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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 February 2006, 18:46 GMT
Take it as Reading
By Dan Warren

One would certainly not accuse Reading boss Steve Coppell of being over-optimistic.

Reading boss Steve Coppell
Coppell will not have to work out the probability of promotion for long
His Reading side are sweeping all before them this season, yet the former England midfielder refuses to accept that his side are destined for the Premiership.

Coppell has famously said he refuses to look at the league table - and even after drawing 1-1 at second-placed Sheffield United, he insisted: "The conclusions can only be drawn at the end of the season."

But if he looked at the tables, even he might find reason to relax just a little.

Mathematically, Reading still need another seven wins from their remaining 12 games to guarantee a top-two finish.

But realistically, they are going to need far fewer....


Final tally = 83 points

The idea that Reading will not pick up another point this season is pretty fanciful.

They have picked up an average of 2.44 points per game this season - a figure bettered only by runaway Premiership leaders Chelsea.

Nonetheless, if they do perform what would be one of the biggest sporting chokes of all time, they may yet have already done enough.

Their current tally of 83 points would have been enough to guarantee finishing above the third-placed team in the second tier of English football in 17 of the 24 seasons since three points for a win was introduced.


Final tally = 92 points

Three wins from Reading's last 12 games - taking the points tally to 92 - is almost certainly going to take them up.

Since the introduction of three points for a win in 1981-82, no team has ever finished outside the top two with such a total.

Sunderland have the unwanted label of the unluckiest team from their 1997-98 campaign.

Then, their tally of 90 points was only good enough for third place - the highest amount ever achieved by a team which missed out on automatic promotion from English football's second tier.


Final tally = 106 points+

Given the Royals' brilliant form since their opening-day loss to Plymouth, Sunderland's all-time points record of 105 from the 1998-99 season has to be a realistic goal.

Just 23 more points - eight wins, seven wins and two draws or six wins and five draws - from the remaining 12 games will take them to 106.

That would be the highest ever achieved by a professional club in all four divisions - and a fitting end to a brilliant season.

Sheff Utd 1-1 Reading
14 Feb 06 |  Championship
Royals ascent
15 Feb 06 |  Reading


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