TAUNTON Town boss Rob Dray estimates that 75 to 80 points will be required to secure a Premier South play-off place this season.

With the Peacocks currently on 47 points, that means Dray is setting his side the target of picking up another 30 (roughly) from their remaining 17 league games.

Ten wins from 17 games (other points combinations are available) does not look like asking the impossible but, then again, there are plenty of banana skins ahead in what is an unpredictable and sometimes downright weird division.

Poole Town snuck into the play-offs with 70 points last season, but Dray does not think that total would be enough this time around - demonstrating just how many teams are jostling for the top five places.

Truro City and Chesham United lead the way, with Tiverton Town and Swindon Supermarine chasing.

Then we have Taunton in fifth (47 points from 25 games), Hayes & Yeading United (46 from 27), Poole Town (43 from 23) and Salisbury (43 from 24).

Given how tightly bunched up those teams are, the Peacocks’ next three fixtures look pretty crucial.

This Saturday’s visit to Supermarine is followed by a Tuesday night match at Merthyr Town (“always a difficult place to go”), and then a fixture which always seems to produce drama - Taunton v Salisbury - on February 15.

With trips to Hayes & Yeading and Truro City also on the horizon, it’s far from an easy run-in for the Peacocks, so a play-off spot is not at all guaranteed.

Their poor form between Boxing Day and January 11 (three defeats in four league games) means there is less room for error than there might otherwise have been.

A similar level of performance to last Saturday’s win over Harrow Borough (“we were far away from our best,” Dray admitted) is also unlikely to be good enough against Supermarine and Salisbury.

We’ve seen before that this Taunton squad steps it up when the pressure is on, and they’re a team that hates to lose.

With scoring supremo Andrew Neal’s return date as yet uncertain, that ability to grind out results will be tested once again.