Dickov’s top-10 target

Date published: 17 February 2012

ANYTHING less than a rise of six places in the npower League One table between now and the end of the campaign won't be enough to satisfy Athletic manager Paul Dickov.

A top-10 finish has been targeted by the Scot for his second term in charge.

With 19 games left and a number in hand over their rivals — starting with high-flying MK Dons tomorrow — such a feat is within the squad's power.

"The least I want is a top 10 finish and and we are capable of achieving it," said Dickov, who takes his men to stadium:mk having won, drawn and lost against the Dons so far in his managerial career.

"Yes, we have games in hand and yes, you have to win them. But a lot of teams are in a similar situation to us, with a lot of games arriving in a short space of time."

The boost of three points gained against Walsall in a 2-1 win in midweek could resonate positively over the coming games, Dickov feels.

He said: "We want to build some momentum. Whereas confidence was at a low and people were wondering where the next three points were coming from, we got the win and we really need to kick on now.

"We have done a lot of talking over the time we were off, with feedback from staff and players.

"But we finished each week by saying that talk is cheap. There has to be a determination to go out and perform."

Athletic are in 16th place, but could move up a couple of positions by bringing back a win from their Buckinghamshire trip against a side currently struggling to pick up points with any regularity.

Athletic are again without Dean Furman. Chris Taylor is likely to fill in again in central midfield as the saga of the captain's knee problem continues.

"Dean is my leader on and off pitch," Dickov said. "We sent him to have an injection on Wednesday because he came a long way in a short space of time.

"Now he has to get over the final hurdle. He won't be available for tomorrow but we are very confident he will be back in training next week."