the Year leader Chris Smith.
City’s former Welsh Under-21 international is now three behind Smith after collecting a point as our third-highest rated player during the 2-1 home defeat to Barnet last weekend.
The other points went to The Press man-of-the-match Jack O’Connell (three) and John McGrath (two) – our second-highest rated player.
O’Connell is now the outright leader of The Press Player of the Month contest for February with Matty Blair collecting the two bonus points on offer towards those standings after receiving the most man-of-the-match votes from visitors to our website.
To be in with a shot of presenting February’s Player of the Month with their award – a framed photograph – before a City home game, send us your man-of-the-match choice for today’s game against Oxford or Tuesday’s at Rotherham.
You can also tweet your choice to @daveflettpress
The Press Player of the Year latest standings (not including Player of the Month bonus points): C Smith 25 points, Ingham 22, Parslow 22, Blair 17, Walker 16, Chambers 14, Fyfield 14, Kearns 12, Kerr 11, McGurk 9, O’Connell 9, Coulson 7, Oyebanjo 7, McLaughlin 6, Potts 6, Carlisle 5, J Smith 5, Doig 3, McGrath 3, Reed 3, Blanchett 2, Obeng 2, Rankine 2, Rodman 2, Taylor 2, Challinor 1, Johnson 1.
The Press Player of the Month for February standings: O’Connell 7, Parslow 5, Rodman 4, Ingham 3, Kerr 3, McGrath 3, Blair 2, Obeng 2, Rankine 2, Walker 1.
Goals: Walker 9, Chambers 8, Blair 5, Coulson 5, McLaughlin 4, Reed 4, own goals 3, Potts 3, Parslow 1, Rodman 1, C Smith 1.
Assists: Walker 7, Chambers 5, J Smith 5, Blair 4, C Smith 4, Kearns 3, McLaughlin 3, Carlisle 2, Coulson 2, Parslow 2, Rodman 2, Challinor 1, Fyfield 1, Kerr 1, McGrath 1, Reed 1.
Bad boys: Chambers, C Smith both 4 yellow cards; Kerr 1 red, 2 yellow; Fyfield 3 yellow; Ingham, McLaughlin, Parslow, Potts all 2 yellow; Carlisle, Challinor, Coulson, Doig, Johnson, McGurk, Oyebanjo, J Smith, Walker all 1 yellow.