There's an almighty scramble going on at the bottom of the Premier League, with five clubs battling desperately for the right to escape from the most predictable, uncompetitive and boring division in the world. But only three lucky teams can make it to the promised land of the Championship, where pipedreams can actually come true! Or vaguely interesting stuff occasionally happens at least! Which of the indistinguishable quintet of Queens Park Rovers, Blackburn Wanderers, Wolverhampton Athletic, Bolton Rangers and Wigan Wanderers, ground down by the crushing tedium of it all, will get the chance to reassert their identity next season, rediscover ambition, play a bit of carefree football perhaps, and generally have some fun? Some big games between these hopefuls this weekend may make the picture clearer.
Wolves look well prepared to realise their dream, with Roger Johnson having done all he can to help the cause by making what manager Terry Connor euphemistically referred to as "a mistake on Sunday night". That boo-boo caused the club's captain and defensive lynchpin to be literally unfit for purpose on Monday morning, when he may or may not have turned up for training with a carry-out bag in each hand and a head on. Despite this, the refreshed travesty will be in the squad for the crucial clash with Blackburn, which surely can't be good news. And is great news! "The situation with Roger is the sort of thing I've not had to deal with before but I thought I dealt with it adequately enough," yawned Connor today, displaying the sort of that'll-do spirit sure to point Wolves in the wrong, but oh so right, direction.
Blackburn meanwhile are doing their utmost to realise their Championship dream by trying to add Bolo Zenden to their team. The former Dutch international has been sitting in the house faffing around with a new baby since leaving Sunderland last summer, but is a bit bored with it now and fancies popping out for a kickabout. "If we can get him in that will be great," chirped Steve Kean today, having worked out that an injection of Zenden's glacial pace should increase the likelihood of pleasant afternoons out in Bristol, Peterborough and Watford next season tenfold.
Bolton host QPR, with the home side grateful for the return of talismanic striker Kevin Davies, whose record of three goals this season is almost perfectly unhelpful. Bolton could really do with a clean sheet up front and 0 points, because opponents QPR are already as good as down. Just look at the state of that run-in! And the manager! So well done to them. The only danger is that new signings Djinkin' Djibril Cisse and Streetfightin' Samba Diakite, returning from suspension, might do something good in the 27 minutes they feature before being sent off.
The last big showdown at the bottom was supposed to be Norwich versus Wigan, but the hosts haven't read the script written by the fixture computer at the start of the season. Great news for Wigan, then, who accidentally won at Bolton recently and really need a bad result to reverse this worrying trend. Happily, the recent international fixtures have knackered most of Roberto Martinez's squad. "We get hurt more than others because we have a large amount of players who need to get on a plane for nine hours to represent their countries in a friendly," the Wigan boss boasted. Wolves, Blackburn, Bolton and QPR are expected to lodge formal complaints with Fifa, in protest at this clear favouritism. It promises to be an exciting weekend, and the Fiver wishes everyone involved the very worst of luck.