It's getting to that stage of the season.

Stevenage manager Steve Evans calls it squeaky bum time, fans of all clubs suddenly take an interest in the final fixtures of their rivals and everyone starts to predict how the campaign will finish.

Usually a supercomputer is rolled out for this task and I always have two questions when it comes to so-called supercomputers.

One, why is it when you wander down to PC World and ask for one, they look at you like you're an idiot? This may or may not have happened...

But two, why do you need one in the first place? I mean, could I do it for example?

In a past life, many moons ago, I actually did maths and statistics at university. The fact I am now a journalist and deal in words should lead you to the absolutely correct summation of how that went.

But surely all a supercomputer does is look at probability?

And while their mathematical models may be superior and based in logic and fact, I feel confident I can have a punt and get close so I've had a go.

I'm using simple averages as the basis of my predictions, throwing in form and some recent seasons as well.

It may not be anywhere near but I'm fairly confident it won't be too wide of the mark, and it could spell happiness for Stevenage.

Past results and seasons

If you look at the last 12 years, then the lowest ranked team to get into the play-offs has accrued anywhere between 66 and 81 points, working out at an average of 72.58 or 1.58 points per game.

The last four seasons have been some of the highest though so taking just them, you get an average of 76.25 or 1.66 ppg.

Stevenage are currently averaging 1.71ppg for the season as a whole.

Form plays it's part

You can't just look at the average for the season though. You may have won 10 straight at the beginning of the year but been without a win in the last 10.

Therefore I've thrown in two form guides as part of the calculation - how many points they have picked up in the last six games and how many over the last 10.

Throw it all together

This gave me three ppg totals from which I could calculate a points total, should they be spread across the 46 matches in total.

Throw those three points totals together and take one last average and that is the figure that I then used to produce a final figure.


Right, before you all start, I know. Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of probability theory could probably pick 100 holes in all of this.

And no, who a team has left to play does not factor either.

However, the purpose is to give a rough guide of where the dice will fall, a general figure to show how near or far a team is away from any specific objective.

It'll change as we get closer to the end but not significantly. I may produce another one around Easter if it has changed by a lot.

For me though, it focuses the attention, lets me understand what is required for Stevenage and I can judge my analysis and questions off that.

Anyway, shall we?

Neil Metcalfe's probably wonderfully inaccurate final table prediction

1.Portsmouth 99
2.Barnsley 90
3.Derby County 86
4.Bolton Wanderers 86
5.Peterborough United 83
6.Stevenage 77
7.Blackpool 72
8.Lincoln City 71
9.Leyton Orient 70
10.Oxford United 68
11.Bristol Rovers 65
12.Northampton Town 61
13.Wigan Athletic 57
14.Reading 54
15.Wycombe Wanderers 53
16.Charlton Athletic 52
17.Exeter City 52
18.Burton Albion 51
19.Shrewsbury Town 47
20.Cambridge United 46
21.Cheltenham Town 46
22.Fleetwood Town 41
23.Port Vale 38
24.Carlisle United 28

NB: Table 'correct' as at Thursday, March 7

What does it mean for Stevenage?

By my reckoning, to get in the play-offs you will probably need around 76 or 77 points, although the final league table suggests 73 will be sufficient.

Take the largest of those figures, 77. That is only another 17 points needed from 11 fixtures.

Or to boil it down to its barest bones, five wins and two draws. It's not much at all is it?

Steve Evans admitted on Thursday that there would be plenty more twists and turns. "We will win games in the run-in, we will lose games in the run-in," is how he put it.

But it's close and that all starts on Saturday against Fleetwood Town.

Check out Comet Sport then for report, reaction and live blog.