“It’s Not The Despair, Laura…”

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…I can take the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand.”

It took us some time to pluck up the courage, but we’ve just taken a look at the League One table for the first time since late last week. And it makes for grim reading. The 1-0 defeat at Shrewsbury Town this weekend is almost catastrophic. Almost. We’re trailing the teams keeping their head above water by four points, and they’ve got games in hand. Survival? It’s looking painfully ominous for Boro’ right now.

And it is the hope that gets to you. We’d all probably claim that games against Port Vale and Shrewsbury Town are pretty winnable for us, but that’s not how things have panned out. Was it the MK Dons implosion that we’ll look back on and say “that was the killer”? Or is the nature of a football season too complex to define by one result, one moment or one something else? No doubt we could all pick something different.

The best bookmakers will now have us down as runaway favourites to fall down into the division below. Our run-in includes Sheffield United and Brentford away and our form is off the boil. You can see why we’re the leading candidates for the drop. And yet there is a lingering sense of hope – if not necessarily shared by everyone. While there are points to be won and gaps that can be closed, it’s not quite the end of days.

If ever there was a must-win game, however, Colchester United is it. More on that later in the week…

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