IAN Holloway has told his players to forget the play-off race – and focus solely on finishing as high in the table as they can.
The boss says he is more concerned with catching Birmingham and West Ham than worry about what’s going on behind them in the Championship.
“I am not looking downwards at all, I am looking up. There is no point looking behind you in a race. If you do that you will trip up,” Holloway said.
“It is a different scenario now. We have to stay ahead of people this time rather than sneak in on the penultimate game, like last time.
“So I am looking at trying to catch Birmingham – three points above us – and maybe West Ham if we can do it. We can’t catch the top two, so well done to them.
“The maximum we can get is 79 points. The top two clubs already have 82. But let’s try and get 79 and, if we can do that, we will be nine points better than the 70 we managed two years ago. But we are a long way from doing that, we are a long way from even getting in the play-offs. I don’t even want my lads talking about them.
“We have Nottingham Forest, Leeds, Burnley and Millwall to go, and every one of them will be a tough game where we’ll need to be at our absolute best to get anything.”
Holloway is in good spirits heading into tomorrow’s game at Nottingham Forest. Pool are playing well, and are four points above seventh-placed Brighton, with four games to go.
“We have turned a corner. We are looking brave and fearless, like we were last time we went up,” he added.
But the boss also talked at length in his weekly press conference about the importance of staying focused.
Although it might be a different sport, he wants his players to copy golf champ Bubba Watson.
“What is vital is that we don’t think about the outcome, we have to go through the process of the game. The last three games we’ve done that brilliantly”, Holloway explained.
“I watched the Masters last week, and what I noticed was how important every single shot was.
“If you are looking where that ball has gone before you’ve actually played the shot, it isn’t going to go where you want it to.
“So you have to play the shot, then look afterwards. We have to play the game, then look where we are.
“We know what we want, we know how hard it is going to be, but we have to be brave enough to shoot, head, clear off the line, take that shot. I trust my players implicitly to do that.
“But it is no good talking about it, we have to go out there and do it.
“But let’s enjoy the challenge, be excited about it, embrace it. I’m loving it, and my players are too.”