Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Mick McCarthy has set his side the task of achieving a total of at least 92 points this season in their quest for automatic promotion to the Barclays Premier League – and readily concedes it will not be plain-sailing.
His Championship table-topping side currently sit pretty with 61 points in the bag at the turn of the year but the manager knows points were dropped over Christmas with his side facing tough tests at home to Sheffield United and away at Blackpool – games they drew but should have won.
The Yorkshireman said: “The target I always believe you need to reach is 92 points. If you get two points a game all the way through the season and don’t go up, you’ll be very unfortunate.
“But there’s a few of us in advance of that, and there are teams such as Cardiff, Sheffield United and Burnley battering away, so it’s a tough old league – as the game against Blackpool proved.
“I can’t guarantee a higher total of points will get you up – will the second half of the season be the same as the first half? I don’t know – all we can do is make sure we get our tally of points.”
McCarthy is delighted with his young guns so far and knows Wolves are now the team everybody else in the league wants to try and shoot down – something managerless Blackpool tried as they battled back to a 2-2 draw.
He said: “Of course we would have taken our lead at this stage and we know we can’t win every game. It’s not going to happen.
“It is not just us – Reading were held to a draw on Sunday after a last-minute equaliser and Birmingham were held and I think Cardiff and Sheffield United are going to be pushing their claims.
Wolves now face a break from the Championship to face their league rivals and near neighbours Birmignham City in the FA Cup third round at St Andrew’s.
Wolves midfielder Dave Edwards is a doubt, however, after hurting his hamstring and limping from the field at Bloomfield Road.
n?Sheffield United have confirmed they have transfer listed goalkeeper Paddy Kenny.
The Republic of Ireland international’s future had been the subject of widespread speculation in recent weeks after he was left out of the games against Wolves and Charlton Athletic for disciplinary reasons.
Blades boss Kevin Blackwell confirmed Kenny had reported late for training and that the club would listen to offers for the 30-year-old.
n?MK Dons manager Roberto Di Matteo has signed a contract extension to keep him at the club until June 2011.
Di Matteo has made an outstanding start to his managerial career, guiding the newly-promoted Dons to second place in League One. Assistant manager Eddie Newton and fitness coach Ade Mafe have also agreed two-year extensions to their contracts.