Talking Football - Countdown is on with plenty still to play for

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The final countdown has already started.

So many clubs still have plenty to play for over the next month – or a little longer in the Barclays Premier League and play-offs.

Across this county, it seems likely that the fate of our senior sides should be settled before the last day of the current campaign.

For the second successive year Northampton Town will probably come close to losing Football League status but stay up.

Survival off the pitch remains the big issue at Kettering Town, of course.

Despite caretaker-manager Ashley Westwood insisting that he believes in miracles, in reality it appears the great escape won’t happen for the Poppies who face dropping down from the Blue Square Bet Premier.

There will be no concerns over promotion or relegation at Corby Town who should be content with mid-table comfort in the Conference North.

The bottom of the ChromaSport United Counties League’s Premier Division sees Thrapston Town, Irchester United and Desborough United battling it out for safety.

From a professional point of view, 12 seasons covering the ups and downs of Rushden & Diamonds certainly provided a few experiences.

Indeed it was only four out of five years back in non-League football when they had nothing to worry about in terms of the final position.

From a personal perspective, though, I’m only really interested now in what goes on towards the top of the npower Championship.

It’s getting to the stage of the season where supporters are becoming familiar with the fixtures of their closest rivals for the run-in.

You can make predictions but the only guarantee is that there will be twists and turns in every division.

Last night I was among 5,000 West Ham United fans who invaded Peterborough United’s London Road ground – making up nearly half of the capacity crowd – for the game in hand on Southampton and Reading.

However the focus is on ‘Showdown Saturday’ at Upton Park.

In another campaign to ensure the Royals’ visit is a sell-out, the Hammers’ official website has been highlighting this message: ‘Don’t miss the game that could decide who goes up to the Premier League.’

Although it’s clearly correct to say ‘the countdown to promotion is on’, there is still the Easter programme plus four more matches until the end of next month.

This is going to be an exciting time!