Automatic promotion still possible

Last updated : 07 January 2009 By Dave Moore
John Sheridan believes that Athletic are still capable of achieving an automatic promotion spot. At the mid point of the season his fifth-placed team have taken 41 points from 23 games and Nottingham Forest finished runners-up last season with a total of 82 points. The 1-1 draw at Huddersfield Town extended their recent run to nine games undefeated.

Sheridan said, "If we were to get the same points tally in the next half, I think we will be pushing for automatic promotion and definitely be in the play-offs. I am pleased with where we are at the moment, though I am always striving to improve. The down side has not been winning games we have been expected to win which would have put us in an even better position. It was important to get off to a good start which we didn't do in my first two seasons as manager. That was something I stressed to the players. Our early-season form was excellent and we found ourselves at the top of the league."

"We have proved we are as good as any team in this division. We have performed well in the big games and none of the teams at the top have looked better than us. It is all about consistency, something which I have been drumming on about since day one at the club. We have some players here who are very good on their day, but then they switch off - which is why you see me moaning and groaning. They sometimes lack belief in themselves which they shouldn't as I have the belief to put them in the team in the first place. They must perform week-in, week-out if they are to become better players, just as I am always looking to improve as a manager."

"There is interest in Lee Hughes and Chris Taylor and all sorts of rumours, but nobody has rung me, and I don't want them to. They have both done well and I don't want to lose any players, especially my better ones, who are important if we want to push on. When everybody is fit, I am more than happy with my squad which has been proven in the first half of the season."