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How many points do Rotherham need to secure survival?

It may only be January and the Sky Bet Championship may only be 59 per cent of the way through, but one thing is for sure, Rotherham are embroiled in a battle to avoid relegation.

And therefore, while it might be a tad early to start working out all of the permutations and predicting every result and those of all of their relegation rivals, it’s certainly not too early to work out how many points the Millers might need to achieve survival.

Ronnie Moore was always clear in what his Rotherham side’s points target was in the four years they were in the second-tier in the early part of the century – 50 guaranteed safety, he said.

That was a pretty good ball-park figure to work to and the two times they broke the 50-point barrier they finished in lower mid-table.

But what is the magic number Rotherham might need to book a third season in the Championship? How many points do the Millers need to succeed?

Well, it seems that Ronnie over-egged it ever so slightly by targeting 50 as over the last 20 years in the Championship, and its previous life as Division One, the average points total of the side finishing in the final relegation spot is 46.7.

So, rounding that up to 47, statistically – based on a mean average of 20 years’ worth of data going back to 1995-96 – 48 points should be enough to keep Rotherham in the Championship this season.

Of course, it’s not as simple as that. Just ask Peterborough fans. Posh went down in 2012-13 amassing a healthy 54 points from their 46 games, only to be relegated on goal difference.

Leicester (52 points in 2007-08), Walsall (51 points in 2003-04) and Millwall (52 points in 1995-96) are the other teams to be relegated with more than 50 points.

So, Rotherham could very well end up needing more than 48 points to stay up.

But it’s more likely they will need less. Portsmouth occupied the final relegation spot in 2011-12 with just 40 points while Millwall went down last season with 41.

If 48 is the points figure to work towards, it means Neil Redfearn’s men will need to double their existing tally of 24 from their remaining 19 games.

Twenty-four points. Six wins and six draws. Or given their inability to draw, eight wins. Let's settle on seven wins and three draws!

However, if the first 27 games of the campaign are anything to go by, ending the season on 48 points could see them finish as high as 18th or 19th.

Bristol City currently occupy the final relegation spot as they have an inferior goal difference to the Millers, with both teams on 24 points.

That equates to a points per game ratio of 0.89, which if applied for the rest of the season will see both finish on 41 points.

Of course, it’s sensible to expect both teams, who will strengthen this month, to improve over the second half of the season, particularly as they face clutch games at the business end.

The Millers, when threatened by relegation last season, took nine points from their final six games at PPG ratio of 1.5, which was up from 1.07 over the course of the whole campaign.

This end-of-season form could prove pivotal to the race against the drop as the Millers come up against five of the current bottom nine in their final eight games.

So, while 48 is the statistically magic number, we are going out on a limb and are predicting that 46 points will be enough to keep Rotherham in the division. 

Coincidentally, that's the same tally they finished on last year.

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