“NOTHING is decided until the daffodils and the tulips come up ...”
This sounds like the sort of sage meteorological advice that the late ‘The Oracle of Thirsk’ – revered former amateur weatherman Bill Foggitt – was once famous for.
But the above comment does not regard the elements at all. More a wise recent footballing observation from one manager who knows in former Hull City boss Steve Bruce, promoted four times to the Premier League, no less.
Long enough in the tooth to know that positive autumn and winter sequences can count for nothing if spring falls flat, Bruce has been the last person to get carried away by his Aston Villa side’s feats so for this term – hence his statement at the start of this article.
In many respects, the season starts now for any aspiring clubs.
Let’s face it, January was a pretty non-descript time for most of Yorkshire’s teams - Rotherham United being the one honourable exception.
February has not been a great deal better, although the winter wonderment continued for the merry Millers and it was not half bad for Huddersfield Town either, among others.
But the start of March and the run home is where it is all at. And hope should still be plentiful.
The prospects of Huddersfield ensuring that at least one Yorkshire side will be flying the Premier League remain fair-to-middlin’ – with cherished back-to-back victories over Bournemouth and West Brom having repaired the damage of a worrying winter hibernation.
But the next month-and-a-half or so, when Town will be hosting Swansea, Crystal Palace and Watford and visiting Brighton and Newcastle United will effectively define their season.
The start of March and the run home is where it is all at. And hope should still be plentiful.
Thankfully, they remain in a relatively good place, thanks to their togetherness, spirit, resolve and sense of innate confident in each other’s ability. Few survival rivals will be as tight as Town.
Expect the Championship’s capacity to captivate and surprise to also come to the fore in the coming weeks, at least based on recent history.
The demise of sixth-placed Bristol City, who have won just once in their past 10 outings and are joint-bottom of the Championship 10-match form guide – has certainly been startling and will have been observed and noted from afar in the Broad Acres.
The rocky Robins have been tasked this week to rediscover their mojo by head coach Lee Johnson, with their form providing a window of opportunity to the likes of Sheffield United, Middlesbrough and Leeds United ahead of the season’s business end when strange things can, and do, happen.
At the bottom, there is also potential intrigue too. Just four points split five clubs from third-from-bottom Birmingham upwards, including Hull City and Barnsley. After pretty torrid winters, that should be embraced by the Yorkshire duo.
They are looking upwards towards reeling in others as opposed to viewing a gap which is in danger of cutting themselves adrift.
In League One, it may have been a write-off so far in 2018 for Bradford City, but the fact that they remain just three points out of the play-offs positions with a game in hand on sixth-placed Plymouth should not be overlooked.
Eight matches without a league win they may be, but a run of four home matches in their next six should provide succour. There is time to turn things around. Fear not.
March. When it really starts.