Sheffield Wednesday will need at least another four wins to ensure Championship football at Hillsborough next season.
This is the view of the Owls’ top scorer Michail Antonio, who netted his ninth goal of the season in the 2-1 midweek defeat at Watford.
Barnsley would have been relegated on 48 points last season, but for Portsmouth’s 10-point penalty, yet former Reading winger Antonio believes Wednesday will need in excess of 52 points to avoid demotion.
The Owls are on 40 points, two points off the bottom three, but with those trio of clubs, Bristol City, Peterborough and Barnsley, picking up wins on a regular basis recently, it seems inevitable 48 points will not suffice this season.
“Most seasons, 50-52 points does cement your place and you are safe, but I don’t think it will be enough this season, it’s just that tight,” said Antonio.
“Everyone is so close. I don’t think 52 will be enough unless one or two teams fall away, but I don’t see that.”
Despite Wednesday suffering back-to-back defeats against Nottingham Forest and Watford, Antonio insists they did enough in both games to have come away with positive results.
“In the first half, we were all over Watford, they couldn’t handle the change of formation as we went 4-3-3,” said the 22-year-old. “In the second half, they came out and showed why they are second in the league and pushing for promotion.
“There were a lot of positives to take and build on.”
On a personal note, Antonio is settled in Sheffield, having bought a house in the city and being a regular for Dave Jones’s side.
“Nine goals and nine assists in my first season in the Championship I can say has been an okay season for me. I want to reach double figures,” said Antonio, who only started playing football when he was 12, and in non-league before Reading signed him as a raw 18-year-old.
“Every time I get on the ball I see the fans stand up and roar. I just play my game and, hopefully, I do achieve something – get a goal or make one. I like it that the fans believe in me.
“This is home for me. At Reading, I was there for five years but I was out on loan for five years. There was only one season where I stayed and managed four appearances, the rest were off the bench.
“Now I am here, have bought my house, and am playing games. That’s all I ever wanted.”