Alan Curbishley has reiterated there is plenty to play for in the final matches of the season in order to secure his pre-season goal of "a bit more than being mid-table".
As he prepared for the trip to Bolton Wanderers, he said: "We've got five more games to see if we can push higher up the league and we'll see where we go from there." With three of those fixtures coming at the Boleyn Ground as well the chance to make it four wins from four against Manchester United - there is every prospect of pushing up a place or two at least.
The manager said: "With what we did pre-season and the way it was looking in the summer I was looking for a bit more than mid-table. I did say I'd like to have a solid season and produce some football and it would give us a bit of a foundation for next year. That's what I was basically after - and to be on the back pages for the right reasons instead of the reasons we were on them last year.
"I am honest enough to say that the last couple of weeks we haven't done well enough. You can't hide from that. Whatever the problems we have had we should be doing better. We have got a strong enough squad that should have coped with the last few weeks and we haven't got the results and it is a results business." The manager admitted to frustration at selection problems but equally spoke of his satisfaction at the efforts put in by his men.
"I also find it very gratifying what they have done," he said. "I have gone on record all season saying the players have done fantastically well to cope with all the problems we have had. You know the squad is stronger because of it and perhaps we are all going to be stronger because of it. It is a little bit frustrating for everybody. The fans can be looking at the team, the back of the programme, and realise that it could be a little bit different. But that's how it has been.
"We have knuckled down all season and managed to produce the results to get us where we are. This has been a disappointment these last three or four weeks but, as the sun comes out and we are entering into our final straight, we need to pick up ... we desperately need to end on a high. We have got three home games after the weekend out of the four and if we can finish off strongly it can give us a big boost going into the pre-season."