With the FA Cup and Carling Cup all but distant memories for this year the boss has urged his players to focus on the UEFA Cup in more than one sense. Speaking candidly about the run-in he said:
"Our season is very much alive and kicking. In the Uefa Cup, the expectation is that we will be in the last 16 after the game on Thursday. We know we would play the winners of AZ Alkmaar and Fenerbahce, which is finely balanced at 3-3, probably slightly favouring the Dutch, who are at home. We know that every round after this one, assuming we can get through tomorrow, will become more and more difficult.
Because we have managed, even with the injury situation, to stay in touch with the top six or seven, we still have to be very strong in our beliefs that we can automatically qualify for a Uefa spot this year if that is what is needed. You have got to have targets in life; you have got to have goals, and our goal is very much to run all the way through to the final of the Uefa Cup and to finish in a position in the Premiership that would guarantee us European football next year.'
Given our successful surge to seventh last season it's certainly feasible to expect at least the same for the rest of this year. With Duff, Emre and the Zog all expected to come back it's a hope that we might be able to put the run together in the UEFA Cup that the Smogs did last year. Hopefully we can avoid a 4-0 nailing in the final though!