Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert today declared that any of the bottom eight teams in the Premier League can consider themselves in the battle to beat the drop.
Villa boosted their survival hopes with a 2-1 win over Reading which helped them move out of the bottom three while Wigan slipped to 18th.
The Latics, who were in FA Cup action last weekend, have a game in hand and should they win that there will only be six points between Fulham in 10th place and the final relegation spot.
“I have looked at everybody’s fixtures and there’s so many hard games coming up, including the ones we’ve got ourselves.
"But we have put ourselves in a position where we’re in a fight with seven or eight other teams.
“If you look up to 12th or 13th place, there’s not much in it and there’s still nine games to go. There’s still big games to come. I think there will be a lot of tooing and froing throughout the coming games.
“We’ve pulled a lot of teams back into it and we’re playing well at the minute, so I’m extremely happy with that.
“This was a massive game. It was a big pressure game, everybody knew that. The players don’t look like a team that’s lacking in confidence, that’s for sure. QPR will be the same kind of build up.
“I said a few weeks ago we’d got 12 cup finals and now it’s nine. That’s the way to view it and we will certainly go into the next game with a lot of confidence.
“I’ve never really panicked; I’ve tried to keep focussed on what we can achieve rather than all the negatives all the time, so I’ve got nothing but praise for the team.”
Christian Benteke took his tally of goals to 16 in all competitions with the opener against Reading.
And Lambert admitted it would be a tremendous achievement for the Belgium striker to reach the 20-goal mark in his debut season in English football.
Lambert added: “If he gets 20, then he’s doing something good for us. He’s getting the service there and the big guy, over the whole course of the season, has been excellent.
“For 22 years of age, and if you look at the age of the team, it bodes well for the future, it really does.”