Birmingham City's Craig Gardner is desperate to reach double figures for goals this season.
And he admits that his shoot-on-sight policy makes him believe he is going to burst the net every time he lets fly.
Gardner has nine goals to his name, making him Blues' leading goalscorer. And his trademark efforts from around the edge of the penalty area – with both feet – have been hugely significant.
Take, for example, the strike that sent Blues into the Carling Cup Final.
He peppered West Ham United’s goal, hitting the post in stoppage-time, before driving in the decider in the semi-final second leg.
“I just think to myself now that every time I get a sight of the goal I’m going to let rip because they have been flying in lately,” he said.
“Hopefully they will continue to go in because there’s no better feeling than scoring and, of course, when they are quality goals too it’s great.
“It’s nice when I look back at them and watch them fly in the net.
“It’s even better to see how far away the goalkeepers are – I’m not going to lie, it’s a great buzz.
“But scoring a goal from two yards also gives you a big buzz. Goals are important in general.”
When plying his trade for bitter rivals Aston Villa, Gardner began to carve out a reputation for his shooting.
It was one facet of his game that alerted Alex McLeish, who has praised the combative midfielder for the role he has played this season.
McLeish reckons that Gardner is a Frank Lampard in the making, and is improving all-round as a footballer.
Gardner insists he has scored goals ever since he was a boy and that his younger brother Gary, still at Villa, is following in his footsteps.
However, it’s not been without hard work and hours of dedication to improving his shooting skills.
“Some days after training I stay behind and work on my shooting – it’s something I’ve done a lot,” he said. “Some of the other lads join in too. It can only be good for your game. It helps your confidence because if you are banging them in in training it allows you to give it a go during a match.
“I’ve always had that feeling in my mind that I want to score goals so whenever I get the opportunity now I just pull the trigger.
“I’ve scored goals like that all my life. It must be in the blood because my brother smashes them in like that as well.
“It’s not all about the goals though, it is about getting three points. Obviously it’s fantastic if we’re winning and I’m scoring but if I score and we lose there’s no point.”
Gardner has scored more goals this season than any other so far in his career but is refusing to rest on his laurels.
Just one more will see him into double figures with Newcastle United’s Kevin Nolan the only English midfielder in the Premier League with more, although Nolan’s role is not as a traditional central midfielder, like Gardner’s.
Gardner, though, seems no closer to a full England call-up.
The under-21 cap seems unfazed about his lack of international recognition and is instead focusing on his domestic form.
He knows if Blues gain one more win they are all but guaranteed to escape Premier League relegation and they can finally celebrate what will have been their most memorable season.
“Hopefully one more win should be enough for us to be safe, but we’re not looking at that,” he added.
“We want to finish as high as we can. There are a lot of teams down there and there are still points to play for so we want to finish with as many as possible. We got seven points out of three vital six-pointers before Chelsea, which were important.
“But we can’t stop there, we’ve got to continue to sweat blood and tears.
“Hopefully I can continue to score goals, but I don’t mind who gets the goals as long as we win. It’s a team effort at the end of the day so as long as someone is scoring I’m not bothered.”
Blues entertain Wolves on Sunday at St Andrew’s (noon) stung by defeats at Chelsea and the 5-0 mauling at Liverpool.
McLeish says the mistakes made in both matches were uncharacteristic of his team, and Gardner’s shooting was awry at Anfield too. It was that sort of horrible afternoon.
But Gardner’s worth to Blues is appreciated by McLeish. The last Blues central midfielder to hit double figures for goals was Peter Shearer, with 11, for Barry Fry’s 1994-95 outfit.
“Craig’s nine goals for us have been priceless, it’s a fantastic return,” said the manager. “He is ahead of the strikers, which tells you how strong he can be from the midfield area.
‘Yes, he’s probably the closest thing to Frank Lampard. He has similar shooting strength to Frank and accuracy as well because he has been doing that since pre-season training.
“When he gets a glimpse of goal, even in training, Ben Foster, Colin Doyle and Maik Taylor think ‘here it comes’ and it is with either foot.
“He has exceeded expectations, certainly with the goal return. I do think there is more to come from him in terms of quality.
“I see an improvement in his game from the start of this season right to this moment and there are still technical things we are working on with him. Touch, passing, taking care of the ball, understanding – but we try and improve every player in that aspect.”
As for his England claims, former Scotland supremo McLeish won’t build Gardner up for the sake of it.
“I don’t like to pick people for teams,” he declared. ‘‘We just want Craig to keep improving and if he does keep improving then he is going to catch someone’s attention.”
Although Gardner can learn from the likes of Lampard and Lee Bowyer, such midfield goalscorers are blessed, said McLeish
“It’s a knack that you can’t really teach; just hone the skills and timing.
“To teach people how to make midfield runs is not easy. It is a case of studying and looking at players.
“Lee Bowyer is one of the best at it in the game and how did he score so many goals over the years? How did people not prevent it happening?
“Despite all the homework you can do, these guys have still got a knack of scoring goals because they are ghosting into the box, like Martin Peters in 1966. These fellows are only following in traditions.”